Pastoral Care Support for International Students

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Pastoral Care Support for International Students

Getting an education in another country other than your own is becoming more and more popular. For many, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. For others, it could happen more than once. Either way, studying abroad is a great opportunity for students to truly expand their horizons. In addition to getting exposure to new cultures and gaining lifelong friends, you will be able to brush up on your foreign language skills, enjoy a chance to become educated at a foreign university with lower tuition fees, and learn more about yourself. Additionally, you will become more independent and take a larger leap towards adulthood. Overall, it’s an exciting way to get your education and experience an adventure at the same time. Perhaps you are considering studying abroad in the UK but have a few reservations. Leaving your home is one thing, but leaving your country is an even bigger challenge. You may have concerns about your health and safety, money, keeping up with your studies, getting good grades, or missing your family and friends. There is the worry of cultural differences and fitting in. Your parents or guardians aren’t going to be there to take you to the doctor if you get sick. You won’t have somebody to drive you to places you need to go. Your friends won’t be around to hang out. Fortunately, international study programs are well aware of the worries you may face and have created a support system called pastoral care. The international student office at your UK university has a range of services to help international students adjust to life in a new country and cope with the differences. It helps students transition and manage the changes that they may experience.

  • What is Pastoral Care for International Students?

    Entering a new country means new rules, new food, a new language, a new environment, and new social interactions. Thus, being out of your comfort zone takes on a new meaning. It is normal for people to feel out of place when anything has changed. Often with change comes fear and anxiety, a bad combination for students who are trying to focus on doing well in their studies. That’s where the pastoral care program comes in. It is a service that gives aid and support to international students. It offers guidance, advice and answers to any questions students may have. Specialists enlisted in the program work closely with parents, guardians and teachers to assure the students’ needs are met. There are many areas in which the program can offer support.

  • Encourage Healthy Relationships

    It isn’t easy to make friends, especially when you have so many differences. Pastoral groups help you integrate with social circles and develop healthy relationship.

  • Nurture Cultures

    Respecting and appreciating the differences between the culture you grew up with and the UK culture you are going to be surrounded by is essential for the success of your educational experience. You can learn to appreciate the diversity that exists between countries and their traditions, and the pastoral support group can help you do this.

  • Ease Societal Differences

    If you need somewhere to go to talk about your discomfort with codes and standards that exist in a new country, you have a place. Specialists can help you understand and cope with cultural issues that may differ, including dress codes, relationships and public presentation.

  • Academic Support

    For times when you are struggling with a particular subject, you can meet with the pastoral workers. They can help you get the tutoring or guidance you need with your studies.


  • Refer Students to Health Care Providers

    Getting sick or injured is already an uncomfortable situation, let alone having it happen in an entirely different country. Workers with the pastoral program can refer you to doctors that can help you with any health issues.

  • Refer Students to Counselors

    Being in a new country could bring on feelings of anxiety. Not excelling in a particular subject or having a relationship turn sour may onset depression. Workers can refer counselors to help you.

  • Give Support Concerning Religious and Spiritual Issues

    You may want to continue practicing your religion but are not able to attend a place of worship or exercise the principles relating to your religious preference. Workers can help you find a solution to satisfy your spiritual needs.

  • Emotional Help

    You may need help dealing with stress, connecting with others, expressing your feelings, or managing your anger. Specialists can advise you or refer you to counseling if necessary.

  • Family Support

    If you find yourself longing for home or missing your family, the pastoral support group can help you to work through those issues. Even if you are going through some rough family times, pastoral specialists can see you through it.

  • Academic Help

    In times when you need help with your educational pathway, workers can assist you. They can direct you towards your academic goals.

  • Motivation

    Sometimes you may need a little motivation to get you out of your rut. Specialists can help come up with ways to help get you back on track.

  • Guidance

    When you are facing a crossroads and unsure of which direction to go, pastoral care workers can help. They can assist you in creating a plan for your future and help you to feel confident in the choices you make at each fork in the road.

  • Listening

    Pastoral support workers will listen to you when you need somebody to talk to. They will respect your privacy and everything you say to them will be kept confidential.

  • What is the International Student Office?

    The international student office assists those who want to participate in the study abroad programs. The people who work in this office do many things to help potential students get through the qualification process, such as: Provide forms for travel outside of the UK Prepare legal documents pertaining to international students getting work experience through a training program Help process any legal documents that are required for admission of international students Advise individuals and groups about the immigration regulations Sponsor programs that help international students adjust to their host country Depending on the school you decide to go to, the office will have specific guidelines to follow when applying. Begin by narrowing down the educational programs and the prospective schools you may want to attend then research which classes they have to offer. You may want to consider the cost of admission and how you feel about the area you will be living in. Finally, select which program and school is the best choice for your study and then apply.

  • International Student Application

    Each university and country will vary in their application process. Some require you to turn in a separate application for both the study abroad program and the university. Most universities give details on their website about how to submit your application. You can always call the university directly to get answers to any questions you may have. After you have gotten the application process rolling for the university and study abroad program, you will need to arrange a few more things. Even if it’s too early to make final decisions, you can start collecting information and get prepared ahead of time. 1. Apply for a passport If you already have one, make sure it will not expire before you have completed your study abroad course. If your passport expires in the next year, you will need to apply for a new one. Give yourself several months in advance to assure your passport arrives in time. 2. Apply for a student visa Usually, you won’t be able to apply for a visa until you have received your acceptance letter from the university. Once the paperwork comes and you have been accepted, start your visa application. Depending on where you are going, some schools allow you to get your visa as early as three or four months before the start date of your studies. Many schools only allow you to get your visa 30 days in advance. 3. Arrange your flights Begin searching for flights early. International airfare is less expensive when purchased in advance. About three months before you travel is a good time to book your flights. Look into online deals to see if you can get even better rates. 4. Find student housing Start looking for student housing in the UK far in advance to get the best prices. Often, students can receive discounts for their accommodations. 5. Inform your banks Let your financial institutions know that you will be traveling to another country and tell them where you are going. This will alert them that any purchases made with your credit card or your bank account is not fraudulent when it occurs in the UK, or any other countries you plan on visiting while abroad.

  • Having Confidence While Studying Abroad

    Studying abroad can be an exciting opportunity. The program you choose and the type of degree you want will determine the length of time it will take to complete the course. You can take comfort in knowing that the pastoral care and international student offices are both available to assist your needs. SchoolApply can help you get started with your academic adventure in the UK. They offer a personalized service and can help you choose from over 4,000 universities.

Levels Explained

  • Bachelor's

    A bachelor's degree (also called a first degree or undergraduate degree) is attained after receiving a post-secondary (high school) education and generally spans four years. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as bachelor or undergraduate students. A bachelor's degree is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university.

  • Master's

    A master’s degree (or postgraduate or graduate education) involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees. This degree is preceded by a bachelor’s degree and generally takes two years to complete. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as master's, or grad students.

  • Pathway

    Bachelor’s and master’s pathway programs are designed for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation before continuing to a degree program at a university. The purpose of these programs are to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college.