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Top 10 things 10 to do as international student when you first land the UK

Image by Ana Blumenkron Zertuche
  • Written byCareers and Employability
  • Published date 21 September 2022
Image by Ana Blumenkron Zertuche
Image by Ana Blumenkron Zertuche

As an international student, it can be both excited and overwhelming when you first come to a new country to start your course. Your to-do list will be double that of a home student with plenty of forms to fill in and tasks to be done. We’ve broken it down in this step-by-step guide to help you prioritize the top 10 things you should do once you have landed in the UK.

1. Accommodation check-in 

There are generally three types of accommodation in the UK: university halls of residence, commercial student flats, private landlords. For any of them, you will need to check in when you arrive. It is important to check the inventory of your flat or house carefully. If you find any damage or discrepancies, take photos, and communicate with the landlord immediately.

If you need any help with accommodation, UAL’s Accommodation Services team can give you practical advice.

2. Collect your BRP

BRP is the abbreviation of Biometric Residence Permit which contains your fingerprints and photo biometric information, in short, it is your ID card in the UK. You can’t open a bank account, stay in hotels, or go to bars, etc. without it. Make sure to give it priority when you land in the UK. You should bring your passport and BRP collection letter when you to go to the Post Office to collect it.

3. Register with your university

UAL will send a registration guideline email to you. Please ensure that you bring all the documents required by the school to the pointed location for registration. You will then receive your student card, which is your future passport to the school.

4. Register with the Police 

You can check with your entry visa vignette to see if you need to register with the police on your arrival in the UK or check on the Registering as an overseas visitor website. If you need to register, you will need to make an appointment online in advance and you will be given a police registration certificate once you have completed your registration. Keep it safe! You will need this form to change your visa, move house or update your information.

5. Register with a GP 

GP is a general practitioner, the first doctor you will see in the UK for any issues. You are entitled to free treatment from the National Health Service (NHS) if your higher studies in UK last six months or more. If you fall ill in the UK, the first thing you should do is to go to your local GP rather than going straight to the hospital. Only if it is serious will you be allocated a hospital. To register with a GP, you can search the find a GP website and put in your postcode to find the closest one to your home. Then simply take your passport, letter of enrolment, and proof of address to register.

6. New SIM card

We can’t live without a phone, so getting a new SIM card to ensure your phone is online is super important. This blog guides you on the Best SIM-only deals in 2022. You can buy them from the supermarket or the provders official website.

7.Open a bank account

Opening a bank account within the first week of your arrival can help your payments in the UK go smoothly. To open a bank account, you need provide your passport, stay permit, student status letter, and proof of address. You can choose digital banks like StarlingMonzoRevolut, and Chase UK or offline banks like HSBC, Lloyds, and NatWest. It can take up to 5 working days to open a bank account.

8.Transport card

Using an Oyster travel smartcard is the easiest way to get around on the public transport network in London. You can get an Oyster card from the TFL Visitor Centers, transport stations, and any Oyster ticket stops. If you are between 16- 25 years old, you can buy a 16-25 Railcard to connect with your Oyster card, it will give you 1/3 off train tickets for both tube and train.

9.Explore around your school 

Congratulations! You have almost done every essential thing to live in London. Now it’s time to explore your school, your living place and make some new friends! The UAL prepare the Big Welcome every year, use this website as your start point to find out fun and useful activities going on around campus.

10.Find art in London 

London is a city that blends art into people’s daily life and implements the concept of ‘Arts Everyone, Stage Everywhere’, please take advantage of that and begin your art journey in London. The Art Fund and the West-End London will give you lots of information about where to find art.

Finally, if you’re hoping to make money while you study, don’t miss Careers and Employability’s talk for the Big Welcome:

Skint? Make money doing what you love as a student

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