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Advice for StudentsCardiff University ExperiencesLiving away from homeSettling inStudent Life

Tips for international students coming to the UK

24 July 2023

As an international student myself, I understand how challenging it can be to move to a completely different country where you are thrown into a new culture. However, every year, many international students start university in the UK, so you are not alone in this! It can be hard to adapt at first; even if you do not see it, many other students are going through the same thing.

Here are some useful tips to keep in mind as an international student coming to the UK:


Before coming:

  • Watch YouTube videos

There is no better way to find out about universities in the UK before starting than hearing about the experiences of other students. YouTube can be a fantastic platform for course or university-specific videos and general information about academics.

It helped me to look at videos about the grading system, types of university classes or just day-in-my-life clips from current and past students. It is not only fun but also an informative way of learning more about student life.


  • Chat with other students.

This can be an amazing way of hearing about university experiences first-hand. You can do so through the Unibuddy platform, where you can talk to current students about anything university related! You can even filter it for area of study, country/ region and university year.

Another thing you can do is join Facebook groups or chats with people studying at Cardiff or doing the same course as you. This way, you might even find your future flatmates, course mates or, who knows, even a make friend!


  • Learn to cook at least one meal from home.

It is true when people say that certain flavours remind them of home. Cooking a meal you used to eat at home can be a great activity if you are homesick.

It does not have to be complicated; something simple works too. If it is a warm comfort meal, even better! And why not make it for your future flatmates and host a culture night?


  • Bring photos with you.

Printing pictures is a perfect way of bringing a piece of home with you. You can put them in an album or decorate your room with them once you get to your accommodation.

These are also great conversation starters if you have flatmates. You can share the memories you made before coming to university, and who knows? You might end up adding pictures of your new friends to your collection!


Whilst at university:

  • Join societies and sports clubs.

There are over 250 societies in the Students’ Union, and around 30 are cultural and international. It can be a really good way of meeting people from the same culture as you and feeling like you fit in.

While not every country or region has its own society, here is a more general one, Cardiff International Students Society, where you might meet someone with a similar background.

There are many more societies you can choose from, and they cover different interests and hobbies. Besides these, you can also meet people by trying out a sport in one of the 50+ sports clubs.


  • Go to cultural events.

Throughout the academic year, you will get to attend or even participate in different cultural events organised in the Students’ Union and University. These can differ from year to year, but it can be fun to discover more about other cultures or see yours represented.


  • Know there is support available.

At Cardiff, you will find specific support for international students. A really useful page is the Cardiff University International section which covers different areas, from funding to information about university services.

Throughout university, you will be able to access Student Visa Support, English Language Programmes, Counselling and Wellbeing appointments and even career support tailored to international students.


  • Familiarise yourself with the city.

If you want to feel more comfortable with the city, whether that is attractions, parks, coffee shops or university buildings, try and take a few hours to visit and explore this new place.

The most popular attractions in Cardiff are places such as Cardiff Castle, the Bay, Bute Park, the National Museum and Alexandra Gardens. They are all stunning locations you should visit at least once throughout your studies. The more places, the better! Cardiff has so much to offer, and I am sure you will find your favourite spots in the city.

Cardiff Bay