After you have accepted the offer to study at a UK university, you should spend some time preparing for your studies in the UK. Our student-friendly guide provides you with all of the information that you need before you leave home, easing the transition into your new life.
- Obtain your student Visa. If you are an international student, you will have to get a student Visa (T4) as part of your application. It is important to give yourself plenty of time to sort this out. Universities often offer assistance with the visa process, but immigration legislation changes frequently so it is worth referring to the relevant national website for the most updated information to ensure everything goes smoothly.
2. Get insurance and check your health. Travel insurance covers you if anything happens. Before leaving your home country, the UK immigration office requires a health check at several specific hospitals in your home country/ city. During the health check, you can sort out ongoing prescriptions or specific medical requirements with your GP in the UK too – so it is important to leave enough time to arrange the health check before your departure
3. Currency exchange. The local currency in the UK is the pound sterling (£). Prior to leaving your home country, it would be a wise decision to have some local currency in cash with you. There are many exchange rate comparison websites available from which you can choose the best value for money. There are also plenty of different places you can exchange your money at such as banks, airport and hotels. If you prefer to change your currency at the bank, it is important to call them in advance, tell them the amount of money you want to exchange and reserve a specific time for an appointment.
4. Plan and budget your trip. International flight tickets can be expensive. Planning your trip in advance will usually allow you to get plane tickets at a lower fare. Also, consider purchasing bus passes or railcards to travel from the airport to your accommodation. Some universities offer an airport pick-up service that you can arrange by contacting the university in advance.
5. Arrange accommodation. Most freshers choose to stay within campus or other university accommodations during the first year as they are great places to get to know a lot of people and make new friends. Most universities open the accommodation application at the beginning of April (after you get the conditional offer), and there will be many deadlines. It is worth checking any updates on the university website or contact the friendly accommodation team if you have any questions. If you choose to stay outside campus, you have the option of renting an apartment or a shared house. It is very important that you secure your accommodation as soon as you can. That way you will make sure that you have a place to stay once you arrive!
6. Check Term date. Visit your university’s website or check your university email account regularly for any updates or changes to your academic calendar. Knowing exactly when your semester starts and finishes will allow you to plan your trips back home and your holidays.
7. Prepare appropriate clothing and find out the baggage allowance. The UK is well-known for its unpredictable weather. It can quickly change from rainy and windy to warm and sunny, so you want to make sure that you bring a good coat with you but also some t-shirts. Make sure you avoid last-minute issues by checking your plane baggage allowance before you start packing.
8. Check the electronics. The UK electricity supply works on 240 volts / 50 hertz. You should check if any of your personal electrical items could be safely used on this voltage. If you need a power adapter, you can always buy it from the airport or any local shops before arriving to the UK.
9. Check the dates for your fresher’s week. These events take place right before the start of the academic year and are organised by universities. This is a great opportunity to get to know other international and local students and to find out about the many student societies your university has.
10. Be excited. Studying abroad could be a challenging adventure. You will become independent and create memories that will last forever. Becoming an international student is a life-changing experience and you want to make sure that you live it to the fullest!