International Student Transitioning to Uni Guide

four students walking towards a bus stop

Congrats, you’ve moved on to a new stage in life! (in another country even). Gone are exam worries (kinda) and waking up early to iron your uniform!   

The University of Reading welcomes students from all parts of the world and we’ve put together some tips to welcome you to the University of Reading and help you settle down.   

Alternative Identity Documents

When you don’t want to carry your passport or Biometric Residency Card (BRC)/visa card around (especially if it’s for a quick drink from Tesco), here’s another alternative; the Citizen Card.   

A Citizen Card is a government-issued ID used in the UK by many. We recommend students get one for day-to-day identification purposes. They’re easier and cheaper to replace compared to a passport or BRC (a visa card could require a trip to London, at least £85, and months of processing).   

A Citizen Card usually costs £15 for Standard Application and £30 for Urgent/Fast-track Application. You can apply for one on their website.   

Opening a Student Bank Account

You can try opening an account before you arrive or as soon as you arrive.   

When you apply for a student bank account, you’ll need some documents which include proof of identity (passport, driver’s license, etc) and proof of your student status or student-to-be. You can download your proof of enrolment from the RISIS portal by going to Actions -> Student Self Service -> Certificate of Enrolment. You can also download a Bank Letter that can help register for a UK bank account (it’s right above the Certificate of Enrolment link)  

There are many banks in the town centre that offer walk-in services, no need to book an appointment before opening an account. Some of them include:

  • Santander: Equipped with Santander Boosts and zero travel fees when you use Santander cash machines. 
  • HSBC: No monthly account fees and home & away offers programme. 
  • NatWest 
  • Lloyds Bank

Check out UoR’s guide to opening a UK bank account for more details. 

International Postal Services

There are lots of post offices in Reading, but they don’t all offer international shipping. You should look for post offices that use international couriers like FedEx and DHL   

A popular choice is Mail Boxes Etc on London Street (15 minutes away from London Road Campus). 

You can also use your nearest DHL Express Service Point to send packages. 

Salons and Barbershops

When you feel like getting a trim or completely changing your hair, these are the places/people to visit:  

Finding International Food

If you’re missing the taste of home or just don’t feel up to cooking (we’ve all been there), you can order takeaway with apps such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and Just Eat. Packed with international cuisine, discounts, and promotions, you’ll never be short of options. 

We hope you find this helpful and welcome you again to the University of Reading!  

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