If you're an international student, we will help you settle in to life at UWE.

International Students

If you're an international student, we will help you settle in to life at UWE.

International Students' Welcome Fair

The Students’ Union understands that as an international or EU student, you are here not just for a high quality education, but also for a cultural learning experience.

The Students’ Union will help you to enrich your life outside the classroom, by enabling you to make new friends, supporting your ideas, and representing you on a local and national level. We are proud of UWE’s multiculturalism and advocate an inclusive, holistic student experience.

We are always approachable when you need any advice relating to any issue you may have during your stay with UWE.

With over 180 clubs, societies and networks, you are never far from the things you enjoy, with hundreds of events across all campuses. And for any serious business, The Students' Union engages in various campaigns for students and important causes, with over 200 representation opportunities for you to voice to your fellow students.

Your International Students' Officer - Claudia Tavella

CONTACT Claudia:  sulections@uwe.ac.uk

For more details and to see the student leaders, click here. 


Useful Websites

First Few Things


Finding affordable and commutable accommodation is one of the biggest challenges faced by any international student. Please read the tenancy agreements and other documents carefully before you sign them. Make sure that any financial transaction you are doing with a third party goes via a proper banking channel, and that you obtain a receipt.

The Students’ Union Advice Centre will be able to read through your tenancy agreement before you sign it. Be careful to avoid housing scams and always seek advice before entering into any form of contract.

Council Tax

As a full time student, you are likely to be exempt from paying council tax in the UK. However, if you study on a part time basis, or are living with your spouse, partner or any dependent who is not a student, there may be a council tax liability. It is important that you obtain your Council Tax exemption certificate from the documents section of myUWE and send it to the relevant council.

TV Licensing

If you wish to watch or stream live TV, you will need a TV licence. It is against the law to watch without one. You can obtain a TV licence at http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/

Utility Bills

If your tenancy agreement states that you will be responsible for the utility bills, make sure you pay them on time. It is a good idea to set up a system of payment fairly with your housemates.

In most cases, bills are sent to the tenants in the property and not the owner of the property, therefore it is important to contact the utility companies when your tenancy ends so all payments are up to date.


Settling in the UK

National Insurance (NI) Number

A National Insurance Number is a unique personal account number that makes sure National Insurance contributions and tax that are deducted from any pay you earn from working are properly recorded on your account.

If you plan to work in the UK you should apply for a National Insurance Number from the Job Centre Plus National Insurance Number Allocation Service.

Their telephone number is 0845 6000 643. Lines are open 08:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday. They are normally less busy before 09:00.

National Health Service (NHS)

The NHS provides medical and dental care for students and you can apply to be exempt from payment by completing a HC1 form, available from the Students’ Union Advice Centre. To find your local GP go to http://www.nhs.uk/Service-Search.

Driving in UK

You can use this simple tool to check if you are eligible to drive in the UK with a non-GB driving licence: https://www.gov.uk/non-gb-driving-licence

Bank Accounts


When choosing a bank consider its location, opening hours, services and account charges. Spend time comparing the banks before you open an account. On Frenchay Campus there is a NatWest Bank, but most banks offer free basic accounts and some require a minimum deposit or have a monthly fee.

To open your account you will need a UWE bank letter addressed to your chosen bank confirming your student status and residential address. To receive your letter, fill in and submit the bank letter request form online or pop into the info point to collect the form and within three days you will be able to collect your letter from a designated Information Point.

Staying safe

If you are going on a night out with your friends, make sure that you do not exceed your alcohol consumption limits and drink responsibly. For facts, visit http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/

While on nights out always check the bus timetables of late night bus services and keep the ticket or taxi fare separate in your pocket. Here is a guide about taxi fares from Bristol City Council.

Write down any important or emergency phone numbers on a piece of paper and keep it separate from your mobile or wallet. In case of a flat battery or lost mobile phone, these numbers may come in handy.

Please take some time and read all about the NUS campaign about student safety at http://www.nus.org.uk/en/campaigns/the-lock/


The New City

About Bristol

Bristol is a vibrant city, and with over 40,000 students from two of the top universities in the country, it’s hard to miss the excitement and activities across the city. However, Bristol is not just about parties and fun. There are lots of outdoor and open areas to bask in the quiet serenity of nature and focus on your studies and career development.

Known as a Cycling City, Bristol has a lot of dedicated cycle paths and lanes if you wish to explore the city or surrounding areas on a weekend or regular commute to university. Wessex Red and First Bus connections are available for local public transport with reasonable rates for students, and connect all the campuses and residential areas equally.

Historical pubs, fancy clubs and local social gatherings match almost every spectrum of social interaction for all tastes. Places of interest such as Bristol’s famous floating harbour, Clifton’s suspension bridge, city museums and @Bristol, are enough to keep you busy exploring the town for days. Bristol’s shopping districts, Cabot Circus and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway, rank among the largest in the country.

With many Christian Churches, Bristol is also a home for eleven Mosques, several Buddhist meditation centres, a Hindu Temple, Progressive and Orthodox Synagogues and four Sikh temples.

If you wish to go out of town, the city is well connected to the rest of the country by road, rail and air networks. A weekend away from Bristol can easily transport you to other areas of the UK and Wales.

Bristol and the world

With such a vibrant and colourful history, it comes as no surprise to discover that Bristol has connections all over the world.

From the early colonising and exploratory voyages in the 14-1600s, to the height of the slave trade in the 1700s, Bristol helped Britain open its doors to the world. The M-Shed Museum (mshed.org) at Bristol Harbour explores the city’s history through various cultural artefacts.

Although the slave trade was the primary cause of economic boom in eras gone by, Bristol was also among the first cities to abolish slavery, and played an important role in changing world history.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a prime advocate of women’s rights and a hero in his own right from India, lived in Bristol from 1830 until his death in 1833. The cause of his death was meningitis, and he was cremated in Arnos Vale Cemetery in southern Bristol. In memory of his visit and contributions towards the cause, Bristol City Council has unveiled a statue of him at College Green.

Twin Cities

Relationships between twin cities across Europe, Africa and Asia allow Bristol to reach out to other cultures. Bristol is twinned with many cities including Bordeaux (France), Hannover (Germany), Porto (Portugal), Tbilisi (Georgia), Puerto Morazán (Nicaragua), Beira (Mozambique) and Guangzhou (China).

International groceries & restaurants

There are plenty of international food markets and grocery stores in the city to cater for such a diverse population. International cafés and cultural centres, including UWE’s ‘I-con’, provide plenty of opportunities for people from diverse cultures to meet and socialise.

Here is a limited list of international food markets, groceries stores and restaurants in the city:

International Groceries

  • Sweet Mart, Easton – South Asian
  • Sat Sri Akal Store, near Eastville Park- South Asian
  • International Food Centre, Fishponds (near Lodge Causeway) – East European
  • Chata Polska, Fishponds (near Lodge Causeway) – East European
  • Tesco, Eastville – International
  • Wah Yan Hong Chinese Super Market, Denmark Street – Oriental
  • Oriental Market, Gloucester Road – Oriental
  • Little Chinatown, Nelson Street – Oriental


  • Za Za Bazaar, Bristol Harbour – International cuisine
  • Plantation, Stocks Croft – Caribbean restaurant
  • Jeevan Sweets, Easton – Full Vegetarian Indian cuisine and snacks
  • Masala Dosa, Easton – South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine
  • Bristol Raj Bari, Hotwells – Indian cuisine
  • Yo! Sushi, Cabot Circus – Japanese sushi restaurant
  • The Lido, Clifton – French cuisine
  • Nando’s, multiple locations – Portuguese/South African
  • La Tasca, Cabot Circus – Spanish restaurant
  • Frankie & Benny’s, Cabot Circus, Longwell Green & Cribbs Causeway – American Italian restaurant
  • Sergio’s Italian, Frogmore Street – Italian restaurant
  • Jamie’s Italian, Park Street – Italian restaurant
  • Casa Mexicana, Redland – Mexican restaurant