In association with Ucas

10 hot survival tips for student life in the UK

Better read this before you pack your bags...

1. Check if you need to register

Some foreign nationals are required to register with the police within seven days of landing in the UK (it should be clear from your passport stamp if you do). You'll need your passport, two passport pictures, and £34 in cash.

2. Buy a coat

It's often said that the only predictable thing about British weather is its unpredictability. Most international societies recommend bringing a coat, sturdy shoes and warm clothing to the UK (although these will be reasonably cheap to buy when you arrive.) Another way to combat the chill is to burn any shorts or sunglasses you've brought and warm your hands over the resulting fire...

3. Open a bank account

It's useful to have a UK bank account to enable you to pay bills and rent quickly and easily. Sadly, banks tend only to lavish free gifts and large overdraft facilities on those with UK passports. However, you can get a basic bank account which will not give you credit but will enable you to get money from cash machines and make payments. Compare what the different banks offer at www.bba.org.uk.

4. Join the international society

Your university and student union will help if you're experiencing difficulties with your course or life in the UK. Your best resource, though, is your international society, which will have specific experience and understanding of your needs. Most run orienteering courses and social events, which are a great way to meet people. Find them via your institution's website or student union.

5. Learn more English

If you're reading this, you either have a decent grasp of English already or are great at using those translation websites. However, the academic English you'll be required to use in assignments is quite advanced. Institutions offer a range of courses, from free lunchtime tutorials to residential pre-sessional courses that cost £200-£300 a week. Look at options on your instiution's website and www.englishuk.com.

6. Stay healthy

If you get a snivel, you've probably been gripped by a favourite in Britain: the common cold. Get rest, fluids and vitamins. If symptoms get worse, consult your local doctor (see www.nhs.uk for the nearest); all treatment on the National Health Service is free if you're studying in the UK for six months or more. Information and advice is also available at www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.

7. Stay in touch

If you're thinking of getting a mobile phone or landline with broadband, check out the different rates on offer at www.s-k-i-n-t.co.uk/skinttariffs. Post offices are open from 9am-5.30pm Monday to Friday, 9am-12.30pm on Saturdays. Airmail costs 48p/54p for Europe/the rest of the world (larger packages must be weighed and measured). Skype has revolutionised international communication, offering free internet calls where you can speak to and wave at friends and family; download it at www.skype.com. Did you get all that?

8. Don't be a victim

Generally, the UK is a safe and welcoming place for international students. Students can be a target for thieves though, so keep doors and windows locked if you go out; when you do, try to stay in groups and don't leave valuables on display.

You can call the emergency services on 999 free from any phone; for non-emergencies contact your nearest police station (see www.yell.com). Insurance is a good idea; Endsleigh, www.endsleigh.co.uk, specialise in student policies.

9. Get a job

Working part-time is a great way to earn cash and meet people. If you're from a country within the European Economic Area (EEA), you don't need permission to work in the UK. If you're from outside the EEA but on a full-time course of study, you can work up to 20 hours a week in term time and full-time during holidays. (Unless your visa or passport stamp states otherwise). Visit www.workpermits.gov.uk.

10. Move around

Public transport in the UK is generally cheap and well-organised; student cards often get you a discount on buses. If you're in London, an Oyster card is essential (see www.tfl.gov.uk). Black taxis can be hailed in the street; minicabs should be phoned to make sure they're legitimate. For travel around the UK, you can get a third of coach and train tickets with a student pass - see www.nationalexpress.com and www.youngpersons-railcard.co.uk.

For general information and support visit:

The Department for Education and Skills

www.dfes.gov.uk/international-students

The British Council

www.britishcouncil.org

The Council for International Education

www.ukcosa.org.uk

International Student Travel Confederation

www.isic.org

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Marketing & Social Media Executive

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a Marketing Graduate or...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer (Trainee) - City, London

£25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Services Graduate Training Scheme

£20000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a successful and establ...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£20 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer is nee...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future