It's winter! And the days are getting darker and the leaves have changed colour. For those of you starting your studies in January, it may be daunting to think of what to prepare before you arrive for the UK winter. We (Michelle from Singapore and Sara from Japan) have prepared some tips to help you arrive in the UK during winter 🙂
Warm clothes are essential!
If your home country has Black Friday Sales, this would be a good opportunity to buy some winter clothes! For me, I love to purchase my winter clothes from a store Uniqlo before going to the UK. One down jacket (water resistant if possible), thermals (especially for legs), a scarf and maybe a beanie is all you need. The great thing about winter is you that can layer your clothes up! Something I have learnt, is to buy clothes of good quality that will last you throughout your studies in Leeds. This might mean that it's more expensive, but it will be a one-time purchase for 1-4 years of your stay here! If you struggle to find clothes in your country, we recommend saving about £100-£300 (depending on your budget) and buy quality clothes in the UK. Just find something that will last you a couple of days until you can stock up. You can search online in common UK clothing stores and take advantage of New Year sales in January!
Leeds winter doesn't always have snow, however, it will be cold, rainy and damp. A top tip is to look at the temperature under “feels like” as that is more accurate than the temperature given.
Don't go overboard on the clothes in your country, pack at least one of each item such as a scarf, down jacket etc. If it gets a bit bulky, you can always vacuum pack them to make it more compact- be cautious of the weight though! For the rest of the luggage, I would recommend packing whatever will make your place feel cosy or remind you of home (for me, it was lots of local food paste packages, favourite snacks and pictures). If there is space, I would pack in 1 set of bed covers so at least there is something to sleep on upon arrival! However, whether you're in university or private accommodation, you can always book a bedding and kitchen essential pack on the international arrivals booking form provide by the university.
In your hand carrier, bring some travel size hand cream and lip balm. It might get dry during the plane ride and upon arrival if you are not used to winter. Remember, to be smart when packing! Bring the items that are irreplaceable/ cannot be found in the UK. You can also check out this link of what the university recommends you to bring.
Paperwork (not as scary as it sounds!)
Preparing for all of your paperwork before leaving your home can be daunting. I was constantly worried if I forgotten something important back home...but don’t worry, we have you covered! Here is a list of paperwork that we believe is essential. Put all of the important paperwork in one large folder, so you do not lose anything and bring it with your carry on! Please click here for more information created by the University of Leeds.
Your passport & student visa
An obvious one! It'll not only allow you to board the plane but will be your main form of ID upon arrival in the UK. You'll also have to show your student visa in your passport upon arrival...so make sure it's not gone anywhere!
Unconditional Offer Letter
The unconditional offer from the University of Leeds is proof of your status as a prospective student at Leeds. You will need to show this with your visa once you arrive at the airport in the UK. You can also use this as proof that you are a student when opening a UK bank account.
You will need proof that you have taken vaccines and screened for tuberculosis (if your country requires this for the visa). If you have an ongoing medical condition, please bring a letter from your doctor in English which explains your diagnosis, medication, and monitoring requirements so you can share this with a UK doctor.
Original Academic Documents & other documents
You will need to have proof of your previous qualifications, such as your previous degree, transcripts and IELTS result. You may also need to have your ATAS certificate and your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies [CAS]. Documents in this sections may be applicable to certain areas of study, so be sure to check with your school what you will need or if you're from a country with a University of Leeds regional team, contact them here.
You may need to bring your bank statement with you as proof that you have enough money during your studies. If you have already paid your fees, you will also need to show proof of this. If you are sponsored, you will need a sponsorship letter with you.
If you are coming to Leeds with your family, you will need to bring marriage and birth certificates for you and your family.
It can be scary moving to a new country in general, even scarier during a global pandemic! But we have lots of help and guidance at Leeds to support you in your journey, isolation and time here.
Once you have booked your flight and secured your accommodation in Leeds, you can book free transport to the University from Leeds Bradford airport and Manchester airport and if you need to self-isolate on arrival, you can ask for a free food box to support you through your first days in Leeds. Complete the international arrivals booking form to book your transport and/or self-isolation food box.
Before you fly, you'll receive confirmation from the university 48 hours before to your travel date about pick-up and isolation support (remember and complete the form!). You'll also have to complete the Passenger Locator form 48 hours before your flight- this form is for the UK government and you'll need it at your arrival into the UK.
If you have any questions about arrival, the correct university email to get in touch with is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Traveling & Self-isolating guides
Our ambassadors have written excellent blogs about their own experience flying to the UK and self-isolating in the UK during this global pandemic. We would highly encourage you to read some of the following:
- Flying to the UK: Atiyah and Catalina.
- Self-isolation guides and support: Amir, Kendy, and the University.
- If you are living in University of Leeds Residences, please fill in this form to tell that you are self-isolating.
- If you are having trouble getting food, try the Self-isolation Food Boxes offered by the university.
- Check here for a complete guide to online food delivery in Leeds!
- Download the International Welcome Guide.
If you are staying in the University accommodation, you should have received/or will receive emails about your contract dates and how you can collect your keys/move in. Please read through all emails carefully as there is a lot important information prior to your arrival from the university. If you're in university accommodation and plan to arrive prior to your contract dates, please visit the early arrivals webpage for information on the accommodation booking process. If you are in private accommodation, you should arrive for your contract dates.
If you would like to find out more about what it is like to live in university or private accommodation, please feel free to contact any Link to Leeds ambassador to help. Besides the university accommodation website, here is a quick A-Z guide for international students that you might find useful!
The UK winter is chilly and dark. If you like sunny days and a warmer climate, it can be difficult to stay positive when its misty or cloudy outside. Here are some of our tips on how to keep positive in winter:
- Keep your curtains open: get as much sunshine as possible. Even on cloudy days, leaving the curtains open can make a difference!
- Exercise: Try out new exercise routines that can be done indoors. It is important to keep active and de-stress.
- Get outside: Try to take time during day light hours for a walk, run or bike ride. The trees will be orange or have no leaves! And it's the perfect time to take plenty of Instagram photos in your hats, boots and winter coats 😉
- Invest in a hot water bottle and a blanket. This will keep you warm at night.
Last but not least, we wish you safe travels to Leeds and we hope to see you soon!