International students

Starting uni is a big change already, but when you throw in moving to a new country as well it can be a little daunting! Here’s a few tips to make the transition easier.

What do I need to bring?

Most people end up bringing more stuff than they will ever need but it is important for us international students to pack efficiently so here are a few pointers:

  • It is unnecessary to bring household items (cutlery, towels etc..), as they can be bought in Cambridge either from Sainsbury’s (cheap student budget) or from John Lewis (more expensive but better quality). PROTIP: get your towels from John Lewis.
  • If you do want to bring everything that you have ever owned, consider shipping (rather than flying) it over using any one of these websites: sendmybag.comshipit.comexcessluggage.com or voovit.com.
  • Remember that you have to move out of your room every holiday, but as an international student you can store some boxes in the storage space provided. Bear in mind that space is still limited.
  • If you have any plug adapters at home, don’t forget them!
  • The Freshers’ Pack may also have some other tips for useful things to bring.

How do I get a UK phone/SIM card?

There are many operators and plans available so I would recommend checking them out online before getting here. The main operators are T-Mobile, Orange, Vodafone, O2 and Giffgaff. My personal preference is the Giffgaff monthly contacts: every month (depending on what mood you’re in or how much money you have) you can pick a different contract.

How do I set up a UK bank account?

Make sure you set up an account as soon as you arrive as sometimes it can take some time to be processed. You will need your passport and a letter from college (addressed to the bank) confirming your course and address details. You can get this letter in the tutorial office (bottom of B staircase). The main banks with offices in Cambridge are Santander, Barclays, NatWest, HSBC and Lloyds TSB. My personal preference is Santander’s international student account.

Do I need to register with the police?

There’s a handy leaflet that should help you decide.