Top Tips for International Students

Top Tips

UK MapMap of the United Kingdom

We have collated a list of important information that you may find useful before you arrive at Leeds. Don’t forget that if you have any questions before you arrive, these can be emailed to us at denadmissions@leeds.ac.uk.

We look forward to welcoming you here at the School of Dentistry in September.

Your Offer & Visa Information

Your Offer

Check your offer letter and make sure you understand the conditions on it. Please note that this is not the same as the deposit letter, which you will have been sent separately.  An explanation of the conditions and how you can prove you have met them are below.

Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and Visas

You need to have:

  • an unconditional offer from us – in which case, the CAS (the visa document) will be emailed to you to take to the UK Embassy in your country; or
  • a conditional offer from us, where you must first satisfy all the requirements.  If one of the requirements is a pre-sessional English course, the Language Centre will issue an offer letter which will trigger a CAS, which you can then take to the UK Embassy in your country to obtain your visa. During the pre-sessional course, the International Office liaises with the Language Centre to help the students apply for their new visa within the UK.

You will then need to collect a Biometric Resident Permit within 10 days of arriving in the UK. Details of where you need to collect this from will be included in your decision letter from the embassy.

Immunisations

Hepatitis B

Immunisation IconIf you have been immunised against Hepatitis B, please bring your immunisation documents with you as evidence. If you have not been able to start a course of injections before commencing the course do not worry – we can arrange this for you through our Occupational Health department once you are here.


Good Conduct Reports

Good Conduct IconYou will need to obtain one of these from your Police Station before you come to the UK, as we will need to see these when you register. Please make sure you bring this with you as getting one once you are in the UK will be very difficult.

Working in the UK

Work IconDuring your time in the UK, you might want to work. There's some information you’ll need to know, such as how to find a job, understanding tax and national insurance and work restrictions.

The International Office explains the rules about working in the UK not just during your studies, but also once your course has finished.

Healthcare Information

Healthcare IconBefore you can receive treatment in the UK, you will need to register at a doctors surgery. The Leeds Student Medical Practice is recommended for students at the University, as the practice is 5 minutes from campus, and they have years of experience in dealing with students, and the ups and the downs of student life for both UK and international patients.


English Language

Language Centre IconThe English language can be confusing to those who have learnt it as a second language - especially when local people use a variety of words which mean the same thing. For example, "Thanks" can also be referred to as "Cheers", "You're welcome" or "Ta" depending on what part of the country local people are from.

The Language Centre on campus runs in-sessional workshops and short courses providing academic English support for international students, so if you feel you need any help or guidance whilst you're studying here at Leeds, please feel free to pop in and they will be more than willing to help.

Bank Accounts

Money IconYou cannot get a letter to open a UK bank account from the University until you are registered. Therefore, you must do this once you arrive in the UK. This is not a requirement of the University; it is a rule that has been put in place by the banks. However, you will have time to collect a letter from the Student Services Centre in the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff building to enable you to open a bank account when you arrive.

The main banks in the UK include: Natwest, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Barclays and Santander.

Most banks offer student accounts, so it is always worth checking in branch or online what accounts are available to you. In order to obtain a student account, you will need proof of your student status. Student accounts are highly recommended, as they usually offer good benefits.

Travel

AirportmapNorthern England Airports

Located at the very heart of the UK, Leeds is one of the country's most accessible cities.

Aeroplane

Aeroplane IconFrequent scheduled services run between Leeds Bradford International Airport and the main airports of London Heathrow, Amsterdam, Dublin and Paris, enabling worldwide connections.

No-frills airline Jet2 has boosted the numbers of visitors flying to Leeds from all over Europe.

Other airlines operating scheduled flights include British Airways, Ryanair, Flybe, Eastern Airways, KLM, Thomson, Aer Lingus and Monarch.

For full details of all flights check please visit the Leeds Bradford Airport website.

A half-hourly Airlink Bus (Number 757) goes between the airport and Leeds City Bus and Coach Station and the City Station. To find out more please visit the Metro website.

Leeds is also very well connected to Manchester Airport; the airport train service operates on a 24-hour basis with trains running every half hour throughout the day.

Train

Virgin Trains IconFrequent, direct trains carry visitors from London to Leeds in just over two hours. There are also regular services from Scotland, the Northeast, the Midlands and across the Pennines.

Virgin Trains East Coast operates an inter-city direct train service from Leeds to London's Kings Cross, running every half hour throughout the day.

CrossCountry trains also run a frequent service from many of Britain's major cities such as Newcastle, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

For more information about the rail system in the UK, please visit National Rail.

National rail offer discounted travel (1/3 off rail fares) with their 16 - 25 railcard. If you are aged between 16 - 25 or a mature student, you will be eligible. To find out more information, please click here.

Bus

First Bus IconThe main bus company in Leeds is operated by First, and they operate a number of routes in and out of the city. Leeds also has a Freecity bus that allows free bus travel on a particular route in the city centre, as well as a park and ride system that is ten minutes from the centre of Leeds. To find out more information about the bus service in Leeds, please click here.

First offer a network of frequent bus services in the University area and across the city - and with discounted prices for students. During the day buses run past the university up to every 3 minutes and all of their services go into the city centre for shopping and easy access to the City Bus Station and Rail Station. To find out more information about the unlimited travel student ticket, please click here.

If you are a mature student, aged 26 years and over in full-time education (16 hours or more per week), you would be entitled to discounted unlimited bus and train travel throughout West Yorkshire at any time of day or night (except Nightrider and special event services), including on buses to the Yorkshire Dales. You can buy either a weekly or monthly Student Plus MetroCard

Coach

National Express IconGetting to and from Leeds has never been easier with regular National Express coaches leaving central Leeds and London every hour. For more information about fares and journey details, please visit National Express.

Taxi

Taxi IconArrow cars are citywide, so if you require a taxi whilst you are in Leeds, they are the people to call. They have vehicles that can carry up to 8 passengers as well as wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Arrow are also the official taxi provider for Leeds Bradford International Airport and the First Direct Arena.

Car

Car Icon 2Sitting at the crossroads of the M62 and M1 with the A1/M1 link, Leeds is easy to reach at speed from any direction in the UK, and the Leeds ring road connects motorists to all major routes into the city.

Leeds also has an abundance of multi-storey car parks, so you won't have any trouble parking near the University at Woodhouse Lane, or at various car parks around the city centre.


Mobile Telephones

iPhoneYour current mobile phone should work when you arrive in the UK, as phones operate on the GSM band, which is the standard band for most of the world. However, if you are using your mobile phone in the UK, it is likely that you will be charged an expensive rate by your phone operator for minutes, texts and internet usage, as you would be incurring international charges.


Local Numbers

If you would like to keep your current phone, you will need to invest in a new simcard. You can get a new simcard by either ordering online or going into store.

Before getting a new simcard, you will have to decide which option would be best for you:

  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) is where you top up your phone between £5 and £50 when your phone credit runs out. There is an initial cost of £5 when purchasing a PAYG sim, but it is a good way of keeping an eye on how much you’re spending on your phone.
  • A sim only deal offers a package of minutes, text and mobile data for a fixed price per month. You can usually find a good deal to suit your usage needs, and many phone operators now offer them on a month-by-month basis instead of being tied into a contract.

If you would like a new phone, you can get fixed term contract for 1 – 2 years, which includes minutes, texts and internet usage. This is usually a longer term commitment and the more expensive option, as you are paying for the cost of the phone.

Some of the UK’s main mobile phone operators include: O2, EE, Three and Vodafone, and all information regarding their tariffs can be found on their website, or by asking a sales assistant in store.

Contacting Home

There are a number of low-cost international call providers, such as Lebara, LycaMobile and RebTel.

The International Callchecker is a good tool for comparing the best prices for international calls on mobile and landline telephones.

If you have internet access, you could use Skype to call another Skype device for free, or utilise a mobile application such as WhatsApp to send free text messages and make calls for free.

Postal Services

Shipping IconThe postal service in the UK is run by Royal Mail, and you can send and receive post 6 days a week (Monday - Saturday). The Royal Mail website has information about sending letters and parcels in the UK and overseas. Generally, Royal Mail are the cheapest option for sending cards, letters and small packages. To send items via Royal Mail, you will have to go to your local post office. If you want to post a card or letter, you can do that via a post box in your local area, although you will have to ensure that you have put the correct number of stamps on your item for postage.

There is also the option of using a courier service if you have a large item that needs sending, or an item that needs to get somewhere quickly. Some of the main couriers in the UK include: DPD, UPS, DHL, TNTMyHermes and FedEx. It is always worth searching online for a parcel delivery comparison website, as they can sometimes offer better prices than booking with a courier directly.

Leeds University Student Union

Union IconWhether you're looking to compete at the highest level, try something completely new, or just meet like-minded people – Leeds Student Union has something for everyone, with over 250 activities to choose from you’ll be spoilt for choice. Get involved in anything from football to chess, wine tasting to skydiving, dance to ‘a cappella’. There are even societies with international students in mind, such as the International Student Society and different cultural clubs, including African, Chinese and Eastern European.

If you’re not sure which group to join, or you just fancy a taster, you can attend a trial session with no pressure to sign up via ‘Give It A Go’. You can even start your own club or society if your favourite hobby or pastime isn't listed too. Joining a club or society gives you the chance to learn something new, to enhance your skills and to get involved.

To find out more about the clubs and societies on offer at the Student Union, please click here.

Information sourced from: Leeds Student Union.

Local Student Areas

Houses IconIf you're not planning to live in University accommodation, Headingley, Hyde Park and Woodhouse have the largest student population. However, over the years students have spread to other parts of Leeds, primarily Kirkstall and Burley, with expanding numbers living in Horsforth, Holbeck and Armley. Some students have moved to areas of Leeds that have rented properties that normally let to young professionals, such as Harehills, Oakwood and Roundhay.

Areas of Leeds with accommodation to rent is a melting pot of young people with thriving communities, shops, supermarkets, pubs, parks and sports centres. It is worth deciding what you want from an area, and checking to see if the local amenities meet your needs, before deciding upon where you will be renting during your time at Leeds.

Information sourced from: Unipol.

Student Discounts

Save Money IconWhen you arrive in Leeds and register with the University, you'll be given a student card which you can utilise to get student discount. It is also worth getting an NUS Extra card too, as some places may not accept your Leeds University student card - it's good to have both just in case. You can get student discount at a range of different places, which can include: cinemas, restaurants, retail stores etc.

In September, Leeds Trinity shopping centre usually run a student ‘lock in’ discount night, where they offer exclusive discounts, giveaways and entertainment for one night only. To see what happens at a student lock in event, please click here. It is worth keeping an eye on their Facebook page for latest announcements and information regarding this year's event. 

Local bars and clubs often have dedicated student nights where the drinks are cheaper, so it's always worth checking what nights are best to go. If you're planning on joining a gym or going to a sporting event, many offer discounted rates for students too.

You can also get discounted rates on rail services around the UK, and discounted bus travel in Leeds. 
If you are a mature student, aged 26 years and over in full-time education (16 hours or more per week), you would be entitled to discounted unlimited bus and train travel throughout West Yorkshire.

Signing up to UniDays will allow you to see the latest promotional discounts offered by a wide variety of places.

Information about the unlimited bus and train travel sourced from: Metro.

Eating Out / Nightlife

Eating Out IconYou will be spoilt for choice in Leeds, as we are home to an abundance of restaurants, cafés and bars. 

Café culture has hit Leeds in a big way in recent years – even the vagaries of the Yorkshire weather aren’t enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the locals for perching at outside tables over a flat white and a cupcake. There are loads of wonderful independent café-bars, delis and lunch counters.

Some of the best restaurants in Leeds echo the dominant contemporary trend for local sourcing, seasonal ingredients and Modern British flair. We are also home to a diverse range of restaurants that cater to all different tastes, whether it's Greek, Italian, Chinese or Indian just to name a few, you'll no doubt find a restaurant that suits you. Some of the premises are outstanding, too – from old riverside warehouses to converted city-centre banks – so dining out in Leeds really is an experience.

As for pubs and bars, there’s not another Yorkshire city to touch Leeds, whether it’s restored Victorian boozers, contemporary ale houses or killer cocktail bars. Some of the newer places are gastro-destinations in their own right, serving great Yorkshire produce, but nearly all show a keen interest in getting the drinks right – especially beer and real ale, with the city’s independent brewery, Leeds Brewery, at the forefront. Leeds has an abundance of nightclubs to suit all music tastes, so whether it's a pub, bar or nightclub you're looking for, you'll be able to find one that suits you.

There is no requirement to tip your waiter or waitress, although it is appreciated if you have received a good service whilst dining or drinking out.

Information sourced from: Cool Places.

Shopping

Shopping IconLeeds has a number of supermarkets around the city, including: Morrisons, Tesco, Sainbury's, ASDAWaitrose, Aldi and Lidl. All the supermarkets have different opening hours, so it is worth checking what time your local supermarket opens and closes. Supermarkets have shorter opening hours on a Sunday, as they usually open at 10 or 11am and close at 4 or 5pm. If you're price conscious, you can use MySupermarket to compare prices at all the leading supermarkets to make sure your money goes further.

In Leeds city centre, there's just a short walk between designer stores, high street brands, market stalls and independent boutiques, many of which are housed within breathtaking Victorian and Edwardian buildings.

The beautiful architecture of the Victoria Quarter’s Grade II arcades make a spectacular setting for a shopping spree. Victoria Quarter is home to over 75 of the world's leading fashion and lifestyle brands, including Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith, Louis Vuitton, Mulberry and Illamasqua.

The Grand Arcade is one of the oldest shopping Arcades in Leeds city centre, and it is well worth a visit as it is the only Arcade within Leeds which is full of Independent Retailers. It's a true haven for anyone who wants to shop somewhere different, and find something not available on the traditional High Street.

The stunning domed roof of Leeds Corn Exchange houses a large number of independent stores ranging from Northern Acoustics, Mad Elizabeth Vintage to Candy Candy and Ju Ju Gifts. With vintage, craft, record and food fairs taking place regularly.

In the heart of the city, Trinity Leeds attracts international brands and boutiques to Leeds and give you 120 sensational shops, stores, restaurants and cafés to explore. It is open from 9am - 8pm Monday to Saturday and 11am - 5pm on a Sunday.

Leeds has some fantastic specialist stores, great for getting expert advice on purchases and a truly personalised service. These include: OK Comics, Jumbo Records, Leeds Craft Centre & Design Gallery, Gerry’s Wines & Spirits, Teddy & Co, Peter Maturi cookware specialists and Yum Yum Beads.

If you're looking for an out of town shopping centre, Leeds is home to the White Rose Shopping Centre. However, if you wanted to travel further afield (around 40 minutes), there is the Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield, and the Trafford Centre in Manchester. Shopping centres usually have longer opening hours than shops on the High Street.

Information sourced from: Visit Leeds.

Entertainment

Entertainment IconLeeds is a hotbed of creative cultural talent and entertainment, and it enjoys a reputation for producing spectacular and innovative shows.

You'll find popular performers of stage and screen in a variety of venues across the city, such as The Grand Theatre and Opera House, and the Howard Assembly Room.

Enjoying amazing performances doesn't have to be expensive either. There are great discounts at the West Yorkshire Playhouse during the week, and annual free events such as Light Night offer gives everyone a chance to enjoy great entertainment.

The iconic Leeds Town Hall and the City Varieties Music Hall both have an exciting calender of events happening throughout the year including concerts, film screenings, hilarious stand up comedians, educational events and more.

Located in the heart of the city centre, the First Direct Arena and the O2 Academy, play host to an impressive line up of world class acts an events from live music and comedy to entertainment shows and sporting events.

The Leeds International Film Festival is a major event on the world cinema stage with hundreds of screenings and events taking place over 17 days in November.

If you're a film fanatic, Leeds has plenty of cinemas to choose from including the Everyman Cinema, Vue (Kirkstall Road and The Light) and the Showcase Cinema. Not forgetting the Hyde Park Picture House for a different cinematic experience.

If you're a fan of sport, Leeds United is the local football team, and the local rugby team is the Leeds Rhinos. Leeds is also home to the Yorkshire Cricket Club which hosts various cricketing teams (including England) throughout the year. You can usually find tickets on their official websites, and they often have student tickets available.

Information sourced from: Visit Leeds.

Weather

Weather Icon

The UK is known for its wet and rainy weather and lush green countryside. In comparison to other countries, the UK is fairly small in size, but the weather can vary significantly from one region to the next - even on a smaller scale too between local towns and cities. 

Generally, the northern parts of the UK have cooler temperatures and higher rainfall than the southern areas. In Leeds, the temperatures average between 6 - 9°c degrees in the winter, and 17 - 19°c degrees in the summer. Rainfall can average between 63 - 114mm depending on the time of year. If you're planning to travel to other parts of the UK whilst you're here, it is likely that you'll experience a change in temperature from one place to the next. For example, it might be 18°c in Leeds but 25°c in London.

In the winter, the weather can change very quickly with the low pressure systems from across the atlantic, which can bring strong gales, heavy rain and thunderstorms. Whilst the UK isn't known for extreme weather conditions, it has been known to have droughts and floods at certain times of the year.

In terms of clothing for the winter, it is important for you to pack warm clothes and waterproof coats, as you probably won't be able to afford the heating on all the time in your student accommodation. You can pack warmer clothes for the summer, such as t-shirts, shorts, skirts and dresses and some light jackets and cardigans.  

Temperature and rainfall information sourced from: Met Office.

Useful Websites

International Students Hub

The International Students Hub gives support, information and advice to international prospective students.

Link to Leeds

Link to Leeds Ambassadors are available for all international students to contact in advance to discuss any matter that they wish to such as accommodation, living in Leeds, costs etc.

International Office

The International Student Office provides specialist immigration advice along with welcome and orientation support specific to the needs of international students.

Global Community

Our fantastically diverse international and multicultural university offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to know people from over 140 different countries and a huge variety of different backgrounds. Global Community connects our students to intercultural and international activities and friends that can bring them a world of different ideas and experiences.