Once you're here
Once you're here
Arriving in a new country can feel like a big move. You’ll be in a new environment; the culture and education system may be different to what you’re used to; and you may miss home, particularly in your first few weeks.
Remember that, while things at first can feel very different, most students settle in quickly. There’s a lot happening around our campuses to keep you occupied and help you immerse yourself in our university life.
We’ve got exciting plans to help you settle in, events to help you meet new friends and support services to make sure you get the most out of your time here. To help you prepare, our Welcome to BNU section, will host everything you need to know before you get here, what to expect when you arrive, where the best places are for a night out, and more.
And if you need further support, there’s plenty on offer – from help with any practical issues through our Students’ Union Advice Centre, to buddies, mentors, and support with your English for academic purposes.
If you are studying with us on a student visa, there are a few things you’ll need to do when you first get here.
Pick up your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
You need to collect your BRP within 10 days of arriving. This will be waiting for you at a local post office (see your visa decision letter for which one to go to).
When you pick up your BRP, make sure all the details on it are correct. It will list your eligibility period for study in the UK and how many hours you are allowed to work, if at all, alongside your studies. You will need your BRP and passport with you when you enrol on your course.
Check if you need to register with the police
Your visa conditions may state that you need to register with the police as well. See the Government website to check if this applies to you. If you need to do this, make sure you do it within seven days of arriving in the country.
Find a doctor
If you paid a health surcharge, you also need to register with a local NHS practice. Our Student Centre can help you find a doctor near to where you live. It’s a good idea to do this as soon as you can, to make sure you can get the care you need if you become ill.
Abide by your visa conditions
Finally, it’s important to remember you have certain responsibilities as an international student on a Tier 4 visa in the UK. These include abiding by your working restrictions, not drawing on state benefits, and remembering to notify the Home Office and University if your circumstances change or you change your address.
Support available to you
Our enquiries team are a great first point of contact if you want any advice before joining BNU. You can get in touch about anything to do with your course, visa application, Biometric Residence Permit, or anything else relating to coming to Buckinghamshire New University.
Our Students’ Union Advice Centre can advise on all sorts of practical and admin issues, including visas and UK employment rules. There’s also a Student Centre in both our High Wycombe and Uxbridge campuses, to help with finance queries and letters you might need when opening a bank account or registering with a doctors.
As a first year international student, we can guarantee you accommodation in one of our comfortable, well-equipped halls of residence. If you’d prefer to live in privately rented property, our accommodation service can help with that. They can also support you with any issues to do with your living arrangements once you’re here.
If you feel your academic skills could do with a boost, or need help adjusting to what’s required of you as a UK student, our Learning Development Unit can help you with things like essay writing and research skills. They even run special Headstart courses you can attend over the summer if you want to brush up on your academic or writing skills before term starts.
Making the journey through higher education can be hard sometimes – and harder still if you’re outside your own country. If you ever feel like you need some extra emotional support, we can arrange some free, confidential counselling for you.
You can also access one-to-one support through our buddying scheme both before and after you come to BNU. And you may be able to get a mentor too, to help with building your confidence, developing your skills or providing career direction.
Opportunities to tap into
There’s a lot going on around our campuses to help you settle in quickly and feel part of life here. You won’t be short of ways to pursue your interests, develop your skills and grow your network.
We’re lucky to have one of the top 3 Students’ Unions (NSS 2020) in the UK. You’ll automatically become a member, and you can take part in everything from sports to skills courses to social events through our comprehensive Big Deal scheme.
At Bucks, we believe in putting our students first. That’s why our Students’ Union has developed our exclusive Big Deal package. We offer free events and entertainment, additional skills workshops, sports, recreational activities, societies and paid student rep schemes. And we’re the only university in the UK
to offer free access to such a diverse and exciting range of activities – all designed to enrich your university experience. It’s a big deal! Find out more on our Students’ Union page or watch our video.
If you’re looking to keep fit, as well as a large selection of sports clubs, we have an onsite, state-of-the-art gym, with equipment to suit every exerciser’s fitness needs and goals.
For students for whom religion is an important part of life, our multi-faith chaplaincy can provide a much-needed spiritual home. We welcome student and staff of all faiths to our varied programme of worship, social events and other activities.
Our careers and employment service can help you prepare for the world of work and start planning your career, from the time you arrive. They can also help with finding part-time work to fit in alongside your course if you want to boost your finances.
If you are here on a Tier 4 visa, your work conditions, including how many hours you can work, are printed on your Biometric Residence Permit. You can usually work up to 20 hours a week during term time (and full-time during the holidays).
Those restrictions don’t apply to EU students, but for all students it’s important to strike the right balance and not take on too much outside your studies.
You could also think about becoming one of our student ambassadors. It’s a great way to learn new skills, meet other students and add work experience to your CV, while earning some extra money.