Useful information for students going to US / UK for studies



* Please, Thank you, Sorry, Excuse me – are very essential words. 

Always use them !  In India they may not be so popular, in the western world they are essential.


* Bring your “international driving licence” with you.  You never know when you will need it !


* Open a debit or credit card with an international bank that has high-street presence in UK.  It will help you with transactions in UK.

Very few people carry wads of cash as they do in India.  Most transactions are carried out by card. 


* Don’t buy too many clothes to bring over.  Bring the clothes you have at present.  Warm clothes are best brought from here. 
In India they don’t have the range and choice we have here for warm clothes. 

You can get clothes here at good price.  At least you will than look local and wont stand out like a sore thumb.

You are too young to buy from Marks and Spencer (in many Indian malls) – unless you want to look like a 40 years old.


* Learn to cook simple things like dal, rice and a couple of vegetables (eg chana and aloo). 
You can buy chapattis and nans.  It will save a lot of time and money.  Going out means loosing a minimum of 1.5 – 2 hours.  You are students and should not waste time.


* Call centre training – to speak English like a Brit or American.

This skill will help you throughout your life.

Listen to UK radio to get the accent and “tone”.  Indians (like all people) often have a differnt “tone” and that sets them apart.


* Read novels, magazines, news reports from UK to get to understand the grammar and sentence structure – this is what sets people apart – language you write is language you think in – if you think in Hindi, your writing will be in Hindi translated to English.


* Indians often speak loudly and interject into conversations, as that’s what’s the “norm” in India.  UK/ US has a different way of doing this.  You NEVER interrupt someone without saying excuse me – and than wait for them to give you the signal to speak.  Its considered to be part of “good manners” in the west.


* Never raise your voice !
Speak calmly, clearly and keep the voice level – loud enough to be heard, but not shouting – never shout !


* Don’t ever try to bribe anyone in UK / US / Europe / Australia.... 

Its not the done thing. 

No one will take your bribe and you can get into a lot of legal trouble if caught.


* Truth is not a flexible rubber band !

Personal integrity is very highly valued.  If you say something, it should be followed through. 
Trust, once lost, can’t be fully regained.

This is an important lesson for life – your entire life !
In India this may not be so highly valued or regularly practised, but in the west, it is.


* Manners and what is considered acceptable / rude / unacceptable etc differ from country to country. 
Understand this as you will be in a uni with students from different parts of the globe !!


* “love/ darling / dear” are often used instead of “you” in UK. 
"honey, sweetie" etc are used in US
None of these have the same intense meaning they do in India.  Its common form of address and so don’t read anything into it. 
Just because the lady in supermarket calls you “dear”, doesn’t mean she likes or loves you.

If you use these words, be careful and don’t use them on girls from Indian or middle eastern background – they can / will misunderstand you !


* Always answer your emails – its rude not to reply with even a simple “Thanks – will look at it later.” 
Same applies to your voice mails and texts.  Its rude not to reply.

Non-reply means you don’t care about the mail / message of the sender.  Its like blanking someone out – they don’t exist for you ! 
Its very normal in India not to reply to messages.  It may be perfectly ok in India – in the west its not.


* No one will force you to eat or drink anything you don’t want to.  People in UK / US are very relaxed about such things. 

Americans can’t understand why anyone would choose to be vegetarian and Europeans can’t understand why anyone would decline a drink, but UK is more relaxed.


* Its best to stay away from alcohol if you can.  Its an expensive habit – financially and studywise too.  You don’t want to throw away your student years drinking.  Usually the biggest debt students have is their drinks bill !  Not advisable.

Alcohol is easily available in UK / US / Australia etc. 
Its not advisable to drink alone.  When people drink alone, they usually drink more and become depressed if they do this.  Its usual for people to drink as a group of friends. 

In the west, its perfectly normal for people to have soft drinks at a party / pub / club. 
No one thinks badly of you if you do that.  In fact, those who can refrain from drink are thought of as strong willed.

If people go out as a group, usually there is one person who is going to drive the rest of the people home.  Its normal for that person to be sober and not have a drink. 
Drink Driving is a very serious offence and is very harshly punished.


* Equally, meat, though freely available, is not compulsory in UK / US.  There are plenty of vegetarian options available here. 
People think its “ethically” good to be vegetarian.  In the student community, its even considered “cool”.



Its bad for your health, wealth and job prospects. 

Momentary “high” of a drug is not worth the trouble.

If ever you are caught, it can get you a criminal record that is impossible to expunge from your records.  You will be debarred from many countries for life.  Its one of the few things that can affect you internationally and forever !!! 

Once you have “drugs” conviction, jobs in good companies are closed to you - fullstop. 


* Be safe !

Its easy to have a “relationship” with whoever you want 7000 miles from home.  But be careful – you don’t want to take anything unwanted back home.

You are here for a short period, you don’t want to take back any diseases or a baby.



Best wishes for your studies and exams.


© Bhagwat    [email protected]



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