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Getting ready for university 

Accommodation, packing and health - EU & International students

International fee-paying students are guaranteed campus accommodation, for the duration of your course, providing you apply by the University’s annual deadline.

Aston University Accommodation

For up to date information please visit the Residences website.

The Advice & Representation Centre in the Students’ Union has a website which contains details of alternative accommodation in Birmingham.

Please visit the StudentPad website or phone +44 (0) 121 204 4848 for details.

Moving out

Visit the Checklist and contacts page to download a checklist of useful items which you may need upon arrival at Aston University. 

Clothing

The British climate is unpredictable and changeable. It is rarely hotter than 26°C at the warmest times of the year and temperatures sometimes drop below 0°C during the winter months. The average September temperatures are 15°C so it can feel cool when you arrive. You will need a variety of clothing for your stay in the UK. It is advisable to dress in several thin layers such as a t-shirt, shirt and jumper so that you can adjust to the different temperatures inside buildings and outside in the fresh air.

You will need to wash your own clothes while you are here (there is a launderette on campus), so choose clothes that are easy to wash and dry because dry-cleaning is expensive in the UK.  

Clothing styles at the University are casual but we suggest that you bring your national dress, traditional clothes or a smart outfit for some of the more formal events.

Electrical appliances and computers

The standard electricity supply in the UK is 220 / 240 volts, 50 cycles AC, and the standard outlet is a 13-amp square 3-pin plug. You may need to bring adapter plugs with you to ensure you can use appliances from home.

Students living on campus are obliged to ensure that any electrical appliances are Portable Appliance Tested (PAT) tested before they can be used. Please read the Conditions of Residence for more details.

If you have a laptop computer that you would like to bring with you, you are advised check that it is compatible with the UK electricity supply and to take out insurance against damage or theft. There are many computers in the University and in the Library which you will be able to access for free, as soon as you have enrolled.

Luggage

Remember to label clearly any luggage you bring with you: put your UK address on the labels and inside your bags. If you are travelling by air the personal baggage allowance is usually 20 kilos (approximately one large suitcase) and one item of hand luggage (approximately 5 kilos). However, depending on your country of origin and on the airline you are using, some baggage allowances are more generous. 

Bed linen and cooking equipment

You will need bed linen (duvet, duvet cover, pillow, pillowcase and sheet). You will also need pots, pans, crockery and cutlery.  You can buy bed-linen packs as you arrive on campus or purchase linen and cooking equipment in the local shops.

Most rooms on campus (including Lakeside and New Build 7-bed flats) have single beds (3ft by 6ft 3in). The New Build 5-bed flats have three quarter beds (4ft by 6ft 3in). They are also called Prince beds. We recommend you bring double bed sized bedding with you if you will have a three quarter bed in your room and that you bring a flat (not a fitted) double sheet. Double bed size is 4 ft 6 in by 6 ft 3 in.

You may wish to pack items such as towels, dish cloths, tea towels, coat hangers, a battery alarm clock, a small backpack or rucksack, a torch or flashlight, a good English dictionary, laundry bag and camera.

Students living on campus will be provided with a kettle, iron, toaster, ironing board and microwave.

Medical/Optical prescriptions

If you are receiving medical care, please see your doctor before you leave home to get information which you can pass to the University’s doctor. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you should also see your optician to get a copy of your prescription. If you wear contact lenses, you should get advice from your optician on what solutions to use here. Solutions can be expensive in the UK so you may like to bring a supply of your normal contact lens solution with you in your suitcase, not your hand luggage.

Photos, posters and "things from home"

Don't forget to bring things that will brighten up your room and remind you of home. You'll also have plenty of new photos to add as your first year goes by!

Food

The local markets in Birmingham sell many different foods from around the world, so you do not need to bring this with you. You will be shown where the markets are during the walking tours of Birmingham in Aston Welcome. If you want to bring certain items of food with you then please look at the Customs section of the UKBA website, as there are many products that you cannot bring in to the UK.

Please do not bring a lot of cash with you.

We recommend that you bring:

  • No more than £400-£500 cash

  • A bank card which will allow you to take money from a bank cash point or

  • £400 in travellers’ cheques to cover you until you can set up a UK bank account.

A UK bank account can take 7 to 14 working days to set up, and bank drafts can take a further 7 working days to clear (before you can take money out of the account).

Please Note: Cash worth more than 10,000 Euros (including money in other currencies) being brought into the UK from outside the European Union must be declared. Cash means currency notes and coins, cheques, travellers’ cheques and bankers’ drafts. Those carrying this amount of money must complete a form on arrival, which will be available at ports and airports. If this form is not completed fully or at all, travellers may be fined or money may be taken away from them.

Storing Luggage

Click here if you are looking for somewhere to store your luggage over the summer. 

If you have any questions, please email issu@aston.ac.uk.

International students

If you are coming on to a course that lasts for less than six months you will need to arrange for medical/health insurance to cover your medical expenses in the UK.

If you are coming on to a course that lasts for more than six months, you may have free treatment under the National Health Service. However, you will need to pay for any medicines prescribed by your doctor.

If you have an accident or a medical emergency, you may need to go to a hospital, by ambulance if necessary. The UK emergency number for an ambulance, police or fire service is 999.

University Medical Centre

Aston University has its own health service, based in the Halcyon Medical Centre ( Halcyon Medical ), which is a 10 minute walk from the campus in the nearest branch of Boots the chemist on High Street. 

You will be invited to register with Halcyon as part of stage 2 of your enrolment at Aston University. This is a free service as part of the UK’s National Health Service. To register with Halcyon Medical, students will need:

  • Student Card (if this has not been issued then they should take their passports)

  • Proof of address

They do not expect students to provide any medical evidence but, if you have an ongoing medical condition, it is helpful if you can bring details of your medication etc.  If you do not have this, it should not stop you registering, because the staff take a full medical history from each student.

Travel & Personal Insurance

It is sensible to obtain travel insurance before leaving home to cover you for your journey to Birmingham. This will cover delays and medical emergencies, as well as the cost of replacing any belongings that may be lost en route.

You should insure your personal property against breakage, loss or theft as soon as possible after arriving. It is worth obtaining more than one quotation, as the cost and the extent of the insurance cover may vary depending on the type of accommodation you have chosen and the area in which you are living.

Please note: The University is not liable for loss of, or damage to, your personal property anywhere on campus and we strongly recommended that you obtain insurance for your personal property.

Checked 09/05/2014 PD

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