Don’t forget your toothbrush!

International students, this one’s for you! In this post, property rental expert Ian Muir gives his tips on what and how to prepare for your move to the UK to start university. Thanks, Ian! 🙂

Moving to another country with a different language and culture is a BIG move. It can be exciting and stressful. I think it’s a very brave decision and I admire you for it.

As well as the academic benefits, the experience will be memorable, and it will be one to look back on for the rest of your life. Undoubtedly it will make you a better, more understanding and capable person with a greater ability to cope with events that life throws at you.

Not everything will go smoothly, but let’s see if we can help you minimise those worries about moving. You’ll most likely forget something, but hopefully nothing important and there will certainly be things you’ll miss from home. You’ll probably want to pack your whole bedroom, as well as all the towels, bedding and kitchen utensils that your mother thinks you’ll need. #prepareforeverything.

Rather than write a long article with a lot to take in, this post is intended to help you get organised before your move. It covers the essentials and items you’ll need to sort out and give more thought to so you don’t forget to do something crucial in all the excitement!

In my next post, I’ll then cover the items you need to pack so you don’t leave anything important back at home.

Right then, off we go…

The essentials to sort out:

  • Passport, which must be valid for the whole length of your stay in the UK
  • Visa (where applicable)
  • Driving license and proof of identity. If you’re planning to rent a property or even share a rented property as your main home, your landlord is now required by law to make sure they see the originals of your proof of ID, and your visa if you have one. Keep these documents in good condition before you leave for the UK and during your stay.
  • Admissions letter and course acceptance
  • Student accommodation or, if you’re planning to find accommodation when you arrive, a hostel, air bnb or hotel for your first week or so.
    Travel arrangements to the UK once you know when your tenancy agreement and/or course starts
  • How you will get from where you arrive in the UK to your accommodation, be it an internal flight, train, coach or taxi transfer
  • Contact your accommodation before you leave to confirm your expected arrival time, key collection/ how to access the property and what they are providing e.g. bedding, kitchen equipment etc.
  • Open a bank account with internet banking and both a debit card and credit card. Before you leave home, test that you can transfer money easily and securely to and from this account.
  • Travel and medical insurance for your time in the UK
  • Personal medication and your prescription in English
  • Contact lenses or glasses and your prescription in English
  • A good password management system. Be very careful about how you store your passwords and consider using an online password manager such as Dashlane or LastPass

There are a lot of great apps out there…

These will help to make organising everything that little bit easier. I travel a lot and recommend the following:

  • For organising train journeys: Trainline
  • For directions: Google Maps or Here WeGo, which has also proved very good in other countries.
  • In London: Tube Map, and Bus Checker.
  • For taxis in cities: Uber, although it is unlikely to be helpful in areas outside the bigger cities.
  • For keeping in touch: Skype, WhatsApp. Sort this out early, making sure your friends download the same app and you give it a try before you leave.
  • For translating languages: iTranslate or Google Translate.

I hope you find this information helpful. Although there’s a lot of organising to do, it’s not complicated and the earlier you can get everything ready, the easier you’ll find it.

From my experience of Project Management, using spreadsheets can really help, along with setting timelines with diary reminders. I have put together a spreadsheet so you can make sure you have prepared everything that you need. Please email me at if you’d like me to send you a copy.

All the best and keep an eye out for my next post.


Ian Muir is a property refurbisher, landlord, ex corporate trainer and author of ‘Smart Students Guides: Renting Property’. He wants to pass on his extensive knowledge so students save money, avoid the rogues and pitfalls and get their deposit refunded when renting property in the UK. His book will be on Amazon shortly; until then if you’d like a copy, send him an email at . 🙂




For more great information on how to have a happier and more successful time as a student sign up for our free guide about the most common student mistakes to avoid and how here !  🙂


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