Preparing for Leeds

Written by Najwa Nor Ikhsan

The clock is ticking and you’re brimming with excitement as you’re about to start a new chapter of your life. You’re coming to Leeds and will have the time of your life! Here’s my tips for all of you:

  1. Don’t pack that rice cooker. If you’re an Asian just like me, life without rice is impossible. Even so, you can always get all those big kitchen appliances from Argos, Home Bargains and Morrisons. Save your luggage space.
  2. Stock up your stationery. I know this is an odd one, but stationery here can be pricey. So if they are cheap in your country, by all means stock up for the year.
  3. Pack the necessary items. This is the hard bit – deciding what is necessary. I’d say pack enough clothing, some old photos to remind you of home and FOOD. If you have food flavourings, that cocoa powder that you love or even pickles (I know some people love them), bring them from home. Make sure that those things are definitely unavailable/super expensive in the UK because food can be heavy. Be smart about what you pack.
  4. Don’t pack too much toiletries. Pack mini shampoos and shower gel that can sustain you for three days in the UK. You can always shop here once you’ve settled down in your accommodation (which usually takes less than a day).
  5. Since you’re arriving in Autumn, the weather is not too cold. A denim jacket and cardigan would keep you warm. You can always get thick winter jacket once you’ve settled down. Leeds is the third largest city in the UK. We have many shopping malls and beautiful arcades. You can shop till you drop, here!
  6. For first time travellers, be aware of what are the items that you should not have in your check-in luggage and hand carry. Check and read airport regulations beforehand.
  7. Find out where Leeds is. We are located in Yorkshire. I would suggest international students to land in Manchester airport and get to Leeds via train. Manchester Airport has a train station which makes it easier for you to travel with big luggage. Make sure that you book your train tickets beforehand through trainline or transpennine express website. If you are an EU student, Leeds Bradford Airport is only half an hour away from city centre by car. You can always book a taxi upon your arrival. In the UK, we use Uber and Amber for taxi services.
  8. If you are staying in private residence or university hall, find out when can you move in to your accommodation. Go through the checklist provided.
  9. FRESHERS WEEK. Like the official freshers week Facebook page to find out what events are taking place. Freshers week happens two weeks before university begins. Clubs and societies will set up booths for you to browse through. You’ll be surrounded by a sea of students that are on the same boat as you! Everyone will be new to Leeds and they are all figuring out how to be a part of this beautiful, lively city. Also, don’t forget to get the free domino’s pizza!
  10. Once you have arrived in Leeds, don’t forget to register with the university and your local GP (healthcare service). This will allow you to get your student ID and open a bank account here.
  11. Learn how to cook – simple meals like pasta and omelette.
  12. You’ve only have a few more weeks to go before university starts so do spend time with your family.

I’ve been in Leeds for 3 years now and I absolutely love it! I’ve grown so much over the years. You’d become more independent and confident within your own skin. You’ll meet wonderful people and create good memories. University is the time of your life. Don’t be afraid to try new things!


Najwa Nor Ikhsan
Hi, My name is Najwa and I am from Malaysia; a country that is famous for our high number of public holidays and mouth-watering cuisine. Malaysia has always been diverse...
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