New international student blog

05 September 2014

Are you an international student getting ready to come to the UK to study?  Don’t panic!  Read this blog instead – it’s full of tips and essential information on packing, your arrival at the airport, and planning your onward journey.

Five packing tips

1. Roll your clothes
If you want to know how many clothes to bring, it’s generally a good idea to lay out everything you think you’ll need, then immediately put half of it back in the wardrobe.  But if you really can’t live without five pairs of jeans, you’ll be amazed how much space you save if you roll your clothes when you pack them.  Or get hold of some space-saving vacuum packing bags.
2. Bring an extension lead
You know to bring an adapter so you can charge your phone, tablet, laptop, camera, and other electricals.  But if you also bring an extension lead you can charge more than one thing at the same time and only use a single power socket.
3. Bring something from home
You’re probably going to be a long way from home but you’ll feel a little closer with a favourite photograph or something to remind you of home on your desk, wall, pinboard, or bookshelf.
4. It’s going to rain
Don’t worry - it doesn’t rain all the time in the UK.  But it will rain at some point so make sure you’re ready for the wet with coats, shoes, and umbrellas.  All available from good retailers near you in the UK, of course.
5. Bring a doorstop
Yes, really – a doorstop.  University of Bradford students recently voted the doorstop the number one item to bring to university. Keep your door open when you’re moving in to meet other students, get chatting and make new friends.

Arrive with your important documents in your hand luggage

When you arrive in the UK, you’ll need certain documents to pass through immigration control.  And you’ll need them to hand - so pack them in your hand luggage.  These are the documents with information on your studies, your finances, your health and where you’re going to stay in the UK.

It’s a great idea to keep electronic copies of important documents on your phone, tablet or laptop but you’re going to need everything on paper when you arrive, so make sure you’ve got all your print-outs and original paper copies.

For more details, read our information on immigration and customs.

And the UK Border Force has produced ’10 Top Tips’ for international student arrivals.

Landing card

One additional piece of paper you’ll need is your Landing Card – you’ll get this on the plane.  You need to fill it in yourself so make sure you’ve got your full UK address with you.  And a pen.  If you’re staying at a temporary address when you arrive, put this address on your Landing Card.

Plan Your Onward Journey

If you plan your onward journey from the airport, you’re much more likely to arrive at your school, college or university feeling happy, relaxed and positive.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Here are some of the things to think about:

  • You've probably received some information on how to get to your school, college or university - make sure you bring it with you (and don't forget to read it!)
  • Your school, college or university may have a transport service to pick you up at the airport - have you booked your place?  Most airport collection services need to be booked in advance.  Is there a luggage limit on the coach picking you up?  Warning: this might be different from your airline's baggage restrictions.
  • If you're not being collected, how will you complete your journey?  By train, Tube (London's underground railway), coach, bus or taxi?  How long should it take?  Have you checked a map to get an idea of the distance? How much should it cost?
  • Do you know exactly where you're going?  Make sure you've got the full address of your final destination in the UK written down.  Have you practised saying strange place names?
  • Are you staying overnight near the airport before completing your journey?  Have you booked your bed for the night?
  • What money will you need?  Cash or travellers' cheques?  Around £250 should cover your immediate expenses for meals and travel costs, etc.  Have you familiarised yourself with UK bank notes and coins?
  • Will you need to make a telephone call when you land?  Do you have the number or numbers?  Will your phone work in the UK?  How much will it cost you if it does?
For more details, read our travel advice.

And finally…

Don’t miss out on two great resources to help you make the most of your studies and keep on top of your finances while you’re in the UK.

Prepare for Success is an interactive learning tool to help you find out about different aspects of academic life in the UK and the skills needed for effective study.  

And the International Student Calculator will help you manage your money and build a budget for living and studying in the UK.