5 things to do before you leave for University

Coming to another country to study can be both an exciting and a daunting prospect.  It might seem like there is an endless list of things to do and think about.  We have put together a list of our top things not to forget to do!

1.  Arrange your Visa – If you are from a country outside the EU and the EEA (excluding Switzerland), you’ll need to apply for a visa to study in the UK.

If you’ll be studying in the UK for less than six months, you’ll need a short-term student visa (but note that with this visa you won’t be able to work in the UK, including work placements as part of your course and part time jobs –  if you need to work, apply for a Tier 4 visa instead).

You can also apply for a short-term student visa if your course is more than six months but no more than 11 months if you’re 16 or over and studying an English language course.

If your course lasts for longer than six months or less than six months but you need to work, you’ll need a Tier 4 (general) student visa.

2. What to pack?

You may not be able to travel home regularly so here is a list of things you should bring from home or order in advance and have delivered to your accommodation.

Travel Documents:

  • Passport
  • Passport size photos
  • CV & References
  • University Documents
  • Exam Certificate
  • Bank Account Details
  • Address Book and email contacts
  • A map of UK/The city you are travelling to
  • Tuberculosis test report (if required)


Its up to you how many clothes you pack but bear in mind that wardrobe space in student accommodation can sometimes be limited  and also the more clothes you bring will increase your baggage weight at the airport.  Also take note of the British weather, it can be wet and windy so bring some warm, waterproof clothes.  It can also be sunny too!

Kitchen Items and Bedding:

If you are in self-catering accommodation you will need some kitchen items.  Many companies sell starter sets of basic kitchen equipment for students and you may be able to order it online and organise for it to be delivered to your accommodation.  Similarly, some university residences will offer deals on bedding which you can order beforehand, and it will be waiting for you in your room when you arrive.


  • Adapters
  • Extension Board
  • Camera
  • Laptop
  • Printer
  • Network cable
  • Rechargeable Batteries

3. Bank Account

You will need to set up bank account in the UK which will make it easier to pay your bills and avoid foreign currency charges. If you can open a bank account from your home country that will save you time as setting up a bank account can be a lengthy process.   Make sure you take some money with you from home to cover the first month of your stay as it can take up to 10 days for your debit card to arrive.  If you’re not happy to bring cash you could bring a pre-paid card with you or travellers cheques. You will need the following documents to set up a bank account in the UK:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid visa – non-EU students
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of your address in the UK and in your home country
  • Proof of student status, you will normally receive this after enrolment at university

4. Mobile phone

Avoid potential huge phone charges from you network provider by switching to a local SIM when you arrive or alternatively buy a cheap pay-as you-go phone when you arrive.

5. Research your destination

Find out a bit about the city where you will be studying before you leave. Try and get a local map and research the local public transport to give yourself a head start in navigating around your new home and this will also help in arranging your transport to the University from the airport.  Your university should offer an orientation programme when you arrive, so attend this if you can as not only will you meet people in the same situation as you but you will also learn something about your new town.  Investigate the Students Union and its societies and be prepared to take the initiative in finding activities which will give you a common interest with UK students and students from other cultures.

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