International student: What do I do now?

Essential advice on your new life as a student in the UK

What documents will I need when I arrive?

First up, your passport. It’s best to make sure that this is valid for the duration of your stay in the UK, avoiding the cost and difficulties of transferring your visa to a new passport later down the line. You may also need to show the acceptance letter from your place of study, as well as proof of your own funds (or that of a sponsor) to pay your way, such as your last three bank statements. Be sure to carry all your documentation in your hand luggage – where it is easy to get at – and take a few photocopies of all important papers, just in case.



Are there any other immigration requirements?

Some students will have to provide health records as they enter the UK, especially for those coming from countries where there is compulsory screening for tuberculosis (TB); take a look at the UK Border Agency website (see Web watch box) to find out where this applies. Others may have to register with the police within seven days of their arrival; this will be indicated on your visa. If you need to register, your university can direct you to the right police station.



Where do I go when I first arrive?

Before jumping in the first taxi you see, find out what transport arrangements your university has running to get you to campus. Many have welcoming parties to meet international students at major airports and can direct you from there.



What about health services?

Students staying longer than six months are entitled to free health care from the National Health Service (NHS).You will simply need to register with the local doctor, or check if there are health centres on campus; your university can point these out. Remember to also bring any prescriptions you will need or details of any ongoing medical conditions. If you are staying for less than six months, you will not be automatically entitled to NHS services. In this case, it is essential to get appropriate medical insurance to cover the costs of any treatment.



Am I allowed to work while I study?

The majority of international students can work for up to 20 hours a week while studying, except for those whose passport sticker clearly state: “No work”. If this is the case for you, getting a job is against your immigration status and is illegal. You can apply to change your conditions, though this will cost you money. Speak to the international adviser at your university to see how much and what it entails.

If you do plan to work, nearly all universities have career services which can offer you employment advice and some can match you up with local jobs. But remember that you cannot use this extra income as proof that you are able to pay for your studies. The only exception is if you have a work placement lined up as part of a sandwich course or have a proven offer of work within the publicly funded institution you are at.



What other money matters should I think about?

“Many fail to anticipate the full cost of their studies,” says Dominic Scott of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). “International students - always know the cost of fees. What they don’t know so much about is all the extra costs, from library fees to transport to gym membership. These can mount up quite considerably.” However, help is at hand in the form of the international student calculator. This balances your budget by looking at what money you have and what your living costs are likely to be.

Where can I get more advice?

The international student advice office at your university will serve as your key point of contact when you arrive, so keep their details to hand. They can answer individual queries, often by phone as well as online, and will continue to offer support throughout the year. As Karen Griffith, international student adviser at Leeds Metropolitan University says, “Don’t panic. If you don’t remember everything at the beginning, just remember the person or department you can go to for help. You are not on your own and you don’t have to memorise every single thing.That’s what the university support services are there for.”



Will I need to adjust to life and study in the UK?

“Higher education in the UK can be completely different to what you may have done in your own country,” explains Scott. “You may have to put quite a lot effort into adjusting to UK learning styles.” Universities are aware of a possible culture shock, which is why many provide orientation days for international students. In addition, the Prepare for Success website allows you to get a taste of learning methods and explores the cultural challenges others have faced.



Web watch

UK Council for International Student Affairs



International student calculator



Prepare for Success



UK Border Agency



British Council offices

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

Year 1 Teacher

£12 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education require a year ...

Primary Teacher - Hull

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Are you a flexible and inspiratio...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried