UK Induction Program
Most, if not all, British Universities and Colleges organise some type of Induction Programme for its new intake of overseas students. Such Programmes can range from a one-day get-together, with little or no basic framework, to a week-long programme that is highly structured and highly organised.
UK Induction Program
Many Universities and Colleges meet and greet their overseas students when they arrive in the UK - this is usually done via the British Council’s Meeting & Greeting Service at London Gatwick and London Heathrow airports. Before you leave home, you will probably be asked to let your British Higher Educational Institution know the date you are expected to arrive in the UK together with a note of the airport, the flight number and its expected time or arrival. A representative or a member of staff or even an overseas student from your Educational Institution will then meet you at the airport and advise you about the best mode of transport from the airport to the town or city in which your Educational Institution is located. Some Universities and Colleges provide coaches so that you and your luggage can be transported, often free of charge, to the place where you are going to study.
During the time that overseas students arrive (usually during the week prior to Freshers’ Week), most Educational Institutions run some sort of Reception Centre for its overseas students. This serves two purposes. Firstly, it acts as an accommodation reception point. Secondly, it acts as a Centre to where overseas students can go and ask questions of the staff (usually from the Welfare Services as well as from the Registry) who help run the Centre. Do not be afraid to ask questions of the staff at these Receptions Centres. These questions can range from "Where can I purchase a good quality warm coat for the winter?" to "How much does it cost to post a letter home?" to "Can you tell where is the nearest General Practitioner (i.e. Doctor) to my Hall of Residence?" The staff at the Centre should be able to answer such questions.
It is inevitable that some overseas students will not have made accommodation arrangements. This can be for a variety of reasons, although the usual ones are that you will have applied too late for your accommodation or you will have been accepted via Clearing and so will not have had time to make arrangements for your accommodation. In such cases temporary accommodation will be arranged for you. This will probably be in some small hotel or guest house where bed and breakfast is provided. Such accommodation will be temporary and if you find yourself in temporary accommodation, do not worry as you will almost certainly be given permanent accommodation within a few days.
If for some reason or another you arrive at your place of study very late at night - that is after the Accommodation Reception Staff have left - then you will also be put in temporary accommodation for that night only.
Getting to know your Educational Institution
GOne of the purposes of any Induction Programme is to introduce you to the Educational Institution where you are going to study. This usually takes the form of guided tours, sometimes with an illustrated lecture or video beforehand. Second and third year overseas students often act as tour guides. Do not be afraid to ask them questions - if they cannot answer your questions immediately, they will usually be able to direct you to someone who can.
During the Induction Programme, there will also be an opportunity for you to meet some of the senior members of the University or College where you will be studying. There is always a reception at which the Vice-Chancellor, some of the Pro-Vice-Chancellors, some of the Deans of Faculties, and some of the senior members of the Administration, including the Director of the International Office, are present. They will usually mingle at these receptions and will literally try to meet every overseas student present. Be sure to take your camera with you to such receptions so that you can get one of your new friends to take a photograph of you with the Vice-Chancellor so that it can be sent home to impress your parents and their friends!
Similarly, during the Induction Programme, there is always an organised tours of the Students Union buildings with an explanation of the role and purpose of the Students Union. Meetings with the Presidents and the various Committee members of International Societies are also held - this will enable you to find out when the various International Societies meet and what they do. During the evenings of the Induction Programme, discos and other social events (for example, film shows) are usually held in the Students Union building. These functions serve as an excellent medium for you to make friends.
Getting to know the Town or City where your Institution is Located
The history and geographical location of the town or city where your Educational Institution is located will often take the form of a formal illustrated lecture given by some local historian followed by a guided tour. Sometimes this tour will take the form of a walk through the town when your tour guide will point out landmarks and sites of interest. At other times, it will take the form of guided coach tour of the area - sometimes this will last half a day, sometimes a whole day. Again, be ready to ask questions of your tour guide, no matter how trivial they appear to be.
Many Universities and Colleges have excellent relations with the civic authorities and many cities and towns put on a civic reception for overseas students. This will allow you to be welcomed by the Lord Mayor or Mayor, together with some other important civic dignitaries, including members of local Council (i.e. the elected members of local Government). Again, remember to take your camera with you to such a reception so that you can hopefully obtain a photograph of you with the mayor complete with the ceremonial chain of office which he or she will always wear on such an occasion.
During the first few days of study, your department will organise tours of the libraries and Computing Centre in order for you to acquaint yourself with what facilities are available for your use while you are a student. In addition, you will be given a detailed course guide and an explanation of the examinations you will have to take and pass in order for you to gain your qualifications. You should also be given an explanation of the mode of teaching including any laboratory classes, tutorials and seminars.