International student essentials

Essential information for moving to the UK.


What you need to pack

Hand luggage

We recommend that you bring the following items in your hand luggage: 

  • Documents with your CAS number and/or details of your course
  • Details of your accommodation
  • A recent bank statement
  • Any medical documents
  • A pen, so you can complete a landing card on the plane
  • Your passport!

Hold luggage

We recommend including the following in your hold luggage:

  • UK adaptors or UK-compatible plugs for your electrical items
  • Small items for your room that remind you of home

Consider your travel from the airport to Sheffield when deciding how many bags to bring. If you’re travelling by train, there may be less space to store your luggage. Check our advice on travelling to Sheffield from the airport.

Bring a selection of clothes. The weather in the UK changes a lot from day to day. It’s best to bring clothes you can layer, as well as warm outerwear and a waterproof coat. You might find yourself taking layers off and putting them back on frequently, as Sheffield has lots of hills and you’re likely to get warm when walking around the city!

Where to get essential items when you arrive

You might not be able to fit everything in your luggage, but anything else you need, you can get when you arrive in the UK.

You can buy basic items for your bedroom, kitchen, bathroom from shops around the city.

Remember to check what items you can and can’t bring, and don’t bring any restricted items into the UK. Take a look at the government guidance for more information.

What you need to know


How to open a bank account

See the following page for information on how to open a bank account in the UK:

Student banking


The currency used in the UK is British Pound Sterling, or GBP.

You will find that in most shops you can pay with cash or card, but some places will allow you to pay with card only. For example, Our Shop and Coffee Revolution in the Students’ Union building only take card payments.

We recommend bringing a small amount of cash with you. You might not use cash everyday, but you never know when you might need it.

Average rent prices

The average rent for student accommodation in Sheffield is between £500 and £800 per month. It will vary depending on the type of accommodation you choose. You may be asked to pay your rent in three instalments across the year.

You are likely to be asked to pay a security deposit and your first month of rent prior to moving in.

Average food prices

The average amount one person spends on groceries for one week in the UK is around £30 - £45. This can vary depending on where you choose to shop.

If you choose to eat out, you will also need to budget for this. Cafés and restaurants on the University campus are often cheaper than non-University venues.

Coffee is popular in the UK. The average price of a coffee from a café is around £3.50.

For an up to date list of average prices in Sheffield, visit cost of Living in Sheffield.

Our Cost of living support for students web page can show you all the support on offer from the University and Students’ Union, from financial help to free facilities and discounts across campus.


Local shops

There are many grocery stores around the city. These are the closest to our University accommodation areas:

  • Village Store (Endcliffe student village)
  • Morrisons (Broomhill)
  • Tesco Express (Broomhill)
  • City accommodation sites
  • Tesco Express (West Street) 
  • Tesco Express (Edward Street)
  • Lidl (Fargate)
  • Ozmen (John Street) - international supermarket
  • Moor Market
  • Taste the Orient (Glossop Road)

If you want to buy items like kitchen equipment or bedding (especially when you first move in), there are many stores in the city centre, but you may also want to shop at:


Meadowhall shopping centre

Opening times

Remember that many shops close at around 5pm in the UK. 

Grocery stores usually stay open until later, typically until around 10pm or 11pm, but might close earlier on Sundays.

Make sure you check shop opening times if you are planning to buy essential items, especially on the day you move in.

Public transport

Travelling to Sheffield from the airport

If you’re arriving into Manchester Airport you may be able to use our Meet and Greet service. For all other airports you can use public transport. 

Make sure you check the bus and train timetables before you arrive, as public transport in the UK doesn’t run all night. You might need to arrange a taxi if you’re arriving late at night or early in the morning.

Travelling to Sheffield from the airport 

Getting around Sheffield

It’s easy to get around Sheffield using local public transport, and you can get a discount using your student card on some public transport, such as buses.

Trams usually run from 5:30am and stop around 12:30am.

Buses typically run from around 6:30am to 10:30pm.

Public transport stops running earlier on Sundays than on other days, so make sure you check times if you’re planning to travel around Sheffield on a Sunday.

You can also use taxis to get around Sheffield. The Students’ Union runs a Safe Taxi scheme for nights out, as well as a Safety Minibus to pick you up from outside the Students’ Union building. The Stay Safe web page has more information. 

Other information

Cell phone providers

Make sure you check whether your cell phone will work in the UK and whether you need to buy a UK sim card.

Cell phone operators in the UK include:


We recommend registering with the University Health Service (UHS). If you are a new student, you can register with UHS during your online pre-registration or after you arrive in Sheffield.

You will not be charged for care you receive at the University Health Service or for treatment received within the Accident and Emergency department of a hospital.

You may be charged for other treatment on the National Health Service (NHS), depending on factors including your nationality, visa and how long you are studying in the UK for.

Healthcare for international students

Accessing Healthcare as an International Student

For more advice about living in the UK, sign up for the International Student Success programme before you arrive. This free online programme will give you the information and skills to prepare for, and adjust to, life in the UK.

International Student Success programme