Welcome to London! You are finally here. In all the excitement, it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed when you actually arrive. Luckily, you will meet many people at your university offering help and information.
There are a few things you will need to do and organise when you arrive. Use this checklist to help you through your first weeks at university.
- Enrol with your university
Amid all the excitement, don’t forget to register with your university when you first arrive. Your university will give you a specific date and time to attend the registration event and enrol onto your course. At registration, they will take a copy of your passport and visa, confirm your enrolment and give you a library card.
Once you are enrolled, you can request a letter from student services confirming your status as a student and your address, which you can use to open a bank account in the UK.
- Meet the International office and attend the student orientation
If you have signed up to a welcome/orientation event for new international students, this will be a great way to find out all the information you need to start your student journey. However, if you are not attending such an event, go and say hello to the international office at your university. They will be happy to meet you and provide you with useful information about your university, campus and neighbourhood.
- Open a bank account
Some banks let you open a UK bank account before you arrive in the country. However, if you can’t do that, you will be able to open a bank account in the UK as soon as you have enrolled on your course.
You should also make sure you have enough money while you wait for the account to be opened, as this is can take up to two weeks. For more information of what documents will be required, read more about opening a UK bank account.
- Register with a doctor
If you are an international students on a Tier 4 visa, you have paid the ‘Health Surcharge’ which entitles you to access the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. When you arrive at university, you can register with a local doctor. Many universities have a health centre on campus or can recommend a nearby doctors’ surgery. Sign-up as soon as you can in case you get ill at any time during your studies.
Students from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK to ensure they can access NHS services for free. If you do not have a valid EHIC you may have to pay for your treatment. Alternatively, you can arrange for private comprehensive sickness insurance.
- Get an Oyster card & apply for your TfL student discount
An Oyster card is an electronic ticket which makes it easy to get on any train, tube and bus in London. International students in London can save up to 30 per cent on travel in London. You can find out more at Transport for London.
London is a very welcoming student city and you will soon feel at home here. When you are not studying, make sure you visit all the great sights in London, explore London’s many diverse boroughs, and make the most of London as the gateway to the rest of the UK and Europe.