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8 Tips for international students moving to the UK

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If you’re an international student moving to Nottingham in the UK to study, you’re probably feeling excited, nervous and everything in between.

Not only are you getting ready to further your education, but you’ll be doing it in a completely new country that you’ll need to become familiar with; there’s a lot of things to consider in preparation for arriving in the UK.

But don’t panic, we’ve gathered a short list of some of the top things you need to consider prior to moving and for when you arrive in the UK…

1. Pack appropriate clothing

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If you hadn’t already heard, the UK is known for being wet and can also get quite cold at times! And when university starts in September, it will be autumn, which then moves into winter. So, it’s probably a good idea to pack suitable winter clothing such as a raincoat, jumpers, hat, scarf and gloves.

Though, the UK has great shops to buy new items so if you don’t want to pack everything or don’t have room in your bags, you can purchase clothes while you’re here.

2. Check for any baggage restrictions

When packing your bags, you should bear in mind the number of bags you are permitted to check-in and the weight allowance of your baggage when travelling to the UK. The last thing you want is to be stung with an additional baggage charge when you arrive at the airport.

There will also be restrictions on the types of items and quantities (e.g. 100ml liquids) that you can carry in your hand luggage. Double check the guidelines of the airline you are flying with for more information on baggage allowances and restricted items prior to travelling to prevent any problems.

3. Set up a UK bank account

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If you’re staying in the UK for more than a few months, you should consider setting up a UK bank account. Having a UK bank account will make it easier for you to pay any bills, help keep your money safe and you will avoid having to pay foreign currency charges.

There are lots of banks in the UK that you can open an account with including HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Santander, Halifax and Barclays. To open an account, you will need appropriate identification and documentation. Click here for more information about UK bank accounts.

4. Register with a local doctor

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When you arrive in the UK, you should register with a doctor at a surgery or health centre in the local area as soon as possible. The local doctor – also known as a ‘GP’ (General Practitioner), will be your first point of contact if you are ill and require medical treatment.

You shouldn’t wait until you are unwell or require medication to register as you may find yourself in a situation where you have to wait weeks rather than days to be seen. Similarly, you should register with a local dental practice as soon as possible.

5. Stay connected

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When you arrive in the UK, you’ll probably want to let your family and friends know you have arrived safely. But will your mobile phone work? If you have a mobile phone, then yes, it is likely it will still work in the UK. However, if you use your current international mobile service provider in the UK, there will be extremely high call and message charges when contacting home and even ringing local numbers.

So, if you’re staying in the UK for a while, you should purchase a UK SIM for day-to-day use. You can register for a Pay As You Go (PAYG) SIM card which means you have to top up the phone when your credit runs out. Or you can sign up for a monthly contract and pay a set amount each month and enjoy the benefits of inclusive minutes, messages and mobile date.

If you want to make an international call when you are in the UK, it is likely to be cheaper to use a provider such as LycaMobile or RebTel as they offer low-cost international calls.

And don’t forget if you’re staying with us at Lace Market Studios, we provide free internet and Wi-Fi in all bedrooms and throughout the building, so you can make free calls and video calls via apps such as Skype, Whatsapp and FaceTime.

6. Find your way around the city

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Travelling in a new country can be daunting. But the UK is well connected and offers various forms of transport, which makes getting about quick and easy.

For shorter journeys in Nottingham, you can travel by road in a taxi. Taxis are a convenient way to get from A to B, such as from the train station to your accommodation or back to your accommodation after a night out. You can order a taxi in Nottingham from your phone using the Uber app.

Travelling by bus is often one of the cheapest ways to travel around the local area. You’ll find bus stops located in various places around the city centre, with universities having dedicated bus stops and bus services running to the campuses.

In Nottingham there’s also a tram service operating in the city. The trams run along tracks right through the streets of the city, stopping at specific stops along the lines.

7. Stock up on the essentials

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In Nottingham, there are a variety of supermarkets to shop in – with many being open 24/7. Some of the main UK supermarket chains include Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s Aldi, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose.

You’ll also find that these chains have smaller, more convenient express stores which offer extended opening hours and can be found on high streets and in smaller districts of the city.

Many of the large supermarkets have aisles dedicated to international cuisine, where you can find foods and ingredients that you are familiar with back home.

But if you’re new to the UK and want to try something new, some traditional British dishes include fish and chips, sausages and mash, a full English breakfast, a Sunday roast and afternoon tea.

8. Find a place to live

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If you’re moving to the UK, you’re going to need somewhere to live whilst you study. There are many options available to students including living in private student accommodation such as Lace Market Studios.

Our luxury student accommodation is hassle-free and all-inclusive so you haven’t got to worry about paying any bills – it’s all included in your rent. We have a variety of studios to choose from, all of which come fully equipped with everything you need to make yourself at home as a student, including an en-suite bathroom, private kitchen area and dedicated study space.

Take a look at our room types or contact us on +44(0)1158 240 590 or at lacemarketstudios@host-students.com for more information about our student accommodation.

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