Becoming an international or exchange student is an incredibly exciting time, but the journey can also be difficult, stressful, and downright scary. Firstly there is the complicated process of applying and finding out if you have secured a place, and then you have all the hard work of moving to somewhere new. ESN UK wants to support all mobility students so that they can spend more time focusing on the positive aspects of their mobility and looking forward to everything they are about to experience. That’s why we have been hard at work all summer, finding and working with amazing partners to make the journey to mobility as smooth as possible.
Imagine you are an international student about to participate in a mobility exchange for the first time. Let’s go through your journey, and see how ESN UK is there to support you at every step of the way.
Step 1: Finding accommodation
It’s hard to picture your time studying abroad until you know where you are going to live! Some destination universities will help you to sort this out, or even have specific accommodation for international and exchange students - check with yours to find out what is possible. Either way though, you don’t have to worry - ESN UK has got you covered! Our accommodation partner Casita has student accommodation all over the world, including in many UK cities. You can check out their options directly on the portal on our website, where you will have exclusive access to our accommodation discounts and offers.
Step 2: Getting luggage to your destination
Chances are, most international and exchange students have never moved abroad on their own before, and it can be difficult to know what to bring - you might feel like you need to bring everything! Combine this with trying to save money on travel and potentially travelling alone, it can be difficult to bring everything you want to have on your time abroad with you when you go. If this is the case, you can use Eurosender to send your luggage anywhere within Europe. They provide reliable door to door delivery, and ESN UK members can get a 10% discount when using our code ESNUK. Remember, you can use Eurosender to send items within Europe at any time during your mobility, not just when you arrive.
Step 3: Arriving in the UK
Having your accommodation sorted is a huge win, but there is still a lot to sort out for when you arrive - internet and energy providers for your accommodation, a local sim card, even public transport and getting to the city from the airport. That’s where our next partner, Movido, comes in - they can create a bespoke ‘starter pack’ for you with all of these things, and more, that you'll need when moving in. Use our code ‘ESN2021’ to take advantage of this and make going from touching down to being set up in your home seamless and stress free.
Step 4: The adventure begins!
Now you are all set up in your new home, you can focus on the fun of being an international or exchange student! Check whether your destination university has an ESN section - we have 21 of these local societies in the UK, or if you are going on mobility from the UK, there are over 500 sections in 42 countries. These local sections are student societies in the local area of your mobility destination, who are dedicated to making your experience as happy, memorable, and meaningful as possible. They will arrange events and activities in your city for you to meet other mobility and local students, ranging from amazing parties to beach cleans, language exchanges to guided tours, all while implementing the six causes of ESN. You can even become part of amazing international projects through your local section - there really is something for everyone. By becoming a member of your local section and purchasing an ESNcard, you will have access to many discounts local to your mobility destination as well as national and international benefits across Europe. In the UK, you can also use ESN UK’s own branded Society app to stay connected and up to date with all of the events and groups in your area. Becoming involved with your local section is our number 1 recommendation for you to make the most of your mobility experience.
Step 5: Making mobility easier
While mobility can be some of the best days of your life, there will always be some difficulties. Going abroad, even when it goes as smoothly as possible, can still be nerve wracking and overwhelming. That’s why we have partnered with Meditopia to provide a platform for you to practice mindfulness, meditation, and other wellness activities. ESN UK members can get 30% off a subscription to Meditopia using our link. We also know that mobility can be expensive - which is why we have partnered with Dell to bring you exclusive discounts off of any tech you need to help you study. To make the most of this, you can use our link with password ‘ESNUK21’. On top of this, if you are looking for a convenient way to make money during your time abroad, we recommend you to check out our partner Revolancer, formerly Topwork. Revolancer is a freelancer platform aimed at helping students sell their freelancer talent, or helping to find talent if you need a skilled worker to help you with a task.
Step 6: Travelling beyond your mobility destination
One of the best things you can do during your experience abroad is to travel around and even outside of your destination country! If you are coming to the UK, we have you sorted, as ESN UK runs national trips every year, uniting exchange and international students from all over the UK on trips both within and outside of the UK. We are proud to partner with two great travel companies, Citylife and Yes-Trips, to help bring these trips to you. You can also check out either company for their own trips, tours, and activities taking place all over Europe.
If you are attending a large event or festival, it is well worth checking out our partner Big Green Coach, for an affordable and eco-friendly travel solution. They are the biggest events travel company within the UK, but their trips are not limited to the UK, and they are committed to planting trees and protecting rainforests for every trip taken.
For any other independent travel you are taking, you are sure to find accommodation in one of Hostelling International’s 4000+ hostels across the globe. With our partnership, ESN UK members can use their ESNcard to get a free 12 month membership, giving them 10% off any stays in this period. And finally, don't forget ESN International's incredible partnership with Ryanair, giving you a number of discounted flights (including checked luggage!) throughout the year your ESNcard membership lasts.
Every mobility journey is different, but ESN UK has done everything possible to make each one as effortless and enjoyable as possible. As we begin the next academic year, we hope the new cohort of mobility students will benefit from this work - we can’t wait to meet you!
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