UK International Students Share Concerns About Housing, Banking, and Labels
Date: April 9, 2023
At The PIE Live Europe event held last week, international students studying at UK universities spoke candidly about the challenges they face in obtaining housing, opening bank accounts, and dealing with labelling issues. Despite the difficulties they encounter, many students believe that their UK education will prepare them well for future employment opportunities.
During the student roundtable breakout session at the event, attendees discussed their experiences as international students in the UK. The conversation flowed organically as students and university representatives shared personal stories and learned from each other.
Blessing Okoroafor, a Coventry University graduate, shared how her UK education helped her with time management and prioritization, which will be useful skills in her future career. Despite the fact that her graduation occurred on the day of the round table, she felt it was important to attend and share her story.
Adityavarman Mehta, a doctoral researcher at the University of Leeds, discussed the difficulties he faced in finding accommodation due to the requirement for a guarantor or payment of 6-12 months’ rent in advance. He also noted the significant housing shortage in Leeds, which forced him to use the private rental market. Banking was also a major issue for many students, with wait times of over 10 weeks to set up an account and the requirement for a UK address delaying the process even further.
Sára Kozáková, a master’s student at Newcastle University, highlighted the labelling issue that she faced as a European student with pre-settled status, which categorized her as a “home student” for tuition fee purposes. She expressed feeling left out of conversations about international students due to the label, which took away her European identity and created confusion among institutions and students themselves.
Conclusion: While UK international students face several challenges in obtaining housing, banking, and dealing with labelling issues, many remain optimistic about the value of their UK education in preparing them for future employment. It is crucial for universities to address these life essentials and communicate transparently with prospective students about the issues they may encounter.
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CTA: Prospective international students should research the specific challenges they may face in obtaining housing and banking services in the UK and inquire about transparent communication from universities on these issues.