When you are planning for your life in the UK we are sure that you will be thinking about all of the exciting things that you will be experiencing during your time here. But don’t forget the important (but boring) things that you will need to sort out in your first week.
Below we have listed 5 things that you might want to consider.
Register with a GP
Anyone who comes to the UK to pursue a full time course of study of more than 6 months in duration will be entitled to register with the National Health Service (NHS). We recommend that you register with a family doctor (also known as General Practitioner or GP) as soon as possible.
The best way to do this is to search online for the nearest GP practice to where you live and go there to complete a registration form. The GP is there to help you with everything health related, except for dental problems.
You don’t have to register with a dentist in the same way as you do with a GP. You can find one that is convenient to your accommodation but remember to check their charges as most will be private practices rather than NHS dentists.
And, whilst you are registering for things, remember that if you are an international student you will need to register with the police once you have arrived in the UK.
Pick up your student ID card
You probably have already received an email from your University asking you to upload a photograph to be used in the production of your student ID. If you haven’t, it means that they will take a photo of you when you go there to enrol.
Either option, you should collect your ID card in the first week as this will be your library card, the door access control card and student ID and has to be carried on campus at all times.
Open a bank account
Opening a UK bank account should also be one of your top priorities. You will need to book an appointment with a bank as soon as you get here. However, it can still take weeks to get your bank account opened and you need to be prepared for this delay and plan to cover your access to funds during this time.
You could consider some new services that offer you the opportunity to open a standard e-Current account with a Visa Debit Card and integrated foreign exchange service before you leave home. This means that you arrive in the UK with all of your finances sorted and a Visa Debit Card that gives you immediate access to cash through any cash machine in the UK (ATM).
One example would be the Aspire Account which is exclusively for international students (http://www.unizest.co.uk/). These accounts can be opened very quickly online as long as you have all of the required documentation ready.
Buy bedding and kitchenware – Household stuff
If you have already booked your student accommodation in the UK and you expect the room to look like the first picture, you should check with your accommodation provider to see what is actually included in the price and what isn’t. You don’t want to arrive in the UK on a Sunday evening, when all the stores are closed, and find out that your room looks like the one in the second picture.
If they don’t provide any essentials, then you will need to purchase them. You could buy home accessories and appliances from IKEA. However, if you prefer high-quality items, there are stores such as John Lewis or Debenhams to fulfil your needs.
Another innovative option that exists for students coming to the UK is Click2Campus, a company that delivers packs containing basic home comforts, such as bed linen and cutlery, to your room even before you get there.
Get a travel card
Most of the cities in the UK will have good public transport systems, including a combination of bus, train, tram and metro. Your University will no doubt have some useful advice about student travel options in your chosen city.
If you are going to live in London, then an Oyster card is a good option. You can top it up and pay as you go, or purchase weekly or monthly travel cards depending on the zone you live in. You can apply for an oyster card through Transport For London here – Oyster Card
In addition, you can use Contactless Cards on all of London Transport services just like an oyster card. So accounts like the Aspire account for international students that have a Contactless Visa Debit Card can also meet your transport needs in