A comprehensive guide to navigating life in the UK as an newcomer

— Juliet Edjere

Studying abroad in the UK is an exciting venture, but it comes with its share of challenges and uncertainties. From the moment you land at the airport to settling into your new life as a student, here are some tips and insights to help you navigate your journey smoothly and make the most of your time in the UK.

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Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

Resourceful Tip: Explore Find School Here for information on school performances.

01. Smooth Travel Tips for International Students

When embarking on your journey to the UK, ensure a hassle-free travel experience with these tips:

  • Airport Assistance: Airport attendants are generally helpful. Connect to airport Wi-Fi for immediate connectivity.
  • Navigation: Know the city and postcode of your destination for easy Google Maps directions.
  • Cost Considerations: Due to recent challenges with Forex and global issues, book tickets in advance for better prices.
  • Smart Packing: Avoid overpacking, opt for sturdy, wheelable bags, especially if using public transport.

Pro Tip: Check alternative airports and use platforms like Skyscanner for competitive ticket prices.

02. Overcoming Accommodation Challenges

Navigating the UK accommodation scene can be challenging for newcomers. Here's how to tackle it:

  • Landlord Requirements: Be prepared for credit checks, references, and guarantors, which can be tricky for new arrivals.
  • Temporary Options: Consider Airbnb or hostels for temporary stays. Use padlocks for added privacy.
  • Local Connections: If possible, leverage connections in the UK for short-term stays or accommodation advice.

Insider Tip: Explore housing platforms like RightMove and Zoopla for a wide range of options.

03. Finding Guarantors and Community Support

For smoother transitions, seek guarantors and community support:

  • Online Platforms: Utilize services like Housinghand, Homeppl, and RentGuarantor to find guarantors.
  • Word of Mouth: Connect with fellow students through schools, religious institutions, and community gatherings.

Deals: Take advantage of the Maze deals page to find offers on guarantor services.

04. Essential Steps Upon Arrival

After arriving in the UK, ensure you complete these essential tasks:

  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): Obtain your BRP, essential for identification and various processes.
  • Student ID Card: Collect your student ID card for access to school benefits.
  • Bank Account: Open a bank account, especially in new-generation banks like Starling or Monzo.
  • National Insurance Number: Register for your National Insurance Number for employment and tax purposes.

Key Platform: The maze app can streamline your settlement process.

05. Financial Trust and Building a Strong Credit Score

Establishing good credit is crucial for various aspects of life in the UK. Earning financial trust and building a solid credit score:

  • Voter Registration: Register to vote to contribute to the community and improve your credit score.
  • Credit Reference Agencies: Sign up with agencies like Clearscore, Credit Karma, and Experian for credit monitoring.
  • Rent Tracking: Utilize apps like Credit Ladder to track your rent payments and boost your credit score.
  • Trust Establishment: Understand that relationships in the UK, including financial ones, are based on references.
  • Credit Score Building: Register to vote, get a small renewable SIM card, and use credit-checking banks like Halifax and Natwest.

Smart Move: How to build Credit as a Newcomer to the UK

Proactive Step: Use Credit Ladder to track rent payments and boost your credit.

06. Employment and Education Focus

Balancing work and studies requires strategic planning:

  • Academic Commitment: Prioritize studies to avoid issues with attendance and potential visa cancellations.
  • Networking: Leverage education to build a strong network through alumni and industry events.
  • Job Search: Explore platforms like Indeed Flex, LinkedIn, and Total Jobs for job opportunities.

Strategic Move: Attend employer events and engage with professional organizations in your industry.

07. Cultural Adaptation

Adapting to UK culture involves understanding its unique aspects:

  • Punctuality and Queuing: Embrace punctuality and the British love for orderly queues.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for unpredictable weather; BBC's weather app can be a valuable tool.
  • Loneliness Awareness: Acknowledge potential feelings of loneliness and seek community engagement.

Digital Savvy: Discover money-saving apps like Olio and Too Good To Go for food deals.

08. Making the Most of UK Holidays and Seasonal Work

Bank holidays and seasonal work opportunities can be financially rewarding. Bank holidays in the UK can be a great time to earn extra income:

  • Calendar Marking: Keep an eye on bank holiday work opportunities on platforms like Indeed and CV-Library.
  • Festive Season Earnings: Explore high-demand job options during the Christmas period for additional income.
  • Job Search Platforms: Use job search platforms like Indeed, CV-Library, Total Jobs, Reed, and Indeed Flex to find holiday shifts.
  • Seasonal Opportunities: Christmas presents numerous opportunities in industries like retail, care, and security.

Holiday Hustle: Consider part-time work with companies like Amazon and the Post Office during the festive season. Make the most of festive job opportunities and boost your income.

09. Diverse Job Opportunities in the UK

The UK offers a wide range of job opportunities in various sectors. For those planning to work in the UK, understanding the Skilled Worker Visa is crucial:

  • Healthcare and Education: Consider roles in healthcare or education, especially if you have qualifications.
  • Shortage Occupation List: Explore roles listed in the shortage occupation list for more job prospects.
  • Tech Industry: Tech roles are in high demand, with numerous opportunities for skilled workers.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Ensure your job meets the required salary threshold and falls within eligible occupations.
  • Certificate of Sponsorship: Secure a 'certificate of sponsorship' from your employer.

In-Depth Guide: Stay updated with the official Home Office Approved Sponsors List.

Tech-Savvy Choice: Check out the Tech Nation Report for insights into tech opportunities.

10. Visa Strategies and Long-Term Planning

Navigating the visa landscape and planning for the long term:

  • Visa Schemes: Explore various visa schemes such as Skilled Worker Visa, Health and Care Worker Visa, and Global Talent Visa.
  • Employer Sponsorship: Ensure your employer is on the approved list of sponsors for seamless visa processing.
  • Post-Study Opportunities: Leverage the post-study work visa to gain valuable industry experience in the UK.
  • Long-Term Goals: With a Skilled Worker Visa, you can eventually apply for indefinite leave to remain and even a British passport.

Informed Decision: Learn about visa options through Indefinite Leave to Remain: How to Settle Permanently in the UK.

11. Post Graduate Opportunities in the UK

If you're considering postgraduate options, keep these tips in mind:

  • Teacher Training: If you plan to become a teacher, look for programs that make it easier to obtain Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
  • Postgraduate Teacher Training: Consider specialized programs for subjects like Physics and Languages.
  • Gaining Experience: Use your post-study work visa in the UK to gain valuable international experience.

Education Path: Explore the UK government's guide to becoming a qualified teacher.

12. Looking Beyond the UK

Thinking about your future beyond the UK? Explore job opportunities in the UK and beyond. Here are some considerations:

  • International Job Hunt: Use LinkedIn to find roles in other countries and understand their visa procedures.
  • Understanding Visas: Familiarize yourself with different countries' work visa procedures, such as the EU Blue Card scheme and Digital Nomad visas.
  • Global Networking: Establish connections for potential career opportunities in other countries.
  • International Job Search: Utilize platforms like LinkedIn to search for job opportunities in other countries.

Strategic Move: Begin your global job search with Indeed, Cv-library, and Reed.

Global Outlook: Stay open to opportunities in various countries and industries.


Navigating life in the UK as an international student is both exciting and challenging. With the right information and proactive planning, you can make your stay in the UK a rewarding experience. From travel tips and accommodation strategies to building a strong credit score and exploring job opportunities, this comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge needed to thrive in a new country. Keep in mind that each student's journey is unique, so adapt these tips to your specific situation and goals.

Remember, Maze Services is here to provide personalized guidance and support for international students in the UK. Your success is our priority, and we're committed to helping you achieve your academic and career aspirations.

Now, as you embark on your adventure in the UK, stay curious, stay resilient, and embrace every opportunity that comes your way.

Note: The information provided in this blog post is up to date as of October 2023. For the most up-to-date and specific information, consider consulting official government websites and relevant authorities.

Maze provides an end-to-end platform that disrupts the traditional relocation model.

We connect people relocating with service providers, reduce cost and enable the personalization of customer journeys to the UK.

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