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Whether it’s your first time here or you’re coming back to us after spending time at home, we’re here to make sure your arrival is as easy as possible. Studying at St Mary’s is a fun and rewarding experience – this year will be too.

The International Department is a good source of information. If you’re ever not sure about anything or if you need a bit of extra support, please get in touch with us by emailing international@stmarys.ac.uk. Social events are a little different this year, but we recommend that you look out for virtual and in-person activities organised by the Students’ Union. They’re a great way to make friends. We’ll be running an online orientation programme in January 2021, so if your course starts then, we’ll email you with information about that.

Quarantine

If you’re coming from certain countries, you’ll need to quarantine for two weeks when you arrive in the UK. If you need to quarantine, you should avoid taking public transport to get to your accommodation if at all possible, to limit the possible spread of the coronavirus. Please email international@stmarys.ac.uk if you need support with your travel arrangements.

If you’ll be living on campus, you’ll quarantine in the same room that you’ve been allocated for the year. You might be in the same area as other international students or you might be on your own until more students arrive later. Please make sure to confirm your arrangements with our Accommodation Service well before you arrive.

If you’ll be living in private accommodation and you need to quarantine, you’ll need to get in touch with your landlord or accommodation manager to confirm your arrival date and quarantine arrangements. Remember to let us know if you need help travelling to your accommodation without using public transport.

Wherever you’re quarantining, we’ll be there if you need anything. Our online international orientation events will keep new students connected to each other, and if you have to arrive late because of visa or travel problems, you can even join in from your home country. We’re always here to help so if you have any questions, just ask.

Can my family visit the campus?

If your family will be arriving from a country on the government’s quarantine list, then it will be difficult for them to visit you. We recommend they delay their trip until the advice changes.

If they’ll be arriving from a country not on the quarantine list, then of course they’re welcome to come and see you. However, please remember you’re not allowed overnight guests in halls.

I'm new to St Mary's. When should I arrive?

If you’ve applied for university accommodation and you need to quarantine, please wait until you’ve heard from us before you make arrangements. We’ll email you with all the details about your move in date.

If you’re staying in private accommodation and you need to quarantine, please try to arrive in the UK two weeks before your course starts.

If you don’t need to quarantine, you should aim to arrive the week before your course starts. For most courses starting in January 2021, that’s the week of the 25 January.

We’ve heard that some students are experiencing visa delays and problems with flights this year. If you have trouble arriving in or returning to the UK, please let us know. We can advise you on who to tell and some online activities you can engage with.

How does quarantine work?

Quarantining may sound scary, but it just means that you’ll need to stay at home for the first two weeks after you arrive to limit the possible spread of the coronavirus. You will need to quarantine unless the country where you live is exempt from quarantine requirements. The exemption list is updated frequently, so please keep checking it before you travel to make sure your situation hasn’t changed. Exemption is based on residence, not nationality, so even UK citizens may have to quarantine when returning from abroad. 

Everyone travelling to the UK has to fill in a Passenger Locator Form 48 hours before entering the country and bring the confirmation email they receive with them. Your confirmation may be checked when you arrive, and you can be fined if you haven’t filled it in. The form asks for your address in the UK. If you’re quarantining, the Government may visit you to make sure you’re staying at the address you provided, and again, you can be fined if you’re not complying with the requirement. The fines involved range from £1,000 - £10,000, so please make sure to follow the rules!

The UK Government has comprehensive guidelines for you to follow during your quarantine period (they call it self-isolation). The guidelines say that you can’t leave your accommodation for anything other than an emergency, or to get food or medicine if there’s no way to have them delivered. You shouldn’t have visitors while you’re quarantining, but you can quarantine as a shared household with other international travellers moving in on the same day as you. It’s also OK to live with friends or family while you’re quarantining, as long as you take care to separate yourself from others as much as possible. You should also pay special attention to your health and follow NHS guidelines and the information on SIMMSpace if you feel unwell.

What should I do now?

If you’re living on campus, you need to make quarantine arrangements well in advance by contacting our Accommodation team. Only students who are living at St Mary’s for the full year can quarantine on campus, and only certain rooms are suitable for quarantining, so they need to make a lot of arrangements before they can confirm your room. 

If you’re renting private housing or living in a private hall of residence, please check with your management company or landlord to make sure your accommodation is suitable for quarantining and ask what support they can provide. Some students who haven’t been able to quarantine in their permanent accommodation have told us they’ve stayed in hotels or in an Airbnb. If you have questions or need help, please contact international@stmarys.ac.uk.

How should I take care of my daily needs while quarantining?

If you’re living on campus, our catering team will deliver your meals from our Refectory. If you’re living in private housing, most supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Iceland, have delivery services. You can also get supplies from online stores like Amazon. Many local restaurants have delivery services, and apps like Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats are another great way to get a varied diet. 

When you’re packing, bring enough toiletries to last you for 14 days. It’s also really important that you pack an adapter that works in UK sockets, because you’ll need to charge your devices and you won’t be able to leave your accommodation to buy one. You may have access to a washing machine if you’re living in private housing, but students living on campus should bring enough clean clothes to last through their quarantine period. You’ll be able to use the Washeteria, our on-campus laundrette, once you’re done quarantining. Students who have already been through it recommend that you bring snacks, downloaded movies, and lots of reading material.

How can I make the best of this situation?

We know that quarantining is a strange way to start your time in the UK. Remember that you’re not alone - international students all over the world are experiencing similar challenges, and lots of St Mary’s students will be quarantining too.

Keeping busy can help the time go quickly.While you’re self-isolating, remember to keep a daily routine, get some exercise (we love the Body Coach!) and stay connected to friends and family. St Mary’s offers excellent mental health support at a distance from Togetherall and our Wellbeing team. If you have any special concerns, or if you will need extra support while you quarantine, please email the International team.