Life at UCB through the eyes of our student bloggers

What to do and buy on arrival (advice to new students)

What to do and buy on arrival (advice to new students)

With so much going on at the moment it’s natural to become a bit stressed and to forget important things that you really need to do once you arrive to Birmingham. But fear not, I am here to help you!

UCBlogger Ellie already posted some advice for new students in a general perspective – – but I wanted to give different bits of advice for both UK residents and international students.

As a non-UK resident myself there was a lot of bureaucracy that I didn’t know I had to take care of so Google and existing UCB students were my life savers. My advice would be to sort them out in the first week so that you can relax and enjoy your first days of uni to the fullest.

I’ll list down below not only what you should do/buy once you arrive but also what you definitely need to bring with you:


  • Citizen Card/Passport (if you don’t have a passport I recommend doing one, not only because it’s more trustworthy for employers for example but also because some courses at UCB have compulsory overseas trips for places which the citizen card may not be valid in)
  • All official university correspondence, including confirmation letter
  • All student finance letters (if you are entitled to one)
  • Details of accommodation and contract
  • Bank account – if you are an international student or simply don’t have an account this is one of the first things you have to sort out once you’re in Birmingham. Check out the student friendly bank accounts and don’t forget you’ll need your identification and a banking letter that you can get from Student Services on the 7th floor of Summer Row
  • International students need to apply for a National Insurance number. Call +44 (0) 345 600 0643 to make an appointment at a Job Centre near you – you won’t be able to work without this number. You’ll need to take your citizen card or passport and basically say that you want to study and work.
  • International students must also register with a GP and bring insurance documents with them, if applicable
  • Don’t forget to apply for UniDays as well – it’s free!


  • Definitely buy a plug adapter (or a couple of them) – you’ll need them!
  • Cute and affordable items for your uni room/house: Ikea (by far my favourite), Primark, B&M, Tiger and Poundland (just to mention a few). To make it as cosy as possible buy some fairy lights, cushions and a blanket, add photos with family and friends and try to add a scent to your room (if living in halls it can’t be candles or incense). Make sure things like duvets, bedsheets and clothes hangers also make it to your list.
  • Don’t forget the stationery like pens and pencils, highlighters, a notepad, post it notes and of course a diary to keep every important date and deadlines organised! You probably won’t need to buy any book to read for your course as the university library (on the 5th floor of Summer Row) has more than enough options and you also have lots of online resources like Mintel, Cobra, etc.

Don’t buy kitchen supplies before confirming what the accommodation provides. Also, don’t carry around shower gel or stuff that you can buy once you arrive!

This is a very short list but I hope it helps 😊