Have you thought about coming to the UK and studying at St Mary's? Maybe you have some unanswered questions on what to expect, how to proceed and what life on campus is like. Below is a short A-Z list on everything you need to know about studying here. A list for you as a potential student, written by a current student.
A – ACCOMMODATION
We offer a range of accommodation to suit all budgets and lifestyles including catered or self-catered, single rooms or shared rooms, and we are confident you will find a place that suits you. If you do not want to live in campus accommodation, check out sites such as Spareroom to find an affordable flat share that suits your needs.
B – BUSES
In London you can find a bus that will take you nearly anywhere. However, traffic can be a little crazy, so be sure to account for some extra time when hopping on London’s famous red double-decker bus!
C – CARS
Should I get a car? This might be a question on your mind. London is very well equipped with public transport offering buses, trains and the tube to meet all of your transportation needs. There is really no reason you would need a car.
D – DEVELOPMENT
At St Mary’s, we want you to be able to develop yourself and your future career, wherever it might take you. That is why we offer face to face teaching with individual feedback and follow ups during the semester. We are dedicated to your success and providing you with the tools and resources you need to get where you want with your studies and career.
E – ENROLMENT
Before you arrive at St Mary’s, you will need to enrol online. Instructions on how to do this will be sent to you closer to the beginning of your studies.
F – FRIENDS
You are a rock star for leaving home behind to go on new adventures, and we are so excited to have you with us. St May’s has a welcoming student community ready to meet you! You can make friends by participating in an extracurricular activity, sport club or society.
G – GRADES
The grades in the UK school system might be a little different from what you are used to. There will be a thorough introduction on how this works in your introduction days. All classes will have a module guide explaining the criteria for the different grades. Your lecturers will explain how the system works once the semester starts.
H – HOMESICKNESS
What if I get homesick? Almost all international students will at some point of their stay experience homesickness. Don’t let it get you down! Reach out to some of your new friends and do something fun together or even reach out to the international office or student wellness. We are here for you through the ups and downs to make sure you have the best year possible.
I – INDUCTION DAYS
As we welcome you to St Mary’s, you will be invited to participate in our induction days for international students. These initial days will provide you with information about anything from using public transport to buying toiletries as well as fun activities to get to know other international students.
J – JOINING THE BRITISH CULTURE
It might feel a bit weird at first being in the land of afternoon tea, a royal family and endless amounts of fish and chips but you will quickly adjust to British culture and society. Try to embrace the culture and be charmed by the polite nature of Brits excusing themselves every time they bump into you on the tube.
K – KINGSTON
St Mary’s University is conveniently located about 20 minutes away from Kingston upon Thames, which offers great possibilities for shopping, nights out and different restaurants. Hop on a bus to explore the area and go on a walk by the Thames.
L – LUGGAGE
If you are flying in from overseas, you might be wondering how much you’re allowed to bring with you. Our advice is to contact your airline directly as luggage allowance might vary according to what ticket you are travelling on.
M – MEDICAL CARE
You will need to register with a GP (general practitioner) in order to receive healthcare in the UK. Here at St Mary’s, we have a nurse available on campus and work closely with York Medical Practice to ensure our students receive the best health care. Information on how to register will be sent to you before your arrival.
N– NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER
In order to work in the UK, you need to register for a National Insurance Number. First, you need to contact a Jobcentre Plus at 0845 600 0643 and make an appointment. Check gov.uk to make sure you have all the required paperwork and remember that you cannot apply for your NIN before you arrive in the UK. Processing times vary between 6 to 8 weeks.
O – OYSTER CARD
Having an Oyster card allows you to travel all over London. As a student at St Mary’s, you also qualify for a student discount! Cards can be purchased at any tube station, however, if you want to take advantage of the discount, you will need to apply for a photo card. If you have a contactless bank card, you can also use this on any public transportation.
P – PHONE
You can bring your own phone with you when relocating. There are several providers that offer monthly plans or even pay as you go SIM cards allowing you to get a UK phone number. You will get more information about this during orientation week.
Q – QUIRKY THINGS TO DO IN LONDON
London is filled with exciting and quirky things to do. Hop on a short train ride: everything that London has to offer is just 30 minutes away! Try a new cuisine at Borough Market, do some shopping on Oxford Street or walk around Hyde Park. If you are feeling adventurous, how about a Harry Potter walking tour? Don’t miss those selfies at platform 9¾!
R – REQUIREMENTS
Entry requirements will vary depending on the country you are applying from. Please also make sure to check if you qualify for English language requirements: you might be required to take an IELTS or TOEFL test for your application.
S – SETTING UP YOUR BANK ACCOUNT
We recommend you wait until you are in the UK to open a student account as it will require you to go to the bank in person. They often require a letter confirming you are a student at St Mary’s as well as proof of residency. You will get more information on the a-z of getting a bank account during orientation week.
T – TUITION
Tuition fees vary depending on whether you’re from an EU or non-EU country and the programme you have chosen. Your official offer letter should provide you with the correct information regarding your tuition. Upon accepting your place you will be given more information on how to pay your fees.
U – UBER
If you do not wish to venture out in the world of public transportation, Uber is known as the students’ Rolls Royce and will take you anywhere you need to go throughout London.
V – VISA
As an international student you might need to get a visa before you arrive at St Mary’s. Be sure to check stmarys.ac.uk with specific information regarding your country or contact the international office if you are unsure whether you need a visa.
W – WEATHER
The weather in the UK can be a little unpredictable and changes very quickly. In the winter time, it gets quite cold so be sure to plan ahead for those winter months. You can also renew your wardrobe as you go. If you like shopping – London is the place!
X – EXCITEMENT
Ok, we know this is cheating but we couldn’t think of one for X (apart from the fact that St Mary’s is very well serviced by three local hospitals should you need an X-ray while you are here!) But seriously, London is an exciting city in which to live. With its world famous tourist attractions, historic buildings, theatres, and free musems, you can never be bored.
Y – YOU ARE IN CHARGE
This is your degree and you are in charge. Make sure that you choose a program that fits you and what you want to do in the future. Don’t worry so much about making friends, moving and starting university. Things will eventually work out on their own. We hope you have the most amazing time at St Mary’s!
Z – ZEN
It might be difficult to maintain a level of Zen once your studies have started. This is why St Mary’s offers a designated area in the library to ensure students have access to some relaxation even in the busiest of times. Sometimes, therapy dogs visit campus to relieve student stress.