International College

My first day at college in the UK what to expect

Posted 01 May 2015
University of Sheffield international student Dawai

You made it! So what can you expect?

As a new student in the UK, and most definitely at the University of Sheffield International College, the first thing you can expect is a big, warm welcome. The UK student population as a whole is hugely multicultural. Just over 18% of all the university students in the UK in 2013/14 were from overseas. That means that one of the first things you will learn on your first day at college in the UK is that you are not alone.

In fact, the University of Sheffield itself is home to a diverse spread of nationalities - 25,000 students that include 5,000 international students from more than 125 countries.

And there are plenty more great experiences awaiting you on your first day. There’s nothing to fear – here’s what to expect:

Everyone is as nervous (and excited) as you are

Your first day at college in the UK can be understandably nerve-racking. But when you show up and see that your fellow students are every bit as excited and nervous as you are you’ll soon feel at ease. It definitely helps to know that you’re in good company, with so many international students at British universities. It’s not just nervousness that you have in common; it’s excitement for the adventure and opportunities that lie ahead.

International staff to put you at ease

Most educational institutions in the UK are home to a diverse teaching staff who have lived, studied or were born abroad. The University of Sheffield International College has staff who have worked all over the world. It’s one of the first things you’ll notice on your first day, as you are introduced to the tutors and lecturers you’ll be working with throughout your course. Their collective experience not only ensures you’ll have a warm welcome, wherever you come from, but also means that staff truly understand the challenges you face and can do everything they can to help you along the way.

The weather will surprise you

It’s a known fact that the sun doesn’t shine year-round in the UK, however, it’s not permanently raining either! When you arrive in September you’ll find that the weather across the UK will mostly be mixed, with as much chance of sun as there is rain. As we move further into autumn and winter, the temperature will start to drop so grab yourself an umbrella and an overcoat and you’ll be just fine. By March it will warming up again, ready for summer. As the famous Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly, said “There’s no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothing!”.

You’ll be guided through registration and explore the campus

In practical terms, your first day at college in the UK will often mean filling in a lot of forms. You’ll often need to queue up with others as you officially register as a student. You might need to have your picture taken so you can be issued with an official student ID card too. Don’t worry, you’ll be shown exactly where to go, with plenty of signposts and friendly staff and students on hand to help you find your way.

You can also have fun exploring the campus, discovering routes between the campus and your accommodation. Don’t be afraid to ask other students for their advice here – they’ll be happy to show you the quickest routes which can save you time.

Freshers Week

A real institution at every university, Freshers Week kicks off on your first day. It’s designed to help students experience the social side of university life. There will often be a fair running all week long somewhere on campus, with stalls from university societies, the Student Union, sports clubs, local businesses, bars, shops, cafes, bookstores and more letting you know about their services, offering you discounts, and sometimes even free food, drinks and more. You can expect free gigs and performances in venues around town and a fun atmosphere as people get to know each other. It’s a great place to mix and find out about the range of cool things there are to do besides study.

The University of Sheffield International College and the University of Sheffield run their own events, where students find it easy to fit in and meet their classmates. Look out for more information about this soon. It's all part of the Big Sheffield Welcome - introducing students to a fantastic College, University and City!

Find out more about starting your studies or check the latest COVID-19 information.