Get a bank account

Immediately! There are long queues, and accounts can take a few days to get sorted. The following have student accounts:

  • Barclays (35 Sidney St)
  • HSBC (63–64 St Andrews St)
  • Lloyds TSB (95–97 Regent St)
  • NatWest (56 St Andrews St)
  • Co-operative (23–24 Sidney St)

Sometimes they don’t allow internationals to open a student account, but you should at least be able to open a basic account with a card, and (for some of the above) without monthly fees. Make sure you know what you have to bring to open an account. You may need a letter from College confirming you’re studying here – if so, ask the porters.

Register with the Police (within 7 days of arriving)

You only need to do this if your passport’s country appears on this list, or if your passport is stamped with “The holder is required to register with the police”. Go to the “Alien Registration Office” at Parkside Police Station (open Monday–Friday, 10am–1pm, 2pm–4pm). You may need to bring passport photos and other items so check before you go. There may also be a registration fee (probably £34). For more information see the home office website.

Check-in with College (to fulfil UKBA visa regulations)

Bring your passport, visa documents and University card to the College Tutorial Office (on the first floor of Bull) – you’ll have to do this every term, but you’ll get a reminder email, so don’t worry!

Get a SIM Card

So you can keep in touch with people you meet. Maybe avoid phone network 3 (apparently it has terrible reception in Cambridge), but consider:

  • Shops belonging to a particular phone network: EE (Lion Yard), O2 (Lion Yard), Vodafone (Grand Arcade, St Andrews St).
  • Shops that serve all networks: Carphone Warehouse (Market St), Phones4u (Petty Cury).
  • Or,

If a phone number starts with the numbers ‘07…’ then it is a mobile phone number. All phone numbers in Cambridge (except mobiles) start ‘01223’ and then have 6 more numbers.

Register with a GP (General Practitioner) Surgery

You’ll get free medical treatment on the NHS (National Health Service).

Go Shopping

If you don’t want to struggle with millions of suitcases, buy some things (cutlery, sheets, clothes-horse) when you get here. For bedding and household items, there will be good student sales at John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Tesco or Argos.

Trunk Rooms

Don’t worry about having to carry things back home every holiday when you pack up your room. There are some (small) trunk rooms in college, so you can store your belongings there over the vacations with permission from the Head Porter. The trunk rooms can also be used for storing empty bags during term. No one is allowed to put anything in the trunk rooms unless it has been authorised by the Head Porter who will issue you with a luggage tag, which must be clearly marked with your name, room number, email address and mobile number. Overseas students can obtain permission from the Head Porter to leave luggage over the Christmas and Easter vacation.

Bring: socket adapters if you need them.

Look out for: national and religious societies at the Freshers’ Fair.

For more information, try: