It can be really scary and exciting at the same time, to go away from home and study in a new country. It is overwhelming to experience different cultures and people from all around the world. The MAIFB course is one such course where you would have a mix of students from different parts of the world. It helps broaden your knowledge about how people differ in different regions and parts of the world. Coming from a country like India, I made friends from the Caribbean, China, America and different parts of Europe. From my experience I can tell you that it is the most enriching experience of my life. But even before I got here, I had a lot of unanswered questions in my mind. Even though I found my way through, I wish I had known a few things before I landed in UK. So here are some tips:

  1. The most important of all- Join the offer holders group! Soon after you have received your offer from University of Exeter, they will provide you a Facebook link to join the Offer Holders Facebook group for your year. It is important to join that group as you will meet a lot of people, you can interact with people doing your course or coming from the same country as you. Great start to make friends and getting to know people even before you reach Exeter.
  2. You must keep a check on your emails that you receive from the university, it will have details about the documents they require you to submit, the tuition fees you are to pay, and the student guide you can refer to. You will find the International Students Handbook on their website that has each and every detail you need to know. (Must download that!)
  3. Visa: You must apply for your visa way in advance. You can apply 3 months before your date of travel: So July would be the best time to apply.
  4. You will be asked to show a proof of all your original documents on your first day in the university (at International Student Clearance) so make sure you carry all the important, original documents with you.
  5. The MAIFB course WhatsApp group: The year I joined in, there was a WhatsApp group that was created which helped me a lot. I was really lost as the number of students in this course will not be more than 25-30, and finding these people on Facebook was really hard. So find out if there exists a WhatsApp group and join it. (Usually the link is on the MAIFB facebook page). It makes things more personal and you can get to know about your cohort before joining in. Really helped me!
  6. Book your accommodation in advance: since the MAIFB course is 3 months in Exeter and 9 months in London, it is important to book your accommodation way in advance to get a nicer and a cheaper place in Exeter. There are a few student housing accommodations that provide short term (3 months or less) stays, so it is worth phoning up and asking the question. Or you could try Studentpad, the official University of Exeter student accommodation search engine, which lets you search for student houses, flats and lodgings in Exeter and the UK. It includes listings from local landlords offering short term lets and also lodgings within their own home, which may be a suitable alternative.The other options to find good stays would be Airbnb, Spareroom. And for your accommodation in London, find that once you’re here.
  1. Travelling to Exeter: Usually there is a coach arranged by the university, a day or two before your induction. If these dates aren’t suitable for you, you could book a coach (bus) as it is quite reasonable, or if you book well in advance, you could get a cheap train ticket.
  2. Be prepared for the rain: No matter the season, it will rain. Make sure you’re prepared for the rain. The usual umbrellas/ brollies, don’t last in the stormy rains. You will be needing waterproof coats with hoods/windcheaters, etc. It is best to buy those there in UK.
  3. Once you reach Exeter, you could get a Stagecoach Bus Pass: It is a really convenient bus pass for unlimited travels. If you’re not fond of walking too much, you should get a pass for 3 months. It makes it easier to commute to the university every day.
  4. Do attend some of the events like the Welcome dinner by the university, as it is an opportunity to meet new people, but do not attend ALL. You must go for the group travels by the university, they are fun when you go with a group of friends. The reason to mention this is the university will provide you with a link to book these events in advance. You might want to have a look before booking them. Once you’re here, you must attend events by your course mentors/ module convenors. It is the best place to socialise with your cohort.
  1. The MAIFB course requires you to attend the Berlin Film Festival that happens in February. You will need a Schengen visa: that you will have to apply for and the best time would be by December at least. You will also have to get a letter from the university stating the purpose of your travel, so make sure you prepare and get your letter before you move to London for the rest of your course.
  2. For the rest, just enjoy your time as it is only 1 year. You won’t even realise when that precious time will just fly away. Exeter city is beautiful, make sure you walk around. Also, travel and make the most of your time in Europe. It is a once in a lifetime experience!