Survival Tips for International Students

Are you coming to the University of Bradford for the first time? Here's our guide to getting on!


1. Join your Student Union’s sports clubs and societies 

This is one of the easiest ways to make friends at University. There are lots of Sports Clubs (including basketball, football and cricket – for both males and females) and societies (including national societies for many countries, as well as activities and interests) so I am sure you will find something that you like. Go here to have a look:- and

2. ‘Thanks, my love’ doesn’t mean the British speaker loves you. 

The British like to use endearment terminology like ‘love’, ‘babe’, ‘darling’ in their everyday language. It usually doesn’t mean anything.

3. British currency


The size of the coins doesn’t reflect the actual value of the coins, which is crazy!  For example, the one pound coin is smaller than the two pence coin!

A new 12 sided pound coin is being used in the UK now –if you get any round pound coins in your change, spend them before 15 October 2017!  After that you can’t spend them in the shops (though you can change them at the bank or Post Office).

4. Be brave and go out of your comfort zone.

Always utilise opportunities to practise your English. Join a society, sports club or even attend events to mingle with students. There is a discussion group for international students in Room 101 on Wednesdays at 3pm. In Room 101 you can also join language classes to learn new languages, improve your English and even teach others your language (how cool is that?!).

5. Explore other cities in the UK.

The student union organises trips to other places such as Liverpool, Manchester, Cambridge and other big cities and tourist places. You can find details on our website.

6. Meal times and names - Dinner at ‘lunch’ time or dinner at ‘tea’ time…?  

The names of meals changes depending on where you are in the country, and sometimes who you are talking to.

  • Breakfast 7-8am
  • ‘Dinner’ (meaning Lunch) 12-2
  • ‘Tea’ (meaning Dinner) 5-8pm
  • Supper 8-10pm

7. Friday= Fish and Chips!

Fish and Chips

The British loveeeeee the good old fish and chips from the local chippie, particularly for their tea on a Friday! Make sure you try it at least once (and chips and fries are not the same thing, chips are much thicker).

8. Register for the Doctor!

Don’t forget to register for the doctors. It is an important thing that a lot of international students tend to forget to do until they have an emergency. You can ask in Room 101 to find out how to do this.

9. Shops close early (in fact, way toooo early)

The shops in most British town centres close at 5pm or 5.30pm.

10. Be cautious when you are out and about

Be cautious when using smart phones on the street. This doesn’t mean that you should not use phones while walking.  Just to be aware of people and environment around you. This isn’t a particular problem in Bradford, be cautious anywhere in the UK.

11. Freshers Week

Freshers Week is one of the best weeks during University, and it is great opportunity to meet a lot of new people, make friends and get involved in everything the Students Union has to offer. Make sure you head to Freshers' Fayre so you can sign up to all those clubs! Freshers Fair is on Wednesday 20th September, 10am-4pm in the Students' Union. There will be lots of freebies too.

12. The British are too polite to say what they really mean

The British often have difficulty saying what they really mean, for example saying 'no' or making a critical comment, for fear of causing offence or upset. They also have things they find it hard to talk about such as their wage, etc. If you are usually open and direct in your opinions you may not understand what British people really mean.

13. Would you like some support for your academic studies? 

Visit the ‘Academic Skills Advice Centre’ in the Chesham Building (or the ‘Effective Learning Service’ if you are a business and management student). Both offer great support for your studies. Be smart by making the most of the support provided.

14. ‘Puddings’

You must try all the different British puddings while you are studying here: ‘Yorkshire pudding’, ‘black pudding’, ‘rice pudding’, ‘sticky-toffee pudding’, ‘bread and butter pudding’, ‘Christmas pudding’ etc. But they are not all sweet, you won’t believe what some of them are made from! (Black pudding for example is made from blood!!).

15. Discounts

Get the NUS card, which will give you loads of discounts in shops in the UK, from food shopping in Co-op supermarkets to high street shops. NUS cards now come with ISIC so you can save all over the world ! They only cost £12 and can save you hundreds of pounds. You can buy them from your Students Union and UBU Sports are giving away hundreds of them as part of our Team Bradford Bundle when you join UBU Sports.

16. Bradford Curry

Do you know ‘chicken tikka masala’, a curry dish, is the most popular meal in the UK ? - More so than fish and chips!  There are many great curry restaurants near the university for you to try. Bradford regularly wins the ‘Curry Capital of Britain’ competition!

17. Punctuality

The British respect punctuality, so make sure you are always on time, especially for doctors’ appointments and your lectures. It is considered very rude to be late.

18. ID cards

The British don’t have ID cards (although people tend to carry their driving licenses with them). So it is perfectly fine to go out without taking your passport – maybe keep your passport and your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP card) if you have one, in a safe place in your room!  

19. Volunteer and get work experience

UBU have a volunteering centre where you can find opportunities (from working with children and old people to opportunities which relate to your degree) to volunteer in many different organisations to gain employability skills for you C.V. and to practice your English. You can find more information here:-

20. Questions?

If you have any questions or problems, contact your Students Union. We are here to represent you on all levels - at the university and on local and national level. You can contact us at or


International Students