Living in the UK

Coming to study in a completely different country can sound like a daunting experience, however we are here to support you at every step during the process. This is why Loughborough University has put together this A to Z guide to help you become familiar with living in the UK. 


Most banks are normally open daily between 09.30 – 17.30 hrs, Monday to Friday inclusive. In addition, some banks open later on one day each week and/or on Saturday mornings.

Open a bank account

It can take up to five working days to open a bank account, so it is advisable to have some sterling in cash and travellers cheques on arrival to meet immediate expenses during your first weeks in the UK. To open an account you will need to provide documents including your identification, proof of student status, and details of your UK and home address.

The Union is currently the location of the University’s only on-campus Bank, Santander.

If you need any advice on opening a bank account, you can contact Student Enquiries: T: 01509 222491 E:


There is a regular bus service (Sprint) which operates between Loughborough railway station, the town centre and the University campus. The journey from the University into the town centre costs approximately £1.60 and the journey to the train station costs approximately £1.90


Notes are in denominations of £50, £20, £10 and £5 while coins are available in £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p. Try to avoid £50 notes if possible. Do not carry large amounts of cash.

Child care

Our Students’ Union runs a day nursery on campus. Please contact the nursery at the earliest possible to enquire about places. T: +44 (0)1509 234126 E:


During the day for your classes you may dress informally. However, you would be expected to dress appropriately for formal occasions – usually women wear dresses and men wear suits. Depending on where you are travelling from, you may need to buy items of clothing suited to the British climate, such as a warm and waterproof coat, pyjamas, sweaters and socks. Such items may be more easily available to buy in Britain when you arrive.

Council Tax

Council Tax is a type of property tax charged on residential dwellings, but most students are exempt from paying this charge.


Make sure that your bicycle is in good working order; you must have working lights on your bicycle – a white one at the front and a red one at the back. It is an offence to cycle at night without lights. Lights can be purchased from the on-campus bike shop, COGZ, or any cycling shop at very little cost.

Do not ride on the pavement – unless it is a designated cycle path (indicated by a blue sign with a bicycle on it. There may also be markings on the pavement showing a bicycle.)

If you are cycling on the road make sure that you follow the flow of the traffic cycling on the left hand side and always wear a cycle helmet. These can be purchased from COGZ. Make yourself as visible as possible when cycling by wearing reflective and fluorescent clothing. For further information on cycling please refer to:


Before driving any vehicle (car, motorbike, van, etc.) in the UK you should check that you meet all of the legal requirements which apply to the driver and the vehicle and that you are aware of the correct licensing and taxation procedures, which may be very different from your home country.

Students from countries outside the European Economic Area and students who hold a non-Community licence or an International Driving Permit may drive here for up to 12 months. It is advisable to take a few driving lessons in the UK as this will assist you with the driving rules and regulations in the UK. Detailed information about all aspects of using a car etc can be found on the website of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA):

In the UK, vehicles are driven on the left-hand side of the road.

Electrical equipment

The standard electricity supply in Britain is 220/240 volts, 50 cycles AC, and the standard socket is designed to take a 13-amp square three-pin plug. If you intend to use a two-pin socket or plug, you will need to buy an international voltage or plug adapter. You should be able to buy an adapter on arrival in the UK. You can buy many items of electrical equipment when you arrive in the UK (e.g. a hairdryer costs about £20).


If you do not have a washing machine or drying facility where you are living, you can take your washing to a launderette where there are coin-operated washing machines and dryers.

Medical Insurance

If you are not an EEA/Swiss national and are coming to the UK for less than six months you may not have access to full National Health Services and should take out medical insurance for the duration of your stay.

Register with the Medical Centre

Search for and complete the ‘Registration Form’ from and send it to the Medical Centre (either by post, or by handing it in when you arrive). If you are currently taking medication please bring one month’s supply of medicine with you when you leave home.

Part-time work

After you have enrolled on your course in the UK, you can register with Loughborough Student Employment to find local part-time and vacation work. Information about jobs that are currently available can be seen on the Loughborough Student Employment Exchange website:


British people love to queue! Well, not really, but we do so in order to ensure fairness - if you go to the beginning of a queue, you will cause offence to other shoppers.


Children from 5-16 must go to school (or receive comparable education at home) and are expected to attend regularly and arrive punctually. Attendance at state schools is free of charge. Our Student Support Centre (SSC) runs a school liaison scheme for all international students who wish to place their children in a nearby school.

More details can be found by contacting the Student Support Centre T: +44 (0)1509 222058 E:


Loughborough has a popular street market on Thursday and Saturday for groceries, clothing and other items, and a bustling high street with a variety of shops. Large supermarkets and smaller groceries stocking international goods can be found in the town centre. Items for sale are marked with a price and you will be expected to pay that - it is not possible to bargain over prices at British shops.


It’s important to decide on a way to spell your name using the English alphabet, and then always stick to that spelling. If there are differences in spelling across your documentation this can cause you difficulties in opening a bank account, travel tickets etc.


If you have brought your mobile phone with you, we recommend purchasing a UK Sim card. There are network providers at all airports, railway stations or at stores near to your accommodation. The rate will vary depending on the network provider but will start from £5 for minutes and text bundles. The network advisor will ensure that you are provided with the appropriate Sim card and all the information you need for setting up on your UK number.


Always use the pavement. If there isn’t a pavement, then it is safest to walk on the right-hand side of the road so that you can see any oncoming traffic. When crossing the road, always use a crossing when there is one and be extra careful looking both ways before stepping into the road.


The weather in the UK is varied and changeable with warm summers and cool winters. In summer, temperatures tend to vary between about 19 and 23°C, with daylight of around 16 hours a day. In winter, the temperature generally varies between 0 and 10°C, though it can very occasionally drop to a little below 0°C at night, and the daylight hours shorten to around 8 hours.