New to the UK

It can be really strange moving to a new country for the first time and although it's really exciting, sometimes students feel a little out of their depth. Here's some useful information to help you adjust as quickly as possible so you can really make the most of your time here.

All of these suggestions will help you :- 

A free online course from British Counsel designed to prepare for study in the UK.

The Crowdsourced Guide to Learning

Studentminds’ suggestions could help with settling in at University.

UKCISA’s guide to UK cultural traditions.

UKCISA’s guide to culture shock and how to tackle it.

Sign up for peer mentoring, either as a mentor or a mentee.

Work out what budget you’ll need: International Student Calculator

Read our guide to student housing.  Be prepared for a 'Right to Rent' check.

Once you enrol you automatically become a member of De Montfort University Students’ Union (DSU).  Find out what students' unions do and take advantage of everything that’s on offer:

Staying safe and legal

DMU’s International Student Guide takes you through all the important things you need to do on arrival, and introduces you to the wide range of resources and support services available but here's some more 

Read the Guide form the British Council on life and safety in the UK:  Creating Confidence

Register with a local GP as soon as you arrive, before you get ill: De Montfort Surgery.

Don’t keep large sums of cash in your room – it is more secure to keep it in a bank account. How to open a UK Bank account

Don’t carry your BRP around with you because this increases the risk of it being lost or stolen.  This could be a major inconvenience, not to mention an added hassle and expense.  If you want to carry ID as proof of your age then purchase an International Student Identity Card for £12 and it will also entitle you to a wide range of student discounts.

Keep the letters you received with your successful visa application(s) and photograph or photocopy your passport and visa and email them to yourself.  This will help in case the documents are later lost or stolen and need to be replaced.

If you are subject to a Points Based System visa such as Tier 4, you must report any relevant change in your circumstances using the Migrant Change of Circumstances Form.  If unsure, seek advice from DSU Advice.

This Home Office guide is a few years old now, but still really useful: Student Survival Guide

Make sure your valuables are covered by contents insurance.  Student properties are often targeted by thieves due to the large number of valuables inside.  To help keep everyone’s belongings secure, never let anyone follow you into your building when you open the door. 

Register your gadgets and valuables with Immobilise to help recover them if they are stolen.

Beware of scams and fraud and never share your passwords or PIN number with anyone. Be suspicious of anyone calling you claiming to be from the Home Office, and if they demand payment, do not pay and report this to Action Fraud and DSU Advice.

Check whether you need a TV Licence and if so purchase one straight-away, otherwise you could be fined up to £1000.  If you’re not sure, seek advice from DSU Advice.

Inform your local Council of the date you moved in and the names of any other adults living with you.  If you are not liable to pay Council Tax you will need to obtain a Council Tax Exemption Letter from Gateway House and provide this to the local Council otherwise you will be billed and failure to pay carries very serious consequences.  If you need advice about this contact DSU Advice.

If you intend to drive in the UK, first make sure your Licence is valid in the UK and that you are aware of the requirements to drive legally in the UK, such as being insured to drive and having paid road tax on your vehicle.  Also familiarise yourself with the safety requirements, the Highway Code and UK road signs.  See UKCISA’s information about driving in the UK.  If you receive any penalty for a traffic offence, do seek advice from DSU Advice as you may be required to report this to UKVI and it my impact on your ability to obtain a UK visa in future.

If you intend to work in the UK, check what your visa conditions permit and for more information see UKCISA’s guide: Can you work in the UK?  If you are allowed to work, you’ll need to  apply for a National Insurance Number (which enables Income Tax to be deducted from your wages if you earn above the threshold to pay tax).  Every worker needs an NI number even if you are not going to be earning enough to pay tax.

Free advice, contraception, STI tests and pregnancy tests are available at the Student Sexual Health Clinic.

We recommend you seek advice about extending your visa at least 6 weeks before it is due to expire.  If you require visa advice, please read our Visa information and book an appointment with DSU Advice.


Brightside’s website hosts a range of guides including studying at University and study skills.

Prepare for Success  an online toolkit designed to introduce overseas students to the conventions of UK study which may be unfamiliar.

Read our guide to Exams 

Familiarise yourself with the DMU rules regarding Proof-reading - see also paragraphs 51-55 of the Taught Programmes Regulations.

Use the CLaSS guide to writing essays. Referencing guides are also available from CLaSS.

CLaSS also offer one-to-one tutorials for help with structuring and referencing your work.

Download the Higher Education Attainment Toolkit.

Be aware of the academic practise regulations and penalties for breaking them.

In the event of any problems arising, seek independent confidential advice from DSU Advice.