12 first term tips for international students

1: BE PAPER ORGANISED

Your lecturers will give you A4-sized lecture notes, and you should store these in ring-binder folders. It’s a good idea to write the dates and times on lecture notes, as this will help when organising them. Also, putting the notes in transparent A4 plastic sleeves protects them.

 

2: BE DIGITALLY ORGANISED

As your course develops, you will both receive and create many digital resources. For example, your lecturers will provide links to websites, and you will find many opportunities to take photos with your phone. You need to store all these resources by week and subject. Remember that you can annotate photos and that these digital resources are more durable than paper ones. A photograph of a paragraph from a book can be easily annotated.

 

3: FIND A LECTURE BUDDY

After each lecture has finished, it can be a good idea to compare your understanding with a friend, either an international student or a native English speaker. You need to be able to identify the main points and distinguish these from the supporting information. Remember, if English is not your first language, some of your study strategies will need to be different from native English speakers.

 

4: ARRIVE AT THE START OF LECTURES

Lecturers often introduce lectures with a summary of the lecture, as well as indicating some of the more important points. These introductions function as a map of the lecture and can be very helpful.

 

lecture theatre

 

5: BUY A HIKING RAINCOAT

It rains a lot in the UK. The best raincoats are the ones for hiking and trekking.

 

6: USE OBJECTIVES FOR MOTIVATION

It’s a good idea to create study objectives that link to your future career. Try to research what exam grades particular companies expect you to graduate with, or what grades are required for particular master’s courses.

 

7: MAKE A WEEKLY STUDY SCHEDULE

Good grades at University require personal organisation. You should create a study schedule to give you 4-5 hours study for each module over a 7-day week. A study routine like this is vital to success at University.

 

Get organised

 

8: SPEAK ENGLISH (EVEN WHEN IT’S DIFFICULT)

One great way to improve your English is to try to communicate in situations where you think your level is inadequate. For example, when participating in a university club or society, or in an academic seminar. This strategy will force you to improvise with the language you know, which is an effective way to improve your language ability.

 

9. WATCH LESS SOUTH KOREAN SOAP OPERAS

If you continue to watch the same TV shows you watched at home, then your English will improve much more slowly.

 

10. ASK QUESTIONS IN LECTURES AND SEMINARS

In western educational culture, it is expected for students to ask questions. If you don’t understand, ask for more explanation. You will receive more respect if you ask questions.

 

Ask Questions

 

11. DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE FOR FREE

British universities often provide free software. For example, Microsoft Office which includes Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Ask in the library for more information.

 

12. REGISTER WITH UNIVERSITY SUPPORT SERVICES

Most universities provide academic support classes and tutors for international students. You should register for support classes early on in your first term, and receive as much support as possible.

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