In case you have decided to head off to an English school in the UK, you have a lot of things to think about. In addition to making friends and accommodating to a different timetable, you also have to find ways to adjust to the British culture as well as deal with homesickness. However, you’ve already made your decision, and the best approach is to throw yourself into this experience with gusto. Following are some tips to help you prepare for this exciting chapter of your life.
1. Perfect your English as much as you can before you arrive
Unless you’re confident in your English language skills, you’re bound to feel isolated and rejected whenever you’re trying to settle down in the UK. Therefore, months before your departure, you should consider taking some lessons with a native English teacher. These lessons don’t just help you build your communication skills, but you also stand to gain a deeper understanding of the British slang and idioms, so you can converse more easily with your peers.
2. Read about the UK before you arrive
Besides honing your English skills, you also could benefit a lot from reading and understanding as much as possible about the British culture. Because you will know what to expect once you get there, the impact of the cultural shock is diminished. It wouldn’t hurt to study British etiquette a bit, so you’ll avoid committing blunders when interacting with your future colleagues. At the same time, learning a bit about the particularities of the British humour could prove very useful for making new friends.
3. Make a habit out of watching British television shows
What better way to pick up on the British manners, culture, customs and humour than watching shows and films produced and set in the UK? Watching British television shows regularly before you arrive helps you become more familiar with the programmes people appreciate in the UK; consequentially, you will start feeling more like a Brit yourself. Shows and films are also a good alternative way to pick up slang, idioms and other aspects of the informal spoken English.
4. Consider doing some sightseeing before the school season
If this is your first time visiting the UK, then you should consider arriving before the school year begins, for the purpose of sightseeing. Exploring the local tourist attractions has proven beneficial for overseas students coming from a very different time zone, as it minimises the feeling of being lost in an alien environment.
5. Try to talk to as many people as possible
Once you arrive at the new school and settle in, try to converse to as many teachers and colleagues as possible. Maintaining an open mind set and interacting with peers will enable you to make friends faster and hence, adjust easier to your new life in the UK. While it might be tempting to seek the companionship of the students from your own country, talking to people from varied backgrounds alleviates the feelings of isolation and homesickness.