Studying in the UK is an exceptional opportunity for students to expand their formal education while broadening their global knowledge and experience. England, and the entire United Kingdom, offer vast architecture, history, art and culture unlike anywhere else in the world.
As with any study abroad opportunity, part of ensuring your success while you study in England or other parts of the United Kingdom centers on solid preparation and taking care of logistical concerns prior to your excursion. One importance aspect of preparation is ensuring that you have proper health coverage that will meet your needs while you are outside of your home country.
International students who will be studying full time in England for more than six months, or in Scotland for any amount of time will very likely be eligible for coverage from the National Health Service, which does not generally cover the cost of prescriptions, but does cover the cost of doctor and hospital visits. Students who will be studying in England for less than six months or less than full time, as well as students studying in Ireland, will need to purchase private health coverage prior to embarking on their study abroad excursion.
The National Health Service also offers a number of other benefits including dental care, optical care, women’s health care, and more that may be available for international students regardless of the length of their stay, depending on your age, whether or not your program of study is government funded, your status as a student and other factors; therefore, it is important to determine which services you are eligible for before you may need them. Visit the National Health Service website (http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk) for more information.
Here are six tips to ensure you are prepared to meet your medical needs while studying abroad in the UK:
1. Check with your current health insurance plan to determine if medical or prescription coverage is available while studying abroad.
2. Download The British Council’s Guide to Studying and Living in the UK at educationuk.org.
3. Determine whether or not your UK campus has a student health centre. If not, the National Health Service can provide a list of doctor’s with whom you can register.
4. If you will be studying full time in England, Wales or Scotland, confirm your eligibility for coverage with the National Health Service and register with a doctor upon your arrival. Further information is available at the National Health Service website at http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.
5. Purchase private health coverage prior to your program. Organizations for students studying abroad, such as the International Student Organization at http://www.isoa.org offer many resources for affordable health coverage. Research and compare rates, and enroll in a plan, well before your departure.
6. Remember that emergency services are available at no charge, so do not hesitate to go to hospital in the case of a medical emergency.
Studying in the UK can be a life changing experience. Follow these simple tips to ensure that your study abroad experience is safe and healthy, as well as exciting and educational, so that you can make the most out of your UK studies.