The UK is a diverse nation of different ethnicities and minorities. Plus, due to the annual influx of international students in the country, it has become a welcoming environment for them. However, when students do experience some issues and need help, it would be useful for them to know some of the UK’s international student support organizations.
If you are an international student in the UK, or currently planning to study in the UK, here are some international student support organizations you must know about.
UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)
UKCISA has been around since the ‘60s. It has been supporting international students and the organizations working closely with them since its conception. Their main role is to give advice to international students, and UKCISA’s member institutions and students’ organizations through training and giving updated information in everything related to international students.
Moreover, international students can directly ask for help from UKCISA through a students advice line. Through this advice line, students can ask UKCISA questions about tuition fees, immigration rules, government support, government guidelines and regulations, and even working in the UK.
The British Council, through its Study UK website, gives students practical advice on living in the UK. This advice includes scholarships and funding, and tips on living in the UK such as applying for a student visa, the process of applying to a UK institution, and available scholarships. The British Council also gives updates about studying in the UK.
National Union of Students (NUS)
The NUS helps in championing the rights of all students in the UK, especially those who are part of its organization. Currently, the NUS consists of 95% of all student unions in the UK. Aside from representing students in the country, the NUS also gives students practical advice and information they can use while they are living in the UK. Such advice includes topics on housing, mental health, finance, institution grievances, discrimination, and disability support. However, for one-on-one or specific cases, international students should go to their on-campus student union, which is most likely affiliated with the NUS.
Samaritans is the UK’s go-to helpline in case someone needs urgent emotional or mental support or just wants to talk to somebody. The Samaritan can be accessed through phone, email, text messaging, or even a letter. It also has a dedicated application for self-help for students to manage their mental well-being on a daily basis.
Barnardo’s Boloh Service
Barnardo’s Boloh service focuses on the UK’s minority groups such as Black, Asian, or other minorities on anything related to COVID-19. It works as a helpline providing emotional support and other advice. Also, it helps connect students to other organizations that can provide them further help.
On-Campus International Office
All universities accepting international students have their own designated international office. International offices may be the most accessible among all international student support systems in the UK because of their proximity to the school.
International offices in the UK provide students with the needed advice and support on topics including immigration, funding, employment, and even personal matters for their mental health and academic advancement. Moreover, a university’s international office can coordinate training and events for international students.
Want to learn more practical tips about the UK? Check out MSM Unify’s article on A Guide to Accommodations for International Students in the UK to learn about its student housing.