International student essentials
Essential information for moving to the UK.
Start thinking about and planning what you’re going to pack when you move to the UK.
Here’s our advice on what to bring!
- 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
- 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
Remember to consider your travel from the airport to Sheffield when deciding how many bags to bring. For example, if you’re travelling by train, there may be less space to store your luggage as the train could be busy. See our advice on travelling to Sheffield from the airport.
A selection of clothes - weather in the UK changes a lot 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 order kits from UniKitOut that include basic items for your bedroom, kitchen, bathroom or all three. This includes items like pillows and blankets, cooking equipment such as cutlery and pans, and towels and toiletries. You can choose when your kit is delivered, so that it arrives on the day you move in.
You can also buy these kinds of items 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.
Here are some essentials you need to know for living in the UK.
- How to open a bank account
See the following page for information on how to open a bank account in the UK:
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.
For more cost of living support and information, please see our cost of living support page:
- Local shops
There are many grocery stores around the city. These are the closest to our University accommodation areas:
Ranmoor and EndcliffeVillage Store (Endcliffe student village)
Tesco Express (Broomhill)
City accommodation sites
Tesco Express (West Street)
Tesco Express (Edward Street)
Ozmen (John Street) - international supermarket
Taste the Orient (Glossop Road)
If you want to buy items like kitchen equipment or bedding (especially when you first move in!), you might want to shop at:
- Opening times
Remember that many shops close at around 5pm in the UK.
Grocery stores usually stay open until later, typically until around 10 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.
- 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.
- Getting around Sheffield
It’s easy to get around Sheffield using local public transport, and some public transport such as buses, you can get a discount using your student card.
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. Find more information about these schemes here.
- 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. 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.
If you’re looking for more advice about living in the UK, sign up for the International Student Success programme for free before you arrive. This online programme aims to give you the information and skills to prepare for and adjust to life in the UK.