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What will UK university life be like post lockdown?

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3 minutes

Are you thinking about coming to university in the UK this year but not sure what it will be like? Well we’ve got you covered! It’s a given that this year, university life will be different but there is no reason why it can't be enjoyed like before. 

What will freshers be like this year?

Freshers week takes place prior to the first week of the academic semester. This is also known as welcome or orientation week. The exact dates will differ depending on the university but it usually takes place from the start to mid September. Freshers week, which traditionally consisted of big ice breaking events and club nights, has drastically changed. Many universities are now focusing more on online and outdoor events so there is still plenty to embrace during your first week at university. For in person events, there are likely to be limited spaces and allocated time slots so get in early if you want to take part! 

Check out our blog post on Freshers week 2020 here and individual institutions’ websites to see what they have on offer and get involved! 

What will accommodation be like?

If you live in university accommodation, you will mostly likely be put in a ‘social bubble’ with other students. This will mean that you will live with people who are studying the same course as yourself which helps to minimise close contact beyond this small group. This is a great opportunity to make friends with people who have similar interests to you and to meet people to study with. 

Most universities are organising accommodation blocks dedicated to students who need to self isolate upon arrival to the UK. Universities are also organising shuffle services from airports so check with individual institutions to find out if they are able to take you from the airport straight to your front door! 

What will learning be like?

It is a given that there will not be any large lectures or tutorials taking place during the first semester. Most universities will be going forward into the first semester with a blended learning programme. This means there will be a mix of online lectures and tutorials with some small group teaching taking place on campus while following the latest health guidelines. 

Each university’s learning approach will differ so best to check with individual institutions’ websites to see how they are planning learning. 

What will the campus be like?

Campus life and socialising in general will be in line with government and health guidelines. Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh is helping their students follow these guidelines by calling them the three W’s. The first is wash your hands and it has stated that there will be hand-sanitiser stations around the campus. The second is wear a face covering and Heriot-Watt University have face covering zones which they are prepared to adapt and change depending on government guidelines. The third is to watch your distance, social distancing has become a huge part of the “new normal” and Heriot-Watt University has designed the campus with social distancing in mind consisting of one way systems and relevant signage. 

Food and drink services are likely to be different too with booking systems, click and collect options, more emphasis on card payments, extra cleaning and social distanced tables. It is worth checking what the local government guidelines are on socialising as this differs in each part of the UK. 

This academic year is definitely going to be different but don’t be put off continuing your studies because of it. Be innovative and make friends in different ways such as through online events and societies. Make the most of your bubble as these fellow students could become your friends for life! Be creative about where you watch your online lectures, if the weather is nice you could try and find a spot on campus with wifi to have a change of scenery.

If you are still to apply to university in the UK for this academic year then head over to UCAS Clearing and you can read our blog about applying through clearing as an international student. 


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