Plan for your journey

Student with rucksack

There are a few things you need to do and know before travelling to Scotland to study with us.

Our pre-departure checklist is here to help you prepare and make sure you do not forget anything.

Knowing what to bring, what not to bring and what to expect may also help you prepare for your new life in Scotland. ‌

Pre-departure checklist

Step 1

Before you leave:

Check the visa requirements
Check validity of passport before travelling
Check visa for correct terms and conditions
Arrange travel insurance
Book a place on International Student Orientation before the deadline
Book a place on the Welcome Programme airport pick-up service (only available in September)
Arrange my accommodation in advance (at least for first night)
Plan travel to my accommodation (if not using airport pick-up service or travelling outwith collection times)
Request a letter from doctor about medication I take regularly
Check if I need a license for bringing any medication to UK
Obtain European Health Insurance Card from home country (if relevant)

Step 2

Preparing your luggage:

Check what items are permitted to be carried in hold & hand luggage
Make photocopies of important documents (e.g. visa, passport, CAS)
Store photocopies of above documents in hold luggage
Label my luggage with my details
Check with airline regarding maximum luggage amount and policies

Step 3

What you will need to carry in your hand luggage:

Passport (containing visa if applicable)
CAS (if a Tier 4 student) or Short-term Study visa letter
Financial evidence
Transcripts/certificates from previous studies
My UK accommodation address
Medication and license or doctor's letter (if required)
Contact details for University of Glasgow
Contact details for my Embassy in the UK
Contact details for my friends and family
Downloaded Glasgow map for initial directions
Tickets or online flight booking and boarding pass
Clothes for changing weather (i.e. waterproof)
Enough UK pounds sterling for initial costs (e.g. taxi fares, accommodation deposit, food etc.)
Visa application decision letter (containing confirmation of where to collect your Biometric Residence Permit)

Step 4

When you arrive in the UK:

Be prepared for any questions a Border Force Officer may ask on arrival (e.g about course of study, accommodation etc.) Find out more about arriving at and travelling through the UK Border.

Collect your BRP within 10 days of arrival in the UK. Find out more about BRP collection


Information on airport eGates

Ss coming down steps

Information on eGates

From summer 2019 more travellers will be able to use eGates on arrival in the UK at 15 major airports (including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Heathrow airports) and Eurostar terminals. EGates use facial recognition technology to check your identity against the photo in your passport and therefore the arrival process should be much quicker. In addition to UK, EU and EEA nationals who can already use eGates, from the launch date, nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America will also be able to use the eGates.  Please however note the following important points:

  • You cannot use eGates if you are travelling with children under 12
  • You cannot use eGates if you are using a national ID card or passport which does not have a biometric chip
  • You cannot use eGates if you are coming to the UK as a short-term student (coming for up to six months) and you need a stamp in your passport as you have not applied for entry clearance (a visa) before leaving your home country

For more information, please see UKVI's eGates Information Leaflet.


What to bring and what not to bring

2 Ss with cups

What to bring

Our International Student Handbook has lots of information and guidance on what to bring to the UK, including information on clothes, electrical items and money.

What not to bring

It is illegal to bring some items to the UK, including some food items - please take particular note of the information below:  

The Scottish Government’s Animal Disease Control Branch has advised us of the importance of not bringing pork meat or pork products into the UK, due to the possible threat of it containing African swine fever (ASF).  ASF is a highly contagious notifiable disease of pigs caused by a virus and there is no vaccine. The virus can survive for long periods in raw, cooked, and frozen meat.  Please therefore ensure that you, or your family, do not pack any of these products in your luggage.

If you are thinking about bringing your pet or some food or plants from your home country, view the Government's guidance to make sure you meet all the rules and EU regulations when arriving in the UK.

You can also find out more here about goods you can’t bring into the UK.

 


Shipping your goods to the UK

2 Ss at laptop

To make sure you don’t pay too much tax when shipping your goods to the UK, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has created a Customs Procedure Code which is 4000C06.   You should give this code to your courier who will attach it to a C88 form. This code covers the tax for clothes, books and any personal items you’ll need for your time at University.  If you use a postal service you will need to pay and then reclaim import VAT.

For more information please see  ‘Moving to the UK’ or ‘C88’


What to expect

3 Ss in park

Weather

Life in Scotland may be very different than in your home country. First of all, the weather - people in Scotland love speaking about the weather! The reason for this is that the weather in Scotland is unpredictable. It can rain, snow and be sunny on the same day. For this reason, you always need to be prepared for all weather. As we say in Scotland “There is no bad weather, only wrong clothes!”

The days are short during autumn and winter but they are long during spring and summer.

Find further information about the Scottish climate

Food

The food may also be very different from the food you can find in your home country. Nevertheless, you can find all sorts of food in Scotland and especially in Glasgow. Glasgow has a lot of international food shops (Asian, Chinese, African etc.) and therefore you should be able to find the food you enjoy in your home country.

Find out more about traditional Scottish food such as black pudding, haggis, full Scottish breakfast, fish & chips and shortbread.

Glasgow has also a lot of great restaurants, delis, award winning take-away shops and farmers' markets! In the last few years it has become a foodie destination and you can be sure to find amazing food for all budgets!

Find out more about Food & Drinks in Glasgow

Culture

Scotland has a strong cultural identity and a lot of customs and traditions. Scotland is more than just kilt, bagpipes and haggis.

Find more about the most popular Scottish traditions

You may experience "culture shock" when you arrive in Scotland. It is important that you know how to identify the symptoms and how to deal with it.

Find out more about culture shock


Useful resources

Cover page of ISH 19-20

In addition to our International Student Handbook, you might find these guides and resources useful to you in your preparations to come to study in Glasgow:

How to get to Glasgow

Campus maps

British Council First Steps guide