Top Tips for International Students Moving to Coventry
Being a student in a foreign country is an exciting and rewarding experience but that doesn’t detract from the fact that leaping into the unknown can be scary.
Whether this is your first time moving abroad or you’re a regular world traveler, preparing yourself for the journey to come is an important step to smooth out your transition.
From cultural discrepancies to climate differences and financial requirements, we’ve put together a list of top tips to help make your move to Coventry hassle-free.
1. Book your plane ticket
At this point, we’re assuming that you’ve received either your conditional or unconditional letter of acceptance from Coventry University and you’re all ready to start settling up before the beginning of the course.
If possible, you should purchase your plane ticket a few months in advance in order to get the best possible fare. Furthermore, we recommend the arrival date to be booked for a few weeks before Uni starts, giving you enough time to take care of all bureaucracies and get settled.
Now that you have the ideal arrival date you can start looking for flights and the next step will be to select the airport where you’ll be landing. Ideally, you’ll be flying to Birmingham airport as it is only two train stations away from Coventry Train Station. However, this is a small airport and depending on which country you’re flying from you might not find a direct route. If so you’ll have to look into an alternative, Luton, Heathrow and Manchester Airport being some of the most accessible ones.
2. Pack Weather Appropriate Clothes
This was probably already on the top of your list, and for a good reason. Similarly to the rest of England, according to Climate-Data.org Coventry has a significant amount of rainfall with an average temperature of 9.4 °C throughout the year. If you’re coming from a warm country this can be a bit of a shock and so don’t forget to pack suitable winter clothing including accessories such as gloves, scarfs and beanies. Trust us, you’ll need them for a good part of the year.
3. Find Student Accommodation
Finding where you’ll be living during your time abroad is a crucial decision. There are two main things that you’ll need to ask yourself before you even start searching.
Do you want to live within walking distance of Uni or on the outskirts of the city?
Assuming that you won’t be buying a car right after you move to Coventry you’ll be better off securing accommodation in the city center. This is because public transportation can be fairly limited on the outskirts which can be very restrictive both for class attendance and nightlife.
Would you rather live in a student hall or private student accommodation?
If you don’t know the difference between the two, student halls are essentially a building packed with flats for students with a small bathroom and access to shared facilities. Whilst a private student accommodation is a house that you share with a few other housemates.
Once you know what choices you’ll be making you can start searching your ideal student property. Ideally, you’d do so right after you receive your acceptance letter as accommodation goes really fast in Coventry. However, it can be tricky to secure accommodation without viewing the property first. If you can travel around this time to do so we highly encourage you to. Alternatively, you can sometimes book viewings via Skype and in our case, you can check our 360-degree virtual tours.
4. Get a UK Phone Number
Granted that roaming is no longer an issue for the most part and that wi-fi allows for free international communication, getting a UK SIM card isn’t as imperative as it used to be. However, it can bring you some benefits to purchase one. An example of this is if you plan to work part-time during your stay. Having a UK phone number on your CV will give you a better chance of being called for an interview as it tells potential employers that you’re residing in the country.
5. Decide If You Want To Work Part-time
If you do decide to work part-time whilst studying you’ll need two things: to open a UK bank account and to apply for a national insurance number.
Student bank accounts are no different from a basic account except they usually come with a few special conditions and freebies. Not only will you need one for your employer to pay your salary into but if you have applied for student finance you can also have them send the payments there.
It is fairly easy to open one at banks such as HSBC and Santander, you just need to research the most suitable one for you.
Once you know what you want, call to book an appointment and do so well in advance before you start applying for jobs. If you’re lucky they’ll have a slot within a few days but sometimes you may have to wait a week or more. They’ll let you know over the phone what you need to bring with you but you can count on needing proof of id (passport or driver’s license), proof of address (utility bill or tenant agreement) and proof of student status (unconditional acceptance letter).
In the meantime, you can also apply for a national insurance number which is used in the UK in the administration of the National Insurance or social security system. This ensures that the contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded on your account, thus you can’t receive a salary until you have provided your employer with a national insurance number.
Similarly to the bank account, you’ll have to call your nearest jobcentre to book an appointment and they will also tell you which documentation you’re required to bring. Coventry’s job centre is located in the city center so you’ll be able to walk there.
Once you have a bank account and a national insurance number you’re all ready to start applying for part-time jobs.
6. Register With a GP
The last thing on the list is registering with a local general practitioner. Your GP will be your first point of contact should you ever get ill or worried about your health. They offer advice and treatment and if further investigation to the problem is needed he/she might refer you to a specialist doctor.
The first step will be to locate your nearest GP Practice. You can use the NHS website to find the closest one, you need simply to introduce your postcode on the search bar.
Our advice is don’t wait until you’re sick or need medication to do this because it can take several weeks to register and another few to book an actual appointment.
You’re now all ready to move to Coventry, start your studies and start discovering this city’s hidden gems. For further advice or assistance finding student accommodation don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team!