Anne-Sophie at UEA

An International Student of Literature in England.

Moving to University in the UK

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So we are now well into the summer and you are probably starting to think more and more about your move to university. In about a month, you’ll be flying to the UK, leaving your family, your friends and probably everything you know. I know how exciting and yet stressful planning everything can be, but do not worry: it is an amazing opportunity and life-changing experience you won’t regret!

I was in your shoes two years ago. I was getting so excited to finally discover the university I’d been thinking and talking about for months! I didn’t get the chance to visit UEA before and I’d only found few photos and videos of the uni online. It’s not like France is far from England, like I’d never been to England, or like I was moving into a very different culture, but I remember feeling like I was going on a crazy adventure and doing something amazing. I was leaving home, I was going to be (more or less) independent!

Preparing things from a distance isn’t always easy so here are the most important things you need to know:

1 – Packing

Packing can be a pain, especially when you’re going away for months but remember that there are shops in the UK! If you’re worried about spending too much,Primark offers very good prices on clothes and you can get so many different things (from kitchen stuff to toiletries) for £1 in Poundland!

So as a general rule I’d say don’t bring too many things with you! You don’t even need your entire wardrobe: what’s really important is to have warm clothes, a good coat, gloves, good shoes and an umbrella because it’s always raining. It’s also really important to bring items that can help you feel at home like posters, photographs or soft toys!

2 – Arriving

This point seems quite obvious but make sure you know how you’re going to get to your university and when you need to arrive. UEA organises a free shuttle from Norwich airport and also offers a coach service from Heathrow airport. I’m glad I used their service because it helped so much to meet international students who were in the same situation and who were as lost as I was after I landed. Moreover, they took us directly to the university and showed us where to go to get accommodation keys, etc. Alternatively, if you don’t have the choice or feel a bit more adventurous, you can use the National Express coach service or take the train!

3 – Accommodation

I hope that if you’ve already booked your plane tickets, you know where you’re going to live! If you’re going to stay in university accommodation, you might not have much information about what’s provided in flats and it might also depend on your residence. At UEA, you’ll need to bring your own bedding, clothes hangers and desk lamp. There is a desk chair (a terrible one) and your flat should have a kettle but it may be disgusting.

I don’t know how I would have survived the first days if I hadn’t discovered the website UniKitOut! Basically, you can order lots of things such as bedding, pillows, duvet, hangers, and kitchen stuff and everything is delivered directly to your room the day you arrive! It is particularly convenient at UEA since mail isn’t delivered in your accommodation. Although UniKitOut isn’t cheap and the quality of their bedding isn’t amazing, it helped me so much. I’d recommend to only buy bedding there, and to get everything else in the city centre or online for less money!

UEA also organises a Pots and Pans sale during Arrival Weekend and Freshers’ Week so you can get lots of very cheap second-hand things. Otherwise, the last option is to do an Asda order: things will be delivered outside your residence (another thing I didn’t know before I arrived).

4 – Banks

Having a bank account was one of the most stressful things for me, especially since I didn’t really know the banks that existed in the UK and I couldn’t find much information on their websites. But again, there was no need to worry so much because it is very simple! All you really need to do is to pick a bank (I don’t think it makes a big difference which), go and say you want to open an account, give them your passport and a proof of residence in the UK and you’re done! I chose Barclays because there’s a branch on campus.

If you’re a European student, it’s worth checking with your home bank if you can get some kind of convention which offers less taxes when transferring money abroad, to your account in the UK.

5 – Food and shopping

Another tricky thing when you don’t know the place where you’ve just arrived! I hope it’ll be helpful if I just make a list of the biggest shops in the UK that you can find in every city so you can look it up on Google Maps: Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Aldi…

Aldi is known for being super cheap, but Tesco and Asda do home delivery which can be really convenient at the start when you need to buy EVERYTHING!

6 – Phone

If you’re a 21st century kid, chances are you’ll want and need a mobile! There are many different operators offering similar deals with brand new mobiles. WhatI do and recommend is to use the phone you already have (as long as it’s not SIM-locked) and to get a pay-as-you-go deal (Giff Gaff is the cheapest – you can order a SIM card online), especially if you’re going home during term holidays and in summer.

7 – Your course

It’s good to be familiar with your course structure before term starts but you don’t always get much information before Freshers’ Week. In any case, you will know everything you need to know during the first week – so again, don’t worry! Make sure to check your university mailbox and to go to course-related events. And don’t buy books before you’re actually told to buy them! The reading lists you may find online haven’t always been updated. 

8 – Go to events

I can’t stress enough the importance of feeling comfortable at university and to go to events so you can meet people! They might not become your best friends, you might never see them again, but you don’t want to feel lonely in a country you don’t know. So if I had ONE tip for you, it would be: go out, overcome your shyness, talk to people, have fun! Everybody’s really friendly, plus remember that we’re all in the same situation at first! 🙂 People don’t bite, usually.

9 – Healthcare

Healthcare is super super important and you’re allowed to (and MUST) register with the NHS if you’re going to university for more than 6 months! Do it as soon as possible so it’s out of the way and we never know what might happen. There is a medical centre at UEA where you can register and get doctor appointments. Make sure to print and fill out the necessary documents that can be found online beforehand.

If you’re an EU student, it’s worth asking for a European healthcare card! Better safe than sorry…

10 – Final tips

Make sure you’ve got your Student Finance loan covered and that they have all the documents they need; join clubs and societies; bring adaptors for UK plugs; and leave home with a lot of cash in Pound and a bank card because that’s all you’ll have until you’ve opened your new bank account and received money on it!

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I hope this was helpful! 🙂 Do not hesitate to comment below if there is anything else you’d like to ask, and thanks for visiting my blog!

 

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14 comments on “Moving to University in the UK

  1. elandamaria Skins
    3 August, 2016

    Do you recommend having all your stuff on the day you arrive or getting some of the things you are missing out on in the next few days after your arrival?

    Like

    • Anne-Sophie
      3 August, 2016

      Do you mean ordering things to be delivered on the day you arrive, or bring things with you? I’d recommend bringing as little as possible with you! So yeah, buying things after you arrive is probably the best option 🙂

      Like

  2. Margaret Banks
    2 August, 2016

    Great advice for new international students. I am an American who attended Graduate School at UEA. I didn’t live on campus, but I still made plenty of friends. Just grab someone you like and go get tea together at the cafe! Before you know it you’ll have several people around the table enjoying a great talk. Don’t worry. Don’t stress. Just go with a yearning for a new adventure. I’m still friends with several fellow students. Facebook makes it so easy to stay in touch! Have fun! UEA is the BEST!!

    Like

  3. Hiram
    2 August, 2016

    Got to Wilko for all your bedding/kitchen stuff, they have everything and it’s cheap!

    Like

    • Anne-Sophie
      2 August, 2016

      Thanks for the tip man, but then the problem is how do you carry all this back to your room on your own?

      Like

  4. Arty
    2 August, 2016

    Great article with very reasonable advises, especially about going to events 😀
    The only downside, the red font is kinda hard to read.

    Like

    • Anne-Sophie
      2 August, 2016

      Hey! Thanks 🙂 You’re the second person telling me about the colour so I guess it’s time for me to change it although it never bothered me. Any suggestion?

      Like

  5. Fred
    29 July, 2016

    Le campus et l’environnement de UEA est parfait, superbe et très accueillant 😁 Pas d’inquiétude.

    Like

  6. Ravenclaw Book Club
    29 July, 2016

    I’m so happy I found your blog! We are in such a similar situation it’s actually kind of weird – I’m from Spain and moving to UEA this September to study English Literature as well!
    I’m flying to London so I’ll just take the train to uni. I was lucky enough to visit the campus with my dad in February, so I already know how to get there and where everything is, which is convenient. 😃

    It definitely makes me happy to know that you love the university so much. I’m super awkward around strangers and I don’t drink, so I’m pretty sure it will take me forever to get to know people, but the most important thing to me is that I’ll enjoy my course. The modules sound fantastic.

    Would you say there are a lot of international students in English Lit? I feel like most of the literature students are from the UK. 😃

    Like

    • Anne-Sophie
      29 July, 2016

      Hey! Thanks for visiting my blog and all the comments and likes, it means a lot 🙂
      It’s really cool that you got to visit UEA, it must be so reassuring! I don’t drink either, don’t party and I can be quite introverted but trust me — you can still meet tons of people at different events, societies, in seminars, but most importantly in accommodation! That’s how I made all my friends in first year. Will you be staying in halls?
      I don’t think there are many international students doing English Lit but we are a few! Most of the international students I’ve had in seminars were American exchange students though. It makes me feel kinda special haha 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ravenclaw Book Club
        29 July, 2016

        Oh that’s lovely to hear! I feel like I’ll be the only person who doesn’t drink or go out much haha.
        Yes, I’ll be in the Ziggurats. 😃 How do you do that tho? Do you just walk into the kitchen and say hi?
        It makes sense – I think most international students go abroad to study business or something important like that. 😀

        Like

      • Anne-Sophie
        30 July, 2016

        That’s pretty much what you do! Since I’m an EU student I arrived before home students. I knocked at everyone’s door in my flat several time to see if anyone had arrived. The day everybody moved in, I left my door open (very important thing to do to show that you’re here and want to be sociable! We did that often and all year long, otherwise it seems super anti-social.) so people could come say hi when they arrived! And for instance, the first evening with everyone, we ordered pizza and ate all together, and we went round the table saying our name, if we had siblings, exchanging phone numbers, talking about what we studied and our hobbies… Looking back now, it was so cute! Everyone will miss home and need to make friends so don’t worry 🙂 It’s just important to start doing things as a flat from the start, going to freshers events together, trying to have dinner together… Especially in the first few days when so much happens, you don’t want to miss out and be left behind. That being said, I didn’t go to the LCR (ever) but still managed to get close to most of my flatmates.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ravenclaw Book Club
        30 July, 2016

        This is so helpful, you have no idea! 😊 Thank you. x

        Liked by 1 person

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