We’ve asked some international LSE alumni to provide their top tips on how to make the most out of your time studying in the UK and this is what they’ve come up with:
Continue to develop your English skills
Many students realise when they arrive in the UK that the level of English level requirement to pass IELTS and TOEFL may not be enough to succeed in your general everyday conversations with English students or to pass the obligatory interviews and assessment events with UK based employers. One of the main problems international students face when interviewing for roles in the UK is that their English language skills are not good enough to pass a first round telephone or video interview. There are several ways to improve your language skills including befriending English students and asking them to give you feedback to help you improve. LSE has formal support through the LSE Language Centre. You should also do all the obvious things such as read news online, watch popular shows and films and attend events. There is also an international membership group called Toastmasters that has clubs all around the world. If you’re a member, you can attend meetings to practice your public speaking and presenting skills and receive constructive feedback from the group. Finally, if you have the time, you could look to see if you could do some part time tutoring whilst at university.
Adjust to UK learning methods
Some of our alumni mentioned that it was initially tricky to adjust to the new learning environment. They advise current students to actively participate in class discussions and to engage with your academic tutors. They also mentioned the need to work more within a group based learning environment and encouraged current students to have the confidence to demonstrate their free thinking and creativity. All these skills are valued by UK based employers and may be skills you need to demonstrate if you’re thinking of working in the UK.
Social life and university clubs
All our alumni suggested that international students find the time to join organised activities such as sports teams or arts/cultural based societies. See the LSE SU list of societies for the full range of activities you can get involved with. In terms of what employers are looking for from your engagement with societies, they are looking for you to demonstrate a certain level of commitment to a group or even to take on a position of responsibility within a group. Therefore, don’t join every society on offer, have a think about interests and skills you are genuinely keen to develop.
Many of our alums speak positively of the volunteering work they did whilst at LSE. They have commented that it’s a great way to make a difference, make new friends, explore London and improve your employability. There are a range of opportunities you can get involved with as an international student including one-off volunteering projects through to ongoing projects. Once again, our international employers have commented on the need for students to demonstrate they have been involved with work outside of their academic study and this is a perfect way to do so!
Use LSE Careers in the right way
Some of our international alumni have commented that the way careers services work in the UK is slightly different to their home country. LSE Careers is here to help you identify opportunities and facilitate meetings with employers through careers fairs, employer presentations, sector panels, skills seminars and networking events. We don’t provide lists of employers to students as we feel the research into finding the right employer for you is a vital part of the career research process.
We hope you have a fantastic time studying at LSE and we hope to see you at one of our many careers events soon.