Hi, I am Dr. Alankruta Rao, an IMG from India, currently in the UK, preparing for my PLAB 2 exam. In this blog, I will be mentioning a few things to keep in mind while living here in the UK on a tourist visa.
I will be discussing the following:
4. Rules and regulations
Braving the weather
The title of this paragraph could have been bearing the weather, but I went with the former.
One experiences bright sunshine and rain on the same day; the only thing constant about this place is its fitful weather. Always be armed with an umbrella; having said that, weather apps are pretty accurate, and one should have consulted it before planning on venturing out, and you should be fine.
While traveling in the winter months, be sure to pack a lot of warm clothes. Layering up is key! Another thing I noted is that the winterwear that I packed from India did not keep me warm as the temperature began to drop. I eventually purchased (better) coats from the UK, which seemed to be designed for the weather here. So that is always an option. You can check out this really insightful post by Dr. Yash Kurmi: https://www.trewlink.blog/post/living-in-the-uk-food-groceries-travel-and-miscellaneous who talks about managing food, travel, and groceries while in the UK.
I won't be talking about budgets or ways to save money but rather the means to use them. Mostly this place is really card-friendly and favours cards over cash payment; there are some places that only accept card payments. But be watchful for financial thefts; cards are safe but can be stolen or scanned without consent. Be extremely cautious about theft and familiarise yourself with bank policies on stolen cards.
Contactless payment via card was a new thing for me. I am used to typing the pin and approving the payment. Keep such contactless cards in thick wallets close to you as people could use hidden scanners and just walk past you without you realising that your money has been stolen.
Generally speaking, this country is extremely safe, with a very low crime rate but coming to technologically advanced countries exposes us to different challenges. As doctors or the public in general, we lack knowledge about important issues like cybersecurity and social engineering. Cyber theft/crime is more common in these regions, and it won't hurt to educate oneself about these. I am speaking from experience. These things are crucial when it comes to moving to a technologically advanced country.
One simple tip could be to avoid public Wi-Fi unless absolutely necessary and be wary of links that are shared on social media, even by friends and with your credit card as well.
My personal Instagram account was hacked recently after I clicked on a link shared with me by my friend asking me to vote for them. I immediately got logged out of my account and could not log back in. I also received calls on WhatsApp (as the hacker could access my personal information) asking me for my email address. When I told them that I would be informing the police, the calls stopped and haven't returned since.
When I messaged my friend on WhatsApp, they told me that their Instagram was hacked as well, and the hacker must have sent me a message from my friend's hacked account. This caused me great distress as I could not retrieve my account, which brings me to my next point- a backup mobile number.
As my mobile number for many things is my India number, which is absolutely useless here, there isn't much that I can do. So keep that in mind when you travel here. Your OTPs and messages will go to the phone number you use in your country.
Rules and regulations
I feel that this is quite important. One has to remember you are a guest in a new country and always follow the rules as per the status of your visa. I have heard of a few cases of not following the visa rules and getting away with it. However, you are not only representing yourself but also all the doctors who will be applying from your country. A few bad apples can spoil it for the rest. So read the regulations, and follow the rules.
If you need any help with the VISA application, be sure to check out the blog by Dr. Shourjomay Gosh: https://www.trewlink.blog/post/getting-to-the-uk-how-to-get-a-visa-for-plab-2-successfully
If you need any assistance, be sure to check out the TrewLink Community page. We're your home away from home.
If you have any questions about building your portfolio, PLAB1, VISA application, and PLAB2 bookings, I would be happy to answer them at trewlink.com. You can register using this link: https://trewlink.com?referrer=rao952172. Find me as an Ambassador and Follow my profile -Alankruta Rao- to receive regular support and advice.