Life in the UK | University of Sheffield International College

Students spending time in the gardens

The UK is a multicultural country that embraces diversity, and its rich history and cultural attractions are world famous. It welcomes thousands of international students every year.

Living abroad in the UK

The UK welcomes thousands of international students and visitors each year. Gaining an education in the UK, you will be part of a global tradition of travelling for education which goes back centuries.

Sheffield is a welcoming and friendly place. It offers an excellent student experience in a city that is well connected to the rest of the UK, and provides many opportunities to explore British culture.

Your local community

The local people of Sheffield are usually happy to give you directions if you are lost. Some will even help you find your way around, which is a big advantage while you are getting used to your new life in the UK. There are two universities in Sheffield, and the city is home to more than 12,000 international students. It is always worth considering that there are other people in the city who are going through a similar experience to you.

My Sheffield experience

Suparna shares her story of being an international student at the University of Sheffield.

Getting around

Train travel in the UK

You can take the train to most parts of the UK. It is a great way to see more of the British countryside and notice the differences between towns and cities across the country. For example, you can board the train at Sheffield for journeys to:

  • Manchester – less than 1 hour away
  • East Midlands - 1 hour 30 minutes away
  • Birmingham – around 2 hours away
  • London – just over 2 hours away
  • Cambridge – around 2 hours 45 minutes away
  • Edinburgh – around 3 hours 45 minutes away

Air travel in the UK

Doncaster Sheffield Airport is one of the smaller UK airports. It is only 45 minutes away from the centre of Sheffield. From here you can travel by plane to destinations within Europe, like France, Germany, Poland and Spain.

Around one hour and 15 minutes away, Manchester Airport is one of the UK’s largest airports. From here you can take flights within Europe and around the world. Flights depart for U.S. cities like Philadelphia and Orlando, or Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Travel time from Sheffield to UK airports:

  • Doncaster Sheffield Airport – 45 minutes by bus
  • Manchester Airport – 1 hour 15 minutes by train
  • Birmingham Airport – 1 hour 45 minutes by train
  • London Heathrow Airport – 4 hours by train, or 3 hours by train plus aeroplane from Manchester

Tram travel in Sheffield

Sheffield is one of the few places in the UK which has its own tram service to help people travel across the city. Known as the Supertram, the tram runs seven days a week from early in the morning up until midnight.

Weather in the UK

The weather in the UK is different during each of the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. The differences between seasons are not as extreme as in some countries. Most people always carry a coat or umbrella because the weather can change quickly and rain can fall at any time of year.

Sheffield is in the northeast of England. It can get a little more rain than places on the south coast, but temperatures are rarely as low as those in Scotland. On average, the warmest and sunniest month is July, when temperatures can reach around 20C. Temperatures in January are usually around 5C, and the driest month is March.

Living in Sheffield

The city of Sheffield is small enough to find your way around easily, but big enough to provide everything you need to enjoy a fun and fulfilling student life. You can visit restaurants, shopping, theatre and cinemas with your new friends during your free time away from studying.

Your student home

The University and the International College organise events to help you get to know others with similar interests. Living in student accommodation is another great way to make friends. You will meet international students from a range of different backgrounds, as well as students from the UK who can help you understand British culture and customs.

Living in student housing gives you the chance to take responsibility for yourself and gain independence too. One way you'll be able to be independent is through grocery shopping. You'll be able to find supermarkets and smaller specialist shops all over the city. Food shops in the UK are very multicultural, allowing you to find cuisine from your home country (as well as your friends' countries) alongside trying stereotypically British food. Our website has information on the costs of grocery shopping on our costs of living page.

Support when you need it

If you ever need someone to listen and advise you on any issues you may experience, you can access the strong support network at the International College. It can be anything from worries about your academic subjects to personal problems like homesickness. Connecting with other students will help you feel more settled and create a network of friends to explore the UK with.

Health services

The UK is famous for its National Health Service, or NHS. This is where you will be able to find help if you are sick or injured. With the NHS, you can be treated at either a general practice (GP) or at a hospital.