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Study abroad : Once you arrive

10 questions to ask your university when you arrive

You got into university, and you’re ready to start your new life. Congratulations! But what do you need to do when you arrive?

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You might be feeling anxious about starting university, but that’s totally normal and everyone will be feeling the same way on the day. With so much change, your first few weeks might feel like a bit of a whirlwind. However, there are a few important things you need to do once you arrive (besides meeting your flat mates and having a good time). So, to help you settle in and familiarize yourself with your university, we’ve got a list of 10 questions to ask when you arrive.


1. When and where is the freshers fair?


Perhaps one of the most important events of your first week, freshers fair is an opportunity to meet other students and sign up to different clubs/societies. Whether you’re into sports, dance, drama or debating, there is sure to be at least one society for you.


Make sure you know when it’s taking place and where it will be held. Usually, you will receive an email about the fresher’s fair from your university or you might even see signs promoting it on campus. However, make sure you ask during your induction to avoid missing it.


2. Where is the student information desk?


Every university will have a student information desk or office where you can go to ask questions. This may be particularly useful to locate within the first few weeks when you’re adjusting to student life. You may also be given a map of the campus during your induction which will help you to navigate your way around.


Top tip: Make sure you regularly check your emails before leaving for your study destination as this is how universities often communicate with students, sending welcome information before the start of term.


3. How do I register with the university?


Many students do not realise that once you arrive, you need to register to become an official student at the university. You may be able to register online but as an international student, you could also be asked to present your passport and any other documentation in person. Again, you should receive an email with information and instructions on how to register, so make sure you look out for it.


Although not ideal, you can ask someone at the information desk about how to register if you haven’t already done it online. Also, once registered you will be given a student ID card which you will need to access the library and for sitting exams.


4. Where is the doctor’s surgery?


Many universities have their own doctor’s surgery for students on campus. It’s important that you know where to find it so that you can see a doctor if you feel unwell at any stage. Universities also offer free counselling services to students to help with stress, anxiety, depression, or any other issues you may face during your studies.


Check out our mental health guide for international students.


5. Where is the careers office?


While your career might not be at the forefront of your mind when you first arrive at university, it can be a good place to ask about finding part-time work and writing a CV. Particularly if you want to get a job on campus, the careers services will be able to point you in the right direction and give you advice on how to apply. Also, it’s never too early to start thinking about internships and work experience while you study.


Check out the top 5 jobs for international students.


6. How do I do my laundry?


It depends on the type of accommodation you have chosen, as you may have your own washing machine, or you may have a shared laundry room used by multiple flats. Some universities will cover the costs of laundry while others will expect you to use the coin operated machines. You could also be offered a laundry card which can be topped up as you go. If you’re unsure of the process, ask someone during your induction to show you.


7. Where is the nearest supermarket?


Many of us rely on google maps these days but you can also ask how to find the nearest supermarket to get clear directions. Some supermarkets will be more expensive than others, so don’t be afraid to ask where to find the cheapest groceries if you’re on a student budget. A lot of universities also have their own on-campus shop for snacks and essentials, but you shouldn’t rely on this as it can get expensive.


8. Where is the most popular place to hang out?


There’s always a favourite hangout spot at universities, whether that’s the student union bar, café, or another communal space, it’s good to note this early on so you know where to meet people or suggest as a meeting point to other friends. Even within your own accommodation, there might be a cinema room or games area that could be a great opportunity to meet new people. Current students will be able to give you advice as they’ve been through this all before.


9. What is the Wi-Fi password?


If you are living in student halls in your first year, make sure you ask for the Wi-Fi password when you arrive. Of course, if you are staying in private accommodation, you will need to set up your own internet. You should also be given the Wi-Fi details in your welcome pack on your first day along with your timetable and events calendar.


10. Where is the nearest bank/ATM?


Depending on the type of university you are attending, there may be an ATM and a bank on campus. If not, you can ask where to find the nearest bank. While a lot of student finance can be managed online, you may prefer to speak to someone face-to-face if you have any issues with your finances or you need to open a bank account. You may also need to provide official documents in person to prove your identity.


Before you go, head over to our ultimate guide to surviving your first year of university.

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