Being an international student at any British University is not an easy deal, between increased fees, bureaucratic visa hurdles, and being treated as a cash cow by the institution, it is unsurprising that so many student unions have turned their focus to international students issues.
At King’s one of the front runners in providing support is the Mexican Society. In the past year they have created countless guides and support for students, work completed on their own time and focusing on the needs they have learnt through lived experience as international students at King’s.
This blog post’s aim is two fold: 1. To highlight the commitment intersectional feminists should make to our international siblings at University, as they are often hit hardest by the financial and bureaucratic burdens leveled at students. 2. Point you in the direction of two fantastic guides written by our own iFemSoc member Paulina on how to navigate living in London & being an international student.
The first is a fantastic break down of British healthcare and the NHS. The guide is incredibly comprehensive, stressing the importance of registering with the NHS, as well as many of the questions that are specific two being an international student here in the UK.
“Given that most students are relatively young people, it is frequent for us not to worry too much about our health. However, this is a mistake. One of the first things that you should do when you arrive to the UK is to register with the National Health Service (NHS), the British “public and free” healthcare system, even if it is just to be on the safe side. It is important to register soon for two reasons: many universities and dorms require it and private healthcare is extremely expensive. The lowest fees that a private doctor will charge you will be £80-100 per appointment, if you’re lucky and don’t need any additional test or procedure. Finally, in case of an emergency – yes, we all say it won’t happen – everything will be speedier and better if you know how to use the system.
Just as any other public healthcare system, the NHS is bureaucratic, complicated, and sometimes exasperatingly slow. However, if you know how to navigate it and use it smartly, you’ll get exceptional, quality care which will be nearly or completely free. This is something students in the US can’t say, having to subject themselves to expensive, private health-insurance companies that don’t necessarily cover everything, even if they can be tax-deductible.”
*hit the link above, and on that page will be a gateway to a Spanish version of the guide if that is more useful for you.
Housing in London is incredibly difficult for all students, however most home students don’t realise that added loop holes that international students are forced to jump to just to find somewhere safe to life while studying. The guide follows a step-by-step procedure of what Paulina & her housemate did to find an apartment, noting complicating factors & useful sites that they found on the way.
It’s important to note that this guide is slightly more geared towards Mexican students, however in general the advice is very useful for all students.
*The second half of the article is in Spanish, this is just a duplicate translation.
To sum up: for feminist societies to truly be considered intersectional they must redouble their efforts to include and cater for international students. In this mind, KCL iFemSoc will aim to be hosting some international students feminist meet ups this semester, and maintain our support of student campaigns that hope to better the experiences of international students here at King’s.
If you have any worries or advice that the society can do to aid international students, do get in touch.
This blog post was written by kcl iFemSoc blog editor Natalie Faber, and references articles written by Paulina Guerrero Gutiérrez, KCL Mexican Society President and iFemSoc member.