International students coming to the UK: an essential guide on what to look out for

Bryan is an international student from Hong Kong and will be starting his second year of studying MPharm here at The University of Bradford in September. He gives his tips and advice for international students coming to the UK.

Bryan Tsui, MPharm

You may be aware that when you are granted with a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you will need to register with the local police within a certain period of time after your arrival in the UK?

In this blog, I will give you a quick guide on how to navigate through this registration system along with hints and tips about other things that might help you when you arrive in the UK.

How to get from location A to B?

First, you will need to book an online appointment by searching “West Yorkshire Police Foreign Nationals” on Internet Browser. Then you will need to register an account by uploading your personal details and select a time that you are available to attend. Bear in mind that there is only limited daily slots for international students from the University of Bradford.

You will need to commute from the university to the police station in Pudsey to complete the registration.

  • You can either take a train (takes about 8 minutes from Bradford Interchange to Pudsey, followed by a 5-minute walk to the police station).
  • Alternatively, you can take bus number 72 from Bradford Interchange to Bradford Road Ruskin Street (takes approximately 30 minutes). You can purchase a “Day Rider” ticket type which cost about £5 on the bus with cash/debit card.

More information about police registration can be founded by clicking this link.

What about food shopping and eating out in Bradford?

When it comes to food in university, most students will be tempted to find food that is low price with good quality. In that case, you come to the right place in the UK.

There are countless food options within Bradford. Personally, I will highly recommend MyLahore restaurant which offers decent Indian cuisine. Alternatively, there are also Chinese; Thai and Western cuisine located in the heart of the city centre (there will definitely be dishes for everyone’s choice).

In terms of getting groceries in Bradford, I personally use the online food shopping very often, as it is convenient and offers a wide variety of delivery time slots and the ability to shop at 24/7 and get it delivered up to your accommodation doorstep.

Feeling a little homesick… what can I do?

As I faced a similar situation last year, particularly in October time, I felt a little homesick and lack of drive to focus on academic work. My advice to new international students is:

  • Sign up for a society during fresher’s fair, this can be a sport that you have never done before or a type of sport that you want to try out. The University also offers lots of other non-sport societies.
  • Signing up for volunteering is also another option that I highly recommend to go for, as it offers an amazing experience for freshers to expand their network and meet new students at the University from different backgrounds.
  • If you are living in University accommodation, being proactive with your flatmates to get to know them. They may be curious to find out more about you, why not initiate a conversation with them?
  • Also, there are plenty of group activities that you can do in Bradford city centre e.g. Laser Zone for a quick game of indoor laser shooting; Hollywood Bowl where you can have a go at smashing bowling pins. If you want to be more active, there is also an Ice Arena where you can have a quick drift on the ice with your friends.

Cost of living in the UK is different from my hometown, how much cash should I bring to the UK?

In terms of living costs in the UK, I will recommend bringing approximately £500 when you first arrive, as this amount of cash will allow you to purchase the university supplies (kitchen utensils, toiletries) and food shopping for the September month.

Meanwhile, you can apply for a UK bank account which benefits from contactless payment and zero transaction fee with some UK bank account for international students.

In order to set up a UK bank account, newly arrived international students can visit the Richmond student Hub (located in the C floor of Richmond Building) to request for a document to specify which UK bank you wish to open a bank account with. The University will issue an official document to support your UK Bank account application and you will need to arrange an appointment with the bank to bring the required supportive document to fulfil the application.

I hope you have got some useful information out of this blog and feel more prepared for the September enrolment. Don’t worry, there is plenty of help available during Fresher’s, all you need is ask a member of staff and they will more than happy to give you help and assistance.

Wish you all the best at university and enjoy your time during fresher’s fair.

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