International student life at Nottingham and life in the UK

It's exciting to start a course in the UK

But don't worry if you feel a little overwhelmed at first – you will soon adjust to student life and there's plenty of support available.


Life in the UK

  • Weather – Britain has a temperate climate with temperatures and weather varying through the seasons. You'll need warm clothes for the winter and an umbrella or waterproof coat is always useful.
  • Food – As well as British food, you can find nearly every kind of international cuisine in restuarants and shops. Vegetarian, vegan, halal and kosher food is widely available.
  • Drink – Alcohol is available in licenced shops, supermarkets, pubs, bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Soft drinks are always available too and you should never feel pressured to drink alcohol.
  • Fashion – Casual clothes are fine for classes. Some students dress more smartly for nights out, but you don't have to. Respect how other people choose to dress, even if it's not what you're used to. 
  • Equality – The UK is a multicultural country with gender equality and laws against discrimination. Always respect other people's cultures and belifes. Find out more about our standards of behaviour.
  • Crime – Nottingham is generally a safe and friendly city but you should take sensible precautions such as keeping doors and windows locked when you're out and your valuables out of sight. Also watch out for for fraudulent emails and phone calls from financial scammers.
  • Privacy – We treat all students as independent adults, and treat your data confidentally, following the UK's data protection laws. We won't share information about you with anyone else, including your family members, without your consent. Find out more in our privacy policy.


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Academic life

Degrees from British universities such as Nottingham are valued around the world because of our high academic standards and because our courses can help you to develop skills – such as critical thinking, analysing evidence and decision-making – as well as knowledge in your subject area.

Depending on the subject, your course will include a mixture of lectures, workshops, seminars and tutorial meetings. You will also have coursework assignments which may include essays, independent research, group projects and presentations.

You will be responsible for managing your own workload to meet coursework deadlines, planning your reading and research, and drawing conclusions from your findings. If you've never studied in the UK before, you may find this challenging at first, but you will soon get used to our academic culture.

Find out about some of the academic resources and opportunities available at Nottingham on our academic resources page, and find out about how we are managing teaching and learning safely this year.

UKCISA's website includes a useful guide to study skills for success. The British Council's free online preparation course is a great way to explore in more depth what you can expect when you live and study in the UK.

British Council: online course


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Settling in

Global Buddies

Make friends with a current Nottingham student through the Students' Union's Global Buddies scheme for international and EU students. Your student mentor can help you settle in and you can also get involved in monthly meetups to meet other students from the UK and around the world.

Global Buddies

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Tips for your first few weeks

  • Check our guides on what to do before you arrive and when you get here, and make sure you complete essential tasks like university registration, joining the health centre and opening a bank account
  • Get a UK SIM card for your phone – search online to compare different providers and find a package that suits you
  • Join societies and sports clubs through our Students' Union to find new friends who share your interests – there are many national, cultural and faith societies too
  • Stay in touch with your family and friends from home – it will help you avoid homesickness, and they may worry if they don't hear from you
  • Take care of yourself and make time to relax so you don't feel stressed or overwhelmed – see our tips for mental health and wellbeing
  • Explore the city – find out about some of the local attractions
  • There's plenty of support available to help you feel at home
  • Use our Welcome Kit for International Students PDF format to find out more about the support, advice and welfare services available 

Welcome Kit for International Students (pdf)

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Homesickness and culture shock

Many students feel homesick as they adjust to studying at university, especially in a new country. Don't worry and don't feel ashamed – this is a normal experience and you will find that these feelings pass in time.

It helps if you stay busy, but make sure you allow time for rest and relaxation too. See our tips for mental health and wellbeing.

Talk to other students: they may be going through these kinds of feelings too, and talking about it to someone else could make you both feel better.

Stay in touch with your family and friends from home, and find things that you can do in Nottingham to remind you of home, such as food from your home country or meeting other students from the same country.

Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it – there are plenty of of support services available.

UKCISA has a great guide to culture shock with tips on dealing with it.

UKCISA guide to culture shock

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Student Services

University Park

Please see our need help page for telephone and online contact points