Some of our current international students share their tops tips for travelling to the UK and York for university.
Mi Chelle, 1st Year English student, Malaysia
- Make a checklist for everything you need to pack: Visa and immigration documents, clothes and essentials, medicine etc.
- Know how to get to your destination: transport from the airport to York or from the train station to the university for instance.
- Make sure you have some lozenges: If you’re travelling by plane, have some lozenges with you to suck on during the flight to relieve the hoarseness in your throat. Also, get a lip balm or chapstick and lotion as the weather in the UK is quite dry.
- Take a coat: Even if your home country is quite warm, do take a coat along with you instead of keeping them all in your suitcase. You’ll need the coat for when you arrive. Alternatively, wear a long-sleeved jumper.
Yara, 3rd Year Law student, Jordan
- Be ready for the unpredictable weather: Make sure you have clothes that you’ll need for the coldest winters and hottest summers! The weather changes very quickly and drastically, so it’s important to expect that and be ready.
- Keep your documents safe: As an International student, you’d get a BRP (Biometric Permanent Residence). You’ll have loads of important documents for travlling to the UK (passport, home IDs, credit cards, driving licenses). I would suggest that whilst travelling you keep an eye on these and once you settle somewhere, just make sure you keep all these things tucked away safely!
- Be ready to walk – a lot!: Transportation is good here, but sometimes it’s more reliable to walk in case buses get delayed etc. I personally, was not ready to walk as much as I do now, but it’s great because you feel healthier and the scenery is BEAUTIFUL!
- Plan your travel: Getting to York is hectic! So I fly into London and then get the train from there to York. But other people fly into Manchester or Leeds. I would suggest that you plan your flights into the UK according to your needs. So if you would rather fly into London but think that you will be too tired to get the train straight away to York – book a hotel room for a night. Or if you’d rather go into Manchester and then get the train to York, be prepared for your transit flight (if there is one!).
Yuqiao, 3rd Year Politics with International Relations student, China
The easiest way to travel to York: The train is the most common way to commute across the UK. If you want to travel within the country, it’s always a good idea to get a railcard, it allows you to get tickets ⅓ cheaper than the original prices. Flying via Manchester airport would be the closest and easiest way to get to York. From Manchester airport you can catch the train directly at the airport to York. London is also a very popular choice and it only takes two and a half hours to get there. However, it might be a bit tricky to navigate yourself in the underground to Heathrow airport. An easier way is to take the airport express directly at Kings Cross. It would be cheaper if you book it in advance.
Saranporn, MA Applied Linguistics in English Language Teaching, Thailand
Travel options: Familiarise yourself with the maps and directions. It was very helpful for me to use Google map and looked at the street view before I arrived York. So, my first day was very easy for me. Download apps for transportation in York (e.g. First Bus). The apps allow you to check the bus schedule and buy your tickets.
On your very first day, it is advisable to use a taxi or Uber in case you have luggage with you. Most places offer student discounts (e.g. clothing stores, restaurants, transportation). Once you get your student card, don’t forget to ask for special discount.
Dilys, LLM International Corporate and Commercial Law, Ghana
- Always keep essential documents in hand luggage: You will never know when you need to reach for information. So having it in a handy place, will save a lot of time and panic.
- International student support services: Get into contact with the international student support services on the University of York’s website prior to your arrival. More specifically, the free airport collection service, if it is your first time coming to York. Absolute lifesaver!
- Virtually explore York: Through social media platforms such as VisitYork, SparkYork and the University, you can see what York is like before you arrive. Or search hashtags with York included. This gives you an overview of what to expect and a number of possible activities to try out.
- Your checklist: Go over checklist one more time and just be sure every box has been ticked.
- Finally: REST & RELAX!
Maria, MA Post War Recovery Studies, Colombia
Choosing your airport and travel times: My main concern was how to get to York. Because York doesn’t have an airport, you will need to arrive in another part of England. After that take local transport (train or bus) to get to York.
I was thinking about how to do that when I found the free collection service (only for Manchester airport) that the University offers for international students. To use this service, you need to register online and indicate your time of arrival. The University confirms it via email and even give you a number that you can use to ring. Just in case you find yourself in any trouble. Important things about this service is that it runs on specific dates and from specific city airports. So before buying your tickets to England, try to search where and when this service is going to be, so you can plan your journey accordingly.
Srish, 3rd Year English student, India
- Get a Railcard!: It saves you a lot of money and even if you’re someone who isn’t looking to travel a lot, the amount of money you’ll save on the trains to the airport will certainly make up for the cost of the railcard.
- Fly with Virgin when you’re flying to the U.K. for uni!: They have a fantastic programme wherein if you provide them with your valid student visa then you get to bring 3 bags instead of 2. (INDIA TO UK ONLY)
- Get a bus pass: If you know that you’ll be using the bus a lot in York then it is worth getting a bus pass as it will save you a lot of money per bus journey.
- Choose the right airport: It’s best to get a flight to and from Manchester airport or Leeds-Bradford airport as they are quite close to York, compared to Heathrow. Train tickets for London can be quite expensive and the journey in itself is pretty hectic and long!
- Use the Megabus: Make use of the Megabus service from the uni campus, if you’re heading to London. You can get cheap tickets, from as little as £1.
Gracia, PhD Politics, Indonesia
- Itinerary: Book and arrange your itinerary in advance
- Paperwork: Prepare and manage your visa along with other additional requirements (for example health certificate, TB Certificate). Make sure you have collected all important documents during your study.
- Packing: Take care when packing your clothes, books, or other personal stuff. You do not have to bring a lot of daily essentials like toothpaste or soap. The weather and climate between your home country and England might be different.
- Accommodation: Make sure you have already secured your accommodation in York, especially if you are interested in living off campus.
Manxin, 2nd Year Education student, China
- Student discount: Bring your student card and get your discount nearly everywhere. e.g. The bus ticket has students discount, and you can go to the York Minster for free.
- Experience: Get comfortable shoes as you can walk throughout the City Centre to experience the historical landmarks in York.
- Download google maps