College guidance

Adjusting to life in the UK as an international student

What are the University of Sheffield's initiatives to support international students? From a career center, robust healthcare support to accommodation options, they’ve got their international student population covered.

Cosmin Cristea
March 9, 2023
8 min
Adjusting to life in the UK as an international student
/* Media query for screens with a width of 1600px or more */
Adjusting to life in the UK as an international student

Moving to a different country with a different language and culture is not an easy step for anyone. Find out how the University of Sheffield supports international students in every aspect of their big move, down to settling into campus and school life.

The big day is here, you are all packed and ready to go when the ‘boarding is complete’ announcement comes through the speakers. You are now UK bound, heading to Sheffield, one of the best student cities in the UK, the greenest in Europe, and home to one of the world’s best universities.

Like many other international students before you (the author of this piece, for example), you may think that adjusting to life in the UK as an international student will be a daunting process. I am here to tell you that while these worries are normal, going to study abroad is not as scary as one might imagine.

Let’s start with the obvious one, homesickness. Moving to a different country, with a different language and culture is not an easy step for anyone. Luckily, Sheffield has a great way of making you feel welcome straight away. People are naturally friendly and will smile at you on the street or greet you when you pay at the till with the classic ‘Alright love?’ and that is just part of life in Sheffield. Plus, whenever you feel like cooking a dish that you love from your local cuisine the ingredients needed are not far away. Sheffield has a load of international food shops conveniently located within walking distance of the campus.

Sheffield is a vibrant city with lots going on while still giving you space and quiet with its proximity to the Peaks National Park (also known as the Peak District). Voted one of the most affordable student cities in the UK, Sheffield allows you to explore and make this city your home. London Road is the place to go for a culinary experience from around the world, while Kelham Island offers microbreweries, galleries, and indie shopping arcades hosted inside the remains of the numerous cutlery and steel works, factories and workshops. If you want to explore coffee and tea, Sheffield does not disappoint with Ecclesall Road and Devonshire Quarter hosting numerous options for you to explore. The best thing about all these places? They are only a short walk away from the University campus.

The Peaks are only a 20-minutes bus ride away from your accommodation and offer plenty of adventure and brilliant views. Sunsets at Mam Tor have to be on your list while in Sheffield! Come December, villages in the Peaks are ready for the winter and host numerous Christmas market activities for you to explore and enjoy. I particularly like the Peak District in the summer as everything is green and there are plenty of walking routes to enjoy with your friends . If you want a challenge try walking to the top of Mam Tor, the views are breathtaking but your pictures might look funny because of the wind!

Sheffield will quickly win you over with its charm and people, making you feel at home in no time. Sheffield combines the big city aura with a small town friendliness of its community making it a great place to live and enjoy life.

Even if Sheffield is a very affordable city, if you need to earn some extra cash or simply want to gain work experience during your studies, the University supports you in different ways. There is a dedicated Careers Service team to help you with your applications, prepare for interviews or write your CV, and they host the Careers and Skills Hub in the Students’ Union where you can see what vacancies are going around campus and ask for advice and support. Plenty of local businesses employ students and the University and the Students’ Union run their own outlets giving you the opportunity to work part-time on campus.

Moving to a different country can be stressful when thinking about your healthcare. How does the UK healthcare system work compared to the one in your country? How expensive will it be if I get sick? What facilities am I entitled to as a student? All these questions are perfectly legitimate. Thankfully, the University of Sheffield thought of that and we are only one of the 2 universities in the UK to have our very own medical clinic located on campus. As a student here you are by default eligible to enrol in the University Health Center, which acts as the General Practice clinic on campus focusing on student health. You can book appointments via phone or app to see your designated doctor (called General Practitioner, or GP, in the UK) during your studies here and they will also be able to prescribe you any medication you may need while in Sheffield.

The University of Sheffield is home to more than 30,000 students from over 150 countries around the globe and we are very proud of our international student culture. With such a large student population you can be sure there is something going on at all times. The Students’ Union is conveniently located in the middle of the campus and has pretty much everything you need. Going into campus I used to pop in Coffee Revolution, the cosy cafe inside the SU for a quick energiser before my morning classes.

With its in-house cinema, meeting rooms, comfortable working spaces and even its own nightclub, it is truly a hub for Sheffield students. The Sheffield SU has over 330 student societies and more than 60 student sport clubs, so if you want to do something there is probably a society here at Sheffield for you. I picked the Debating club as I was looking to continue doing this hobby from high school but I took part in events and activities with cultural societies and the Politics society, which was my course of study. Sheffield has it all and meeting new people from all over the world has never been easier.

Making friends is easy, my flat mates and I found each other on social media before moving in and we started making plans for the first few weeks together before we even arrived in Sheffield! After a few weeks in my course, I started meeting more of my classmates and joined a few societies, so making friends was, thankfully, an easy step despite looking daunting at first. Keep an open mind and be brave, everyone is new when starting the university so you already have a lot in common. My advice is to keep joining different activities and societies, you never know where you will find your best friend. I met my best friends from University through societies and activities here at Sheffield. While we all ended up in different parts of the world, we are still in touch every day and meet up once a year.

Accommodation is guaranteed at the University of Sheffield and the Endcliffe/Ranmoor location is very popular with students and just a short bus ride to campus or a nice 20-minute walk. You will be close to shops and amenities and with so many students choosing to live here you are going to meet loads of new friends to walk to university with for those morning lectures. During exam time I used to go on a walk from my accommodation to nearby Broomhill to clear my head and end up in Costa Coffee for a nice treat.

After your first year, accommodation is pretty easy to find, and for good prices. Start looking early and you will find amazing places for a great value. Most students choose to live in the vibrant neighbour hoods of Crookes and Crookesmoor. They are conveniently located from campus, safe, full of shops, cafes and restaurants and close to student favourite parks!

Pro Tip: Give the SmartMove office in the SU a visit if you need any help with your house hunt!

The University also supports you with any sort of query you might have. For all things student-related simply go to the Student Services Information Desk in the SU building and they will help you out. If you need support with statements, visa or finance questions, SSiD is your one-stop-shop. During your studies here at Sheffield you will also be able to access a varied range of academic support provided by your department, as well as more general academic support provided by the 301 Academic Skills Centre.

Sheffield is a great place to study and live but what makes it truly unique is its community. This is why being a student here is so rewarding, not only are you getting a world-class education but you are also part of a vibrant community that looks after its own.

Fill out the form below

Opt in for monthly updates

Thank you for your interest! A member of our Partnerships Team will get in touch with you in the next 24-48 hours.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a head start on your Australian undergraduate journey

Find out more about how Cialfo supports applications to all Australian universities, while giving you a fee waiver on your first application.

Get helpful insights on higher education.

Join the Cialfo Community for full access to expert insights, past webinars and up-to-date tips on the college admissions process.

You might also like this

College application processes
UK university applications: what students need to know

The UK remains one of the most popular destinations for international students. Here’s everything they should consider when they apply.

Read More
College application processes
What do UK universities look for in the Personal Statement?

UK universities prioritize academic achievements by students when assessing the applications for undergraduate programs. Here’s a guide to writing a Personal Statement that will impress the recruiting teams.

Read More