Settling into college or university can be difficult as is, let alone as an International Student in a completely new country. With this in mind and using help from our amazing International Student and HISA Volunteer, Emilie Maasard, we’ve rounded up our top tips and best advice for finding your feet on this new adventure:
Take a look at all the banks available in your area, there’s usually a lot to choose from - so do your research or take the time to pop in and have a chat with one of the staff members to make sure you choose the one best for you! We recommend you look on their website to see all their different bank accounts. Most banks will have student accounts, for instance, which might be useful for you. Or you might want a simple current account (regular account), or a savings account. When you look at the bank accounts, make sure there are no fees included.
Once you have chosen your bank account, you will be able to set up your account. To do this, you will need to call your chosen bank and make an appointment. Online, the bank will specify what documents they need (usually ID, proof of address) but remember that they may require signed copies, meanign you might have to visit the branch in store or use a scanner. Remember that if you live in the college residence, your local college can provide you with a proof of address. When you are at your appointment, remember to ask for internet banking and Mobile banking. This will be a lot easier for you to make a transfer or check your balance online!
Take a look online at the medical centres nearest to you. On their website, they will have a list of documents to bring (ID, proof of address (like a tenancy agreement) and the medical form). If you need to print or make a photocopy, you can go to your local stationery store. You’ll need a USB stick with your online document on it. Your college’s library will also offer printing services, and all you need is your student details to access the computer (Student ID + UHI password), and your student card. Remember, campus access might be limited due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but if you reach out to your local student support they will be able to help you.
To be able to apply for employement in the UK, you will need to apply for a National Insurance Number. Find out more about how to do this at: www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number.
Make the best CV you can, with your qualities, your education, your experience, how many languages you speak, and your personal details. For a part-time job, we recommend sticking to a one page CV where possible. The best way to look for employment is online, on the official recruitment pages, such as Indeed or by walking around your area and handing out CVs to businesses. Restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and small shops might be looking for new employees and are always a good place to start.
S1 Jobs is a great tool to use in your search for employment, as well as local Facebook job advertisement pages which are very resourceful in more rural areas of Scotland as are local newspapers
Remember, the UHI Careers and Employability team are always on hand to help you! As a student of the university you can make an appointment for a career conversation (by telephone, e-mail or videoconference), personalised CV and application form support, interview preparation and job searching. You can also access career development workshops/events and a range of career and employability information. All of this can be done through the online careers portal, FutureMe, to which all students have access.
Check with your local accommodation provider what essentials you may need, as this might vary depending on where you are located across the network.
HISA recommends picking up your study essentials ahead of time, so you’re prepared for whatever your new course might throw at you! Most supermarkets and stationery stores stock notebooks, coloured pens, highlighters and USBs - ensuring you have everything you need for your first semester.
Scotland is notoriously cold, so remember to stock up on warm clothes which will keep you cosy all year round! We recommend having a good quality winter coat, scarf, gloves, hat, boots and big socks all at hand just in case the weather takes a turn. If you’re joining one of our various halls of residencies, you will need to purchase all living essentials. This might include kitchenware such as pots, pans, plates and cutlery, or things to kit out your personal room such as bed sheets, shower curtains and more!
University or college isn’t just about qualification and getting involved in activities outside of studying is a major component of the student experience. At HISA, our clubs and societies empower our students to find like-minded groups, discover new skills and feel included. We now have 89 diverse students groups affiliated across the university, and continue to encourage the student body to establish new groups that best represent them. Have a look at all the options here!
If you are an international student from the EU, EAA or Switzerland and arrived in the UK before the 1st January you will need to apply for the EU settlement scheme. You can find more info on this on the UK Government website here.