Before you arrive

Sussex ISC students socialising on campus

Before you arrive in the UK

We understand you may have questions about what it is like to live and study in the UK, and what you should do before you arrive.

To help you plan for your journey and make the most of your time at the International Study Centre, we have put together some essential tasks and practical tips.

Download and complete your pre-arrival form to make sure your arrival is as smooth as possible.

Pre-arrival checklist

  1.  Confirm your offer. Check your fees for what you have to pay to accept your offer and get your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number.
  2. Apply for a visa. You will need your CAS number to apply.  Take the UK visas questionnaire to find out which type of visa you need.
  3. Book your accommodation. We have a range of great accommodation options to choose from. Find your new home.
  4. Book your flights. Gatwick Airport is the closest airport to the International Study Centre (an hour way by train).
  5. Complete the pre-arrival form. We will email you a link to the online form one month before the start of your course.
  6. Get insurance. It is essential you have have personal insurance when studying in the UK for peace of mind. Organise your insurance with Study Group.

What to pack

You can buy everything you need in one of the shops on campus, or in the nearby city of Brighton.

Important items need to be packed in your hand luggage, especially:

  • Your passport and visa
  • UKVI decision letter
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies letter (CAS)
  • Your offer letter
  • IELTS certificate or other original Secure English Language Test result
  • Evidence of funding for your tuition fees and living costs, including sponsor letter (if you are being sponsored)
  • Accommodation documents, including your signed tenancy agreement
  • Medical certificates (including vaccination records)
  • If you are under the age of 18, a copy of your UK guardian's details.

For a full list of what to pack and other useful information, get ready with our full pre-arrival guide.

Make friends before you arrive

You can make friends at the International Study Centre before you land in the UK. Join our Facebook community and meet your new classmates.

To help you settle in, we will organise social events where you can meet your new teachers and classmates. You can also get involved with sports, societies and groups at the University of Sussex, or go along to student events taking place on campus. 

Find out more about student life in Brighton.


When you arrive at the International Study Centre

Get ready to study

The International Study Centre staff has prepared academic introductions and social events for you to settle in, so it's essential you arrive on time for induction. Start exploring campus and your new life:

  • Discover all the facilities you will be able to use like study spaces, library, gym, student services
  • Learn your way around campus so you are on time for classes
  • Register for a doctor 
  • Find where the Students' Union is, in case you ever need dedicated guidance from fellow students.

Your first week will be packed of fun and useful activities that will get you ready for your course. Read about everything you can look forward to in your first days.

Make the most of your time as a student

This is an exciting phase of your education and life. Get the most out of university with some of our tips.

Questions and answers about life in the UK

Q: What if I can’t speak English very well and need to improve my language skills?

A: Learning a new language can take some time, so try not to worry if your English language skills need improvement. You can help others understand you more easily by speaking clearly and slowly, and repeating yourself when necessary. If you don’t understand someone, you can politely ask them to repeat what they have said.

Over time you will become confident and comfortable with speaking, writing and reading in English. Use other informal ways to improve your English outside the classroom.

Q: Will I be able to find food from my home country?

A: There are food shops on campus, and shops and supermarkets that sell international food in Brighton, so you will be able to find what you’re looking for. There are also many restaurants that serve food from around the world, so you’ll be able to eat meals that reminds you of home. 

Q: What if I get homesick?

A: Moving to a different country to study is exciting, and many students also feel a little nervous as they prepare to leave their home. It is normal to feel this way. We will do everything we can to help you settle in, so that you can be comfortable and happy living in Brighton and the UK. Read more about homesickness and how to stay happy.

You can also always talk to our tutors and staff at the International Study Centre – they are friendly, understanding and here to help you. There is also a whole range of support services at the University of Sussex, where you can get free and confidential advice. 

Q: What can I do to help me settle in?

A: Once you join us at the International Study Centre, you can take advantage of two great schemes organised by the University of Sussex Students’ Union:

  • Language Café – practise your language skills and make new friends 
  • Buddy Scheme – settle in to student life faster by partnering up with a supportive student at Sussex.