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Moving To Leicester: The Foundations

By ResLifeMatthew 02 Oct 2023

Starting university in a new city is often a daunting prospect for many, and the challenge can feel even greater when you're making the leap to an entirely different continent, country, and city, as I did four years ago when I embarked on my journey as an international student in Leicester. However, whether you're arriving from a far-off continent or just a neighbouring town, the transition to university is a unique adventure for everyone. Drawing from my own experiences, I’m here to offer guidance on how to settle into university life. From forging new friendships to navigating practical matters like setting up a bank account, registering with a GP, and exploring your new surroundings, this article aims to provide valuable insights for a smooth transition into university life.

Forming new friendships can be a breeze for some, particularly those who exude confidence. However, it's essential to recognize that not everyone is naturally self-assured in social situations. A fantastic place to initiate the process of making friends is within your accommodation. If you're residing in a flat, your flatmates are a great starting point. Even if you're in a studio, consider reaching out to those on your floor. Reflecting on my own experiences, I can say that most of the friends I cherish today are individuals I met during my first year in the Croft accommodation building located in the pavilions(and let me tell you, in my unbiased opinion if you have the privilege of staying there, you are a legend by default). Additionally, the general pavilions area proved to be a good starting ground for forming connections.

It's crucial to remember that most people you encounter are also newcomers to the city, and everyone is essentially in the same boat. Therefore, don't hesitate to break the ice and say hello. In addition to this, attending fresher events and parties, as well as becoming a part of university societies, offers excellent opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals. While it might feel intimidating at first, stepping out of your comfort zone is essential. You might discover your people within the first week of university, or it may take some time – and that's perfectly okay. Keep in mind that everyone's journey is unique and unfolds at its own pace.

What do you need to do first?

Establishing a bank account might appear to be a daunting task, but in reality, it's a relatively straightforward process. Most banks offer a convenient online setup procedure where you can easily input your information and provide the necessary documentation electronically. For international students, you'll typically require proof of registration, a bank letter (available on mystudentrecord under the documents tab), and your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

The entire process, from initiating your account setup to receiving your debit card, usually takes around five to seven days at most. Some well-known banks to consider for this purpose include Santander, HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, and NatWest. Additionally, online banks like Monzo can be particularly handy as secondary accounts, especially when traveling, as they typically don't impose foreign transaction fees.

Moving forward, the next step in your journey is registering with a General Practitioner (GP), and you'll find it to be a straightforward process. For university students, it is highly recommended to register with the Victoria Park Health Centre. To complete this registration, all you need to do is fill out a simple online student registration form and provide a few necessary documents. You can access the registration form here: ( ).

Lastly, as you settle into your new home away from home for the next three years or even longer, getting acquainted with Leicester is essential. Fortunately, Leicester boasts a treasure trove of hidden gems, particularly in its culinary scene.

  • To kickstart your exploration, head to the city centre, with Granby Street and St. Martin's Square being standout areas to begin your culinary adventure.
  • Discovering the city is as simple as you, your smartphone, and Google Maps.
  • Don't forget to follow "AboutLeicester" on Instagram; this page features a wealth of posts and regular updates on exciting happenings in Leicester, including the very hidden gems I mentioned earlier.

In conclusion, making friends, setting up your bank account, registering with your GP, and venturing out to explore your new city serve as the foundational steps for embarking on your university journey. As you progress through your years at university, you'll uncover a multitude of experiences and insights that will shape your path. By the time you reach graduation day, the first-year student reading this blog will have transformed into a graduate with a wealth of knowledge and a unique journey to share. Embrace the adventure, for it is in these experiences that you'll truly discover the essence of university life and begin to discover yourself.

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ResLifeMatthew Residential Adviser Team Leader for the University of Leicester. Get in touch with us on Instagram @uolreslife.
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