7 things I wish I knew before studying abroad in the UK

There are so many things from my experience I want to talk about, and therefore this blog has naturally become the place where I would spill them all out.  As usual, this is only my thoughts from MY experience, it is likely that it’s biased and it might not apply to everyone.  If this is not your thing, click away now before it’s too late.  Remember what you’ve signed up for.  Are you ready?  Let’s do this!!


This post is not about the ‘oh you’ll grow up so much going abroad‘ jazz.  We all know the cliches.  This post is about the 7 things I didn’t expect to experience when I was studying in the UK.

It might take a bit longer than you expected to get used to everything

After all, it’s a whole different country and culture you’re moving to!  Because it is so different from what you’ve grown up with and familiar with, the magic does not happen overnight, and it is natural that it might take just a lil’ longer to adjust to a whole new environment.  Don’t be too harsh on yourself about adjusting.  Some people might just fit in naturally, for others it might take a while.  And that’s okay – as long as you do so eventually (and you will!).


It’s gonna be lonely now and then…

Even on my fifth year, when (I thought) I was so used to all the bits and bobs of living in the UK, and I had no problems whatsoever, that homesickness still came around now and then to say hi.  For me it’s usually during mid-Autumn Festival, when my family was celebrating back home while I walked to a 9am lecture.  It can be quite miserable, especially surrounded by the lovely British weather as well.  But now that I think about it, it was quite a fun experience to celebrate these festivals in the UK with fellow HK/Chinese friends.  Although it is different from what we do back home, I actually liked it a lot.  The winter hot pot dinners, making New Year rice cakes, and splitting a mooncake on mid-Autumn Festival between the three of us away from home, they were all good memories.  Another homesick situation was when I had huge deadlines coming up and I just wanted to run away from my responsibilities,  go home and be a baby.  And because you’re all alone (sort of), you have no choice but to face your fears and adult commitments.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because this way you get things done.

…and that’s ok!

Because it’ll go away after a while, and you have the whole city (or even country!) for you to explore!  Hop on a train, or book yourself a budget flight.  The whole world is out there, waiting to be discovered.  There are so many places to see, cuisines to try, and people to meet out there.  It is always a good idea to take a break from the depressing British winter for a few days and visit warmer regions nearby, such as Spain, Italy and south of France.


Time is gonna fly by

And before you know it, you’re graduating.  At first, five years sounded like a very long time to me and it felt dreadful.  But it honestly just passed by in a blink of the eye, especially the three years in uni.

You’re gonna meet great friends and you’ll miss them a lot

This might sound a little odd, but it is true.  Before I decided to study in the UK, and I have had a few friends from Hong Kong who’re already studying in the UK in boarding schools.  Quite a few of them have complained about life there and how much they miss Hong Kong.  So I didn’t really expect a lot when I first arrived.  But five years later, I’ve actually met so many great people along the way, and when it was the time to say goodbye, I was genuinely really sad to leave.

You’re actually gonna miss the UK

Similar to the last point, I didn’t arrive in the UK to love it instantly.  I somehow didn’t like it so much at the beginning.  But I’ve had so much fun, (and again) particularly in London.  All the museums, restaurants, and fun things to do.  ‘Nuff said, more about it here, here, and here.  Also see below:

It’s gonna take a while to adjust back to living at home again

I had no idea I would be having such a hard time adjusting to living back home in Hong Kong again.  All this time I was trying so hard to live independently like an adult in the UK, moving back home with pretty much a five year gap (mind you: I was 15 before I left HK aka a lil baby) hasn’t been easy AT ALL.  That reverse culture shock is real.



Studying abroad is scary.  Leaving what you’re familiar with and going to a totally unknown place is very daunting, and it hasn’t been an easy journey for me either.  But if you’re willing to and able to, I would definitely advise you to do so!  Because as they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  As cliche as this sounds, you’ll find out SO MUCH about other people, the world, and – last but not least – yourself.  And it is so far one of the best decisions – if not the best decision – I’ve ever made in my life so far.  Although it was tough, looking back on the past five years of my life…it was all worth it.


(‘Smiling through it…she said…she’d do it…again’ 😉 )


Have you studied or lived abroad?  Comment below and share your experience and perhaps a little tip!


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Take care and see ya soon! <3

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