International Student Guide: Staying Safe and Healthy
22 March 2018
With all the excitement of living independently away from home in a foreign country, it can be easy to forget about simple things like healthcare and personal safety. However, it’s vital that you arrange healthcare once you arrive in the UK, and take steps to manage your own health and safety. This guide covers everything from registering with a doctor to organising insurance – and we’d recommend that parents read the information, too.
Amid all the excitement of starting university, it can be easy to forget about things such as healthcare and safety. However, as an international student, it’s important to make sure you have access to healthcare as and when you need it – otherwise your parents may never rest easy again.
In this guide, we give you all the information you need on staying safe and healthy at university in the UK, including advice on accessing healthcare services, personal safety tips and guidance on insurance cover.
Use the links below to navigate the guide.
Healthcare Cover: Registering and Entitlements
Accessing healthcare in the UK differs to many other countries, so it’s important that you know how the system works, how to access services and what you’re entitled to.
The NHS is the main healthcare system in the UK, and it’s funded by taxation rather than personal insurance plans. Some NHS services are free for everyone at the point of delivery, including accident and emergency services, but other services are only available to UK residents and those eligible to register to receive free healthcare.
Find out if you’re eligible to register with an NHS doctor using the information below.
|Longer than 6 months||Yes, you can register with an NHS doctor. You may need to pay for treatments, but these can often be claimed back as expenses later provided you have a valid EHIC card.|
|Less than 6 months||No, you may not be able to register with a doctor. However, you may be able to access primary care services using an EHIC card.|
|Longer than 6 months||Yes, you can register with an NHS doctor. As part of your Tier 4 visa application, you will have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge, and so have access to full NHS services.|
|Less than 6 months||No, you may not be able to register with a doctor. You must arrange private medical insurance to recoup any expenses from using UK healthcare, both private and NHS services.|
If you’re eligible to register with a local NHS GP, you’ll need to take the following documents along when you first register as a patient:
- Your passport or an equivalent form of ID.
- Your student ID card (campus healthcare services only).
- A completed registration form (available to download on the NHS website of your chosen GP surgery).
We’d recommend registering with your local GP as soon as possible upon arrival in the UK, so that your application can be processed before you need to access services (registration can take up to four weeks).
Personal Safety Advice
Now that you’ve moved away from home and are living independently in a foreign country, it’s important to take precautions to help keep yourself safe. Sadly, crime is something that affects many students in the UK, with criminals often targeting vulnerable young people who are unaware of their surroundings.
Below, we offer some basic safety advice on how to keep yourself and your possessions safe while studying in the UK:
- Get insurance – Personal contents insurance will cover you against loss or theft; just make sure your policy covers you when you’re out and about.
- Keep your belongings secure – Both at home and on the move, it’s imperative that you take care of your belongings. Always keep the doors of your accommodation locked, even when you’re at home, and invest in things such as a secure rucksack and quality bike lock to deter potential thieves when you’re on the go.
- Watch what you drink – Excessive drinking can impair your judgement and make you an easy target for would-be criminals. Where possible, always travel as a group and make sure all your friends get home safely.
Check out more tips on staying safe as a student in our Fresher’s Guide.
Guidance on Insurance Cover
As an overseas student studying in the UK, you may need to invest in health insurance if your course length and visa type restricts your eligibility to receive healthcare on the NHS. As well as this, it’s also recommended that you buy contents insurance to cover against loss or theft.
To find the best deals on car and gadget insurance, and contents cover in the UK, we’d recommend using Endsleigh – an insurance provider and trusted partner of aparto.
Health and Safety Information for aparto Residents in Dublin
If you are preparing to study in Dublin, certain health and safety regulations and entitlement will be different. Please refer to our dedicated studying in Ireland page, here.
International Student Guide
>Go to Before You Arrive
>Go to What to Expect on Arrival
>Go to Shopping as a Student
>Go to Working While Studying
>Go to British Culture
>Go to Studying in Ireland