Arriving in the UK as an International Student

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Student in the international airport terminal

You have done the hard part and successfully been accepted on to a course at a UK university. Now all that is left to do is say your goodbyes and begin an exciting new chapter of your life by travelling to study in the UK.

This new journey can seem challenging though, with many new experiences and social norms to adapt to. Luckily, UK universities make life for new international students as comfortable as possible during the first few weeks and there are things you can do to help the settling in period go as smoothly as possible.

Your First Week in the UK
Landing and getting to the university

Many universities offer free meet-and-greet taxi services for international student arrivals at the nearest airport. This will help take the stress out of your arrival and ensure you reach your new home with the minimum of stress.

Get to know the arrival team

Each university will have student ambassadors from all over the world who can help you settle into your new home. They can inform you about upcoming events, guide you around the campus and answer questions on anything university related.

Welcome week events

Freshers Week at UK universities is a huge event and a great chance for you to meet new people and get to know your new surroundings. Trips to areas of local interest, welcome lectures and evenings out will all be part of your schedule so make the most of this free social time before studying begins.

Healthcare in the UK

Healthcare in the UK is free via the NHS, but you must register with a doctor at your earliest convenience. Each university will have a campus doctor who you can visit for all healthcare related issues.

Opening a bank account

All UK universities advise you open a UK banking account and do not bank remotely from your home region. These are simple to set up and the university will be able to assist with any questions you may have. Learn what you need to know about opening a student bank account.

Checking your Tier 4 visa status

Most international students studying in the UK will be there on a Tier 4 Student Visa. There are numerous conditions to follow to ensure your immigration status is secured, and it is crucial you follow them.

If you are unsure about what you can and cannot do with your visa, each university has a dedicated team who can help with any enquiries regarding your current status and topics such as working rights.

National insurance details and working in the UK

If you wish to work whilst in the UK, it is crucially important that you do not break the rules stated on your visa for working hours. You will also need a National Insurance Number, which the visa team can assist you with. If you’re from a non-EU country, you’ll be able to work up to 20 hours per week while studying, and full-time during the holidays, as well as before and after your course starts. If you’re coming from an EU country, you are free to work as many hours as you wish and can continue working as long as you’d like after graduation

Figure out public transport

Getting to grips with the public transport system when you first land in the UK. All cities will have a local bus service which is often the most convenient way of travelling around a city. Bigger cities might also have a subway system, like the Tube in London or the Metro in Newcastle, and a yearly pass can keep costs down. For travel in London specifically, take a look at the Oyster card. You’ll probably want to visit a few different cities and sights while you’re in the UK. Your two main options are to use coach or train. Trains are often the quickest and most comfortable. You’ll probably also want to invest in a 16–25 Railcard or a 26–30 Railcard, which will save you a third on all rail fares! Travelling by plane is also an option for longer distances.

Study in the UK

If you have any questions or concerns about what it is like to study in the UK, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.


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