Arriving in a new country

Arriving in a new country can be overwhelming but here at Collegiate we have compiled a short guide on for those student moving to the UK for their university years. We want you to feel safe and prepared so please do take a moment to read through the information below. Of course, if there's anything you don't understand or anything we've missed, don't hesitate to contact your local accommodation management team who will be very happy to help.

Opening a bank account

It is not possible to open a UK bank account until you arrive in the UK. However, it is likely to be one of the first things that you do because this is the safest way to keep your money. This will take you at least a week so you must make sure you have enough money for your first few weeks in Edinburgh.

To open a bank account you will need to check individual bank requirements, but most require you to take your passport and introductory documentation from your university detailing your personal details and course of study.  Speak to your university student union for more details or go to for advice on budgeting and managing your money or the British Bankers Association for their guide for international students

Student Travel Reduction Cards

If you are exploring the UK while you’re here you will make considerable savings on travel by purchasing a Young Person's Railcard and/or a Coach Card. The Young Person's Coach Card can be bought at National Express coach offices or online. This card costs £10 for a year or £25 for three years and gives you 30% off all coach travel in the UK. To get one you simply need proof that you are a student. For further information see

A Young Person's Railcard costs £30 for one year or £70 for three years, and gives you a third off your rail travel in the UK. To get this you will need proof you are a student, your passport and a passport-size photo. The card can be purchased at any train station ticket office. For further information see

Mobile phones

Mobile phones are cheap to buy, but expensive to use, especially if you are calling another country.  If you choose a contract the phone will be cheaper or free but make sure you check the monthly payment and call charges before signing and there is often a compulsory monthly charge.  You will also need an enrolment letter from your university. 

Pay-as-you-go is the no-contract, no credit check, no-commitment, no-monthly bills.  However, you always pay a lot more to buy the initial phone and calls are generally more expensive than on contract mobile phones but you will not need to provide a proof of enrolment letter from your university.

For information on mobile phone companies and prices see

  • The Sunday Times
  • Evening Standard
  • Grazia
  • The Independent
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Daily Mail
  • Property Week
  • The Observer
  • London Economic
  • The Scotsman
  • The Times
  • The Telegraph