Tips for International Students

How should you go about preparing for life at university?  This article offers some useful tips for international students on how to prepare for coming to University in the UK.

1. Prepare Academically

There are a variety of routes to University that you can consider to ensure you will be capable of making your course a success once you’re there.  ETC runs four courses that prepare students for academic life at a University in the UK or at an English speaking university overseas.  Do check out our separate pages to ensure you have the necessary academic skills:

University Foundation Programme (Business)


Higher Pre-sessional


Decide what to take to University

As an international student, this is not as simple as packing the car with the entire contents of your bedroom and heading off to University.  Get yourself a checklist and ensure you only bring the essentials.  Find out what is stocked in your halls of residence.  You can buy things like low cost new bedding once you get here, to minimise your packing.

Budget for life at University

Again it’s all about research.  Find out the cost of food in supermarkets and the cost of socialising in your university town or city.  Remember to include rent, bills, food, clothes, socialising and memberships.  Your budget planner needs to be written down.  It’s a great idea to use Excel or other spreadsheet software to keep an electronic record of your intended spending against actual spending.

Before you Travel: Checklist

  1. Make sure your passport is valid and for how long (if necessary apply for a new one)
  2. Obtain any necessary visa or entry clearance for study in the UK.  You can check if you need a visa to study in the UK by checking this Government website.
  3. Apply for accommodation in advance.  International students often prefer to stay in Halls of Residence, as do many first year students from the UK.  Halls offer comfort, reliable management and a built-in social life!
  4. As the time approaches for you to arrive at university, read through all of your University’s information about fresher’s Week or Orientation week so that you can get the most out of meeting people as soon as possible.
  5. Make sure you have the contact details of all your closest family and friends so that you can keep in touch and feel as comfortable as possible when you first arrive by keeping in contact with those you hold closest.
  6. If you are travelling independently to your campus, check all travel plans carefully including times and ensure you have tickets available in a safe place.  Check your luggage allowance for the all-important packing!
  7. Check your insurance: this will include travel insurance and possibly medical insurance.
  8. If you are on any medication or have any medical issues at all, make sure you get a translated letter from your doctor with details of any conditions and medications.
  9. Check with your bank whether you need any approval for exchange control and order enough sterling cash for at least your first week and for your travel to the UK.

We hope that you found this checklist useful and will have a wonderful time wherever you choose to study at University in the UK.