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Arriving at university in the UK: get up to speed before arriving

30th August 2017 Posted by: Sarah Starling - Editor

Arriving at university in a new and unfamiliar country can feel a bit daunting. Researching your new home can help you feel more comfortable, but with so many things to find out, where should you start? We’ve put together some tips to get you started.

The weather

Depending on where you’re from, you may or may not be familiar with the type of weather in the UK. Within the UK the weather can vary quite a lot. As a general rule, the further north you go, the colder it is. Wherever you’ll be living, a raincoat is a must! If you start your journey in a hot country, make sure you have some warm layers to put on when you arrive. 

Student World Online | UK umbrellas


Cards are widely accepted in the UK and the majority of vendors have contactless payment. It will be useful to have a small amount of cash when you arrive, for things like snacks and bus fares, see below. 

Getting around

Make a plan for when you get off the train or aeroplane. How will you get to your destination? Knowing in advance will save you stress, and you may be able to pre-book some elements of your journey.

Find out about the public transport in your area. Who are the operators, and what sort of vehicles do they have? Depending on the area, you will have the choice of buses, trains, the underground, trams and even boats. Google Maps will help you plan a route using all the available transport options. Find out if the operator has ticketing app or if you will need cash. Ticketing apps mean you don’t have to worry about coins, and often give a discount. If you aren’t sure, have money for the bus in coins. Some operators give change and some don’t, so be prepared. Fares are typically less than £5 so if you have some pound coins and some silver coins (smaller denominations), you should be fine. You may be asked if you want a ‘single or return’. Single means travelling one way and not returning. A return means that you will come back to your starting place, usually on the same day.

Some locations in the UK have bikes that you can hire via an app then pick up and drop off around the city.

Student World Online | Sheffield Tram

Your daily commute

Is your accommodation or house in the centre of town? If not, find out how to get there. Can you walk or will you need to get public transport?

If you’re not living on campus, find out how to get to your uni site. There may be special buses just for students, or which may only run during term time. Your university’s website should have this information.

When you arrive on campus, there will be lots of people around to help you, but you might want to find out the location of the accommodation office, the library, the students union etc.

Student World Online | Students on campus

Amenities and hobbies

As well as taking up new hobbies, you may want to continue your current ones. What amenities does your campus/town/city have? Will you need to travel to access things? For example, if you’re into running; where is your nearest track or park? Or if you like to swim, is there a pool on campus? Have a think about whether you’d like to join a non-uni club such as book club, running club or craft group; find out if there’s a local one you can join. Connecting with groups on social media in advance of arriving can help you feel more confident and settled.

Student World Online | Running Club

Starting university is a big adventure, whatever stage of life you are at, and wherever you are in your academic career. Make sure you make the best start by being prepared and go into the experience full of excitement.

If you have any tops tips that you'd like to share, get in touch via the social media links below. 




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