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What to do before you leave home

Preparation is the key!

If you’re coming to study at the University of Cumbria as an international student, there are a number of things you must do before you travel to the UK.

The British Council guide on how to prepare for entry clearance and for your studies First Steps - a pre-departure guide including Safety First

The university guide for international students: International Student Handbook.

Most of our communication with applicants is by email and web content. We do not send paper copies of any of this material.

Getting to know your campus

Make sure you familiarise yourself with the campus where you will be based for your studies.

Check out our lifestyle information, campus contacts, maps and travel information and learning resources.

Arriving in the UK

To get an idea of where we are, take a look at our map of the UK and distances to our campuses. The nearest airports are Manchester International for Lancaster campus and Glasgow Airport (Scotland) or Newcastle International for Carlisle.

From Manchester:
There are regular trains direct from Manchester airport to Lancaster and Carlisle. Check train times and book tickets at www.nationalrail.co.uk

There is a taxi rank outside the station. We recommend you take a taxi from the station to the campus/your accommodation. Make it clear to the taxi driver that you want the University of Cumbria. There are two universities in Lancaster.

From Newcastle:
You will need to take a Metro from the airport to central station. From there you can take a train to Carlisle. Check train times and book tickets at www.nationalrail.co.uk

There is a taxi rank outside the station. We recommend you take a taxi from the station to the campus/your accommodation.

Driving times:
Manchester to Lancaster - Approx 1.5hrs
Manchester to Carlisle - Approx 2.5hrs
Newcastle to Carlisle - Approx 2.5hrs

Taxis are available at the airport but these will be more costly. For example, the fare from Manchester to Lancaster is approximately £90, and from Newcastle to Carlisle is approximately £110.Edinburgh Trip

Collecting keys to your accommodation:
If you will be living in a university halls of residence, in Lancaster or Carlisle you can collect your keys 24 hours a day.

If you arrive between 9am-6pm, you can collect your keys from the campus reception. If you arrive after 6pm or before 9am, you can collect your keys from the security team.


Checklist for starting your studies

Before finalise your travel arrangements, you should check that:

  • you have obtained your student visa (if applicable)
  • you have received an unconditional offer of a place on a course from the university
  • you have returned your course acceptance form (you will not be registered with us until you do so)
  • you have received full details of the course start and end date, tuition fees and the cost of living expenses you will have to pay
  • if you will be living in university accommodation, you should have informed us of your accommodation requirements, and received confirmation of your accommodation details and a copy of your contract
  • if you have decided to live in private, rented accommodation, you have received confirmation of your room/house
  • you have arranged insurance to cover your travel to the UK (when you arrive you should also arrange insurance to cover you/your belongings whilst in your accommodation, and additional insurance for future travel
  • if you are bringing dependants with you, you should have arranged suitable accommodation (and schooling if applicable)
  • if you are staying with a host family, confirmation of the date/time of your arrival, and their contact details?
  • you have informed the International Development Team and when you will enter the UK (date, time, airport, flight number)
  • you have received details of how to travel from the airport to the university/your accommodation
  • you have received details of where to go on your first day
  • you have enough cash and traveller’s cheques to cover your first few days in the UK (we would suggest approx. £250).

Useful links

UKCISA (The UK Council for International Student Affairs) has produced a range of guidance notes for prospective international students:

Before leaving home – immigration procedures to complete before you leave your home country (visa national students only, this does not apply to EU/EEA/Swiss students)

EEA Students – immigration/social security procedures to complete before you leave your home country (EU/EEA/Swiss students only)
Arriving in the UK – information on what to expect when you arrive at a UK airport, travelling from your entry port to the University

Accommodation – information on living in the UK as an international student
Keeping Healthy – what you need to know about medical cover is available as a student in the UK (we recommend that students take out medical insurance)

You may find this site useful, it contains information about travelling around Europe and the UK.

Culture Shock – what is it and how will it affect you? Culture shock is a typical reaction to moving to another country, and effects many people, not just those from another country and not just students. Useful information on what to expect.

You may also be interested in the information provided by UK Student Life, an external website aimed at international students in the UK. It is free and does not require registration.

This Study in England website looks at costs, courses, travel and other aspects of studying in England.