UK is an incredible mix of international cultures and contemporary thinking, held together by a strong sense of identity and tradition. As an international student, you’ll find an array of exciting experiences ahead of you and will have the opportunity to discover exotic places and meet new people. As the UK is a cosmopolitan city, you’ll find that many UK customs are already familiar to you and so you’ll settle down faster than you think.
The British Climate is unpredictable and it can be very wet and cold for much of the year. You will therefore need to ensure that you have adequate clothing: a warm coat or jacket which is weatherproof, T-shirts or shirts to be worn under warm jumpers, trousers or jeans, warm socks, strong shoes and an umbrella.
By international standards the UK is a safe country, with low levels of violence and street crime. The British Council, the Home Office and the police are working together to make all students less vulnerable to crime while they are studying at school, college or university in the UK and have prepared a guide called Comfort Zone for international students coming to the UK, containing useful advice and information on personal safety.
There are two types of public telephones, one where you put money in and the other where you can use a telephone card. You can buy telephone cards in many shops, at the post office and at the Students’ Union shop on campus.
There are two different rates, one, which is full rate, and one which is “off-peak”. It would probably be advisable to make international calls during off-peak times (usually after 6pm and on weekends), as this will be cheaper. You can check charges with the international operator by dialling 155 before you call.
International Telephone Discount Cards are also widely available, and it’s a good idea to talk to other students to find out which ones they use.
Many students find mobile phones a convenient way of keeping in touch with family and friends. There are many different companies offering a wide variety of deals, so you will need to shop around.
In order to buy a mobile you will need documents to show that you are a student at the University plus proof of your local address.
One of the important things that a student arriving in the United Kingdom will have to consider is accommodation. Finding suitable accommodation is not always easy and students should try and ensure that they have arranged accommodation before coming to UK, even if only temporary. This is of great importance for students with families as they may encounter some difficulty finding suitable accommodation.
Students looking for accommodation have a choice of three options depending on their circumstances and needs.
Student accommodation offered by the college/university, usually in traditional halls of residence with shared facilities and catering provided, or increasingly, in self-catering halls or flats where students can prepare and cook. Majority of first year students choose to live in this type of accommodation which is mainly suitable for single students.
Student Accommodation offered by Independent hostels, usually in single or shared rooms, some provide meals, often at subsidized rates while others provide kitchen facilities for self catering. Electricity, gas and water usage are generally included in the overall cost. In most cases a small furnished bedroom is provided with access to shared laundry, bathroom, lounge and other facilities.
A Hostels that cater for students can be fully booked by the beginning of the academic year so it is important to make enquires before your arrival. Hostels are suitable for single students who are lonely and would like to meet other students in a similar situation. If you decide on hostel accommodation, look at two or three different ones and compare them before making a decision.
Private rented accommodation is suitable for any type of student, many second and third year students prefer to live more independently in a self contained flat or house , which is usually shared with a group of friends. This type of accommodation can be in a lodging (renting a room from a landlord/lady and sharing facilities with them and their family, including eating) in the case of single student or a bed sit (renting a room in a house and sharing basic facilities with other tenants) or sharing with other students/friends in a property.