Supporting our international community
Support for international students
Studying in the UK is a very rewarding experience and provides you the opportunity to experience a new culture, meet new people, forge new friendships and improve your English skills.
However, we recognise it may also be a challenging time and there may be some things that you may struggle with, like:
- missing home, friends and family
- adapting to new teaching styles
- making new friends
- meeting people in the local community
If you are finding any of the above difficult we would encourage you to talk to some of the teams who are able to advise you. Please don't worry if you don't know exactly which team might be best for your questions - they are all happy to guide you to the best source of support.
Below are some contacts for help with these challenges.
We know the UK health system can be difficult to understand and will likely be very different to that of your home country.
We strongly urge students to register with a doctor when starting studies with the university. The Student Health Centre on Streatham campus cater to students who might need prescriptions, other non-emergency medical aid, advice on healthy living, or who have questions about mental and physical health.
This service, through the National Health Service, will be confidential.
You may experience a change in teaching style compared to your previous studies.
Questions relating to your studies should go to your discipline Info Point or your tutors in the first instance. Our Education Welfare Team can help you when you feel your wellbeing is negatively affecting your studies.
This might include a learning environment where you are encouraged to enter into more debates with your tutor than you were previously used to. This is a commonly used method in the UK and may be difficult to adjust to, but the idea is that it promotes independent thinking.
Marks and grades
Often, international students are used to receiving very high marks for their work (e.g. over 70%). In the UK, you will often receive marks between 40-60%. In the UK, anything above 60% is considered to be a very good mark and getting a mark of above 70% is very unusual and is considered to be an exceptional mark.
With this in mind, please do not be disappointed if you initially receive lower marks than you have previously received when studying elsewhere. This is very normal.
If you do have any concerns regarding your marks, you can always speak to your module leaders and personal tutor.
University teaching varies in nature from country to country, and even among universities in the UK. One aspect of study that sometimes causes confusion is when academics put on office hours for students.
These are one to one appointments that can be booked with an academic to discuss anything related to your course. This can be an idea for a project, questions about placements or further study when you graduate, or going over something from a lecture that you don't understand.
Office hours don't contain any 'new' information: all the course content is covered in your lectures and seminars. Ask your tutors what they think of these office hours and they will tell you they can be an invaluable extra resource.
Events organised by the University, the Students’ Guild and organisations across the city, provide opportunities for you to make new friends and widen your horizons.
Here are a few examples of how you can engage:
- Societies and Groups run by the Students' Guild include everything from Acting Society to the Women in Engineering Society. And if you don't see your interest, you can always create your own.
- Student sport is a great way to meet new people and boost your health and wellbeing. There are teams and societies for a wide range of sports at different ability levels.
- Intercultural Café: enjoy a free hot drink and pastry in enjoy a warm welcome from new friends every Friday 10.30-11.30 during term time in Isca Eats, Cornwall House. Organised by the Transition and Integration team.
- Connections Café: every Tuesday and Friday 11-1 in the Neil Cross room, level 1 Forum Library. Organised by the Multifaith Chaplaincy.
If you are affected by international events please be assured that help and assistance is available.
When distressing events take place that we or our families and friends are personally involved in, it is often a traumatic time emotionally and psychologically.
It is very normal to feel very distressed in these circumstances. People in this situation may feel anxious about themselves, their friends and family and the future.
They may struggle with sleep, concentration or motivation.
If these types of difficulties start to cause you concern, we advise you to access Wellbeing Service support or your GP.
How International and EU students can benefit from our services
- You can register with our free service as soon as you have a confirmed place at the University. After assessing your needs we can help ensure a smooth transition to studying in the UK.
- We advise on all disabilities (sensory and mobility-related, medical conditions, autism other specific learning difficulties, mental health conditions).
- Appointments with us are tailored to suit you and your timetable; they can be online, on the phone or face to face.
- Provide specialised provision with the aim of tailoring a personalised wellbeing strategy for you.
- Give referrals to other specialised free services within the university (for example inclusive technology and specialist equipment, non-medical help such as study skills tutoring, mentoring, note taking, etc.)
- We can recommend student social groups - for undergraduates and postgraduates - that promote activities for international students.
- Our Education Welfare Team can help if you find your studies being affected by your situation or wellbeing concerns.
- Prepare you for departure from the University of Exeter, on to whatever you choose to do next in life.