‘University is the best time of your life’, a much quoted phrase, but one that isn’t always true. Although you’d like your time at university to be a happy one, at some point you may be in need of a little extra help and support, and that’s where university wellbeing services come in.
Although provision varies at every university, there is always a support network in place to help with a wide variety of problems, from practical study issues, to learning difficulties, mental health problems, financial worries and religious issues.
Course leaders and personal tutors are always a good first point of contact, particularly when it comes to study related problems, but they are by no means the only source of help and advice. Learning Support or Student Wellbeing services will offer a range of services, which can include support programs for those with physical and learning difficulties, and trained counsellors to help with your emotional needs. This could be through an on-site medical centre, or referrals to nearby medical centres.
Provision for different cultures and religions also forms an important part of student wellbeing, with most campuses providing facilities for worship and prayer. Also look out for faith societies, events and discussion groups, along with specialist faith advisers, who work with student unions and academic services to help integrate different religions into university life.
It’s not just about religion and culture though, the global nature of many university campuses means that general provisions for international students are important too. You may find an International Student Support Officer on campus for support in term and vacation time, who can offer things like counselling to help with homesickness, extra social activities, and English Language courses to help you get the most out of studying in the UK.
University websites will have details of all the wellbeing services available to their students, along with lots of general advice on course funding, money issues such as tax payments, and advice on making the most of your time at university. There is plenty of help and support available wherever you study, so don’t be afraid to ask if you need it. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the university’s admission or student services unit. If you’re an international student and need further advice on studying and living in Britain, The British Council, i-uk.com, and Visit Britain websites will give you a flavour of what to expect.