Feb 12, 2019 | edocr |
International Student Guide Pre-arrival and orientation information 2 This pre-arrival and orientation guide has been produced for students who are coming to study at Cambridge from outside the UK. It provides practical guidance on coming to live and study in Cambridge from an international student perspective and information on some of the University’s central support services. Its intention is to complement other sources of guidance you are likely to receive as part of your induction from your College and other bodies such as the Cambridge University Students Union and /or Graduate Union. Travelling to Cambridge 3 Accommodation 4 Council Tax 5 Travelling Around Cambridge 6 Travelling in the UK 8 Opening a Bank Account 9 Healthcare 11 Living in the UK 14 Working in the UK 15 Living in Cambridge 17 Homesickness 20 University Services 23 Student Unions 28 Immigration Requirements 30 Pre-arrival checklist 33 Cambridge Terminology 35 Other sources of Information 38 Welcome Contents Cover Photograph by Sir Cam 3 By Air Cambridge is served by five main airports: Stansted, Heathrow, Gatwick, City and Luton. Trains from the airport will stop at Cambridge Station. Coaches will stop at Parkside. Taxis are available from the airports or can be pre-booked but will cost considerably more. From Stansted: take either a direct train or coach. Further details are outlined at www.stanstedairport.com/getting-to-and-from/cambridge From Heathrow: take a coach direct to Cambridge; journey times and ticket costs are outlined at www.nationalexpress.com Alternatively, you can take the train to Cambridge from King’s Cross Station - first take the Piccadilly Line on the London Underground to King’s Cross or take the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station and change to the Circle or Hammersmith and City lines on the London Underground to King’s Cross. From Gatwick: take a coach direct to Cambridge; journey times and ticket costs are outlined at www.nationalexpress.com. A direct train to Cambridge is available but check journey times at www.thameslinkrailway.com. Alternatively take the train to St Pancras Station, which is adjacent to King’s Cross, where you can take a train to Cambridge. Check journey time and costs at www.nationalrail.co.uk From London City: : Take the DLR (Docklands Light Raliway) to Bank Underground Station, change to the Northern Line to King’s Cross and then a train to Cambridge. Check journey time and costs at www.nationalrail.co.uk From Luton: take a National Express coach from Luton to Cambridge. Check journey time and ticket costs at www.nationalexpress.com. By Train There are direct trains from King’s Cross and Liverpool Street Stations in central London, which take about one hour to Cambridge. For further information visit www.nationalrail.co.uk By Road From the south, leave the M11 at Junction 11 and from the north, leave the A1 at the A14. Travelling to Cambridge 4 If you are not taking accommodation in your College, the University’s Accommodation Service will be able to help you find a suitable place to live. Register with them via www.accommodation.cam.ac.uk and you will be sent login and password information so that you can search their database. They will be able to assist with two types of properties: • University-owned or managed accommodation which is located throughout the City. These are usually self-contained flats and houses, not rooms, both furnished and unfurnished. They are generally available for a minimum period of one year and can be booked prior to arriving in Cambridge. • Private accommodation which is located throughout the City and the surrounding villages. There are rooms available in houses shared with landlords or with fellow students, along with whole houses and flats. We would strongly advise you to view a property in person, or have a reliable contact view, before agreeing to a contract with a landlord. The Accommodation Service has a large list of temporary accommodation where you can stay whilst looking for a suitable longer-term option. Although properties are available online, once you have registered you are very welcome to contact the Accommodation Service by email, or book an appointment to visit their office for further advice and guidance. We can offer advice on tenancy related issues and other guidance about living in Cambridge. Temporary accommodation on arrival You may require temporary accommodation when you first arrive in Cambridge. A list of temporary accommodation is available via ‘Visit Cambridge’ on the front page of the Accommodation Service website. This type of accommodation is in high demand at the start of the academic year. Accommodation Scams An increasing number of accommodation to rent scams appear on the internet. These look highly credible – some have genuine addresses with realistic photos of a room – but regrettably the room or property is not actually available to rent, does not belong to the advertiser and should never have been listed. The advice is not to sign up for accommodation, especially for a room, via a website that is not the University’s Accommodation Service, unless you are very certain that it is genuine. You are welcome to contact the Service to check and to seek advice before you hand over any money. Accommodation 5 Council tax is paid to the local authorities for services they provide and applies to residential properties. Full-time students on courses of one academic year (9 months) or longer are normally exempt from having to pay council tax if they live in University accommodation or private accommodation where everyone who lives in the property is a full time student. If these are your circumstances, you can apply for an exemption. If you are living within the boundaries of Cambridge City Council, you can do this online at www.cambridge.gov.uk/discounts-for-students-and-school-leavers Your spouse and / or children are also exempt if they are in the UK as your visa dependants. If your spouse and / or children are nationals of a country in the European Economic Area, however, it is likely council tax will need to be paid for adults 18 years old or over and not in full-time education. For further information, visit www.cambridge.gov.uk/council-tax There is further useful information about council tax exemptions and discounts on the National Union of Students website at www.nus.org.uk/en/advice/money-and-funding/council-tax/ Council Tax 6 Cycling Cambridge is one of the top cycling cities in the UK and cycling is the most popular way for students to travel around. There are a number of places you can buy new or second-hand bikes. You can also look on the noticeboards at your College or check on cycle auction websites. It is important to remember: • We drive on the left-hand side of the road in the UK. • You cannot cycle on the pavement unless it is specifically marked for dual use. • Wear a helmet. • You need lights on your bike as it is a legal requirement at night – white for the front and red for the back. • A good lock is advisable as bike theft is common. • A bell and mudguards can be useful. • Be respectful to others and do not cycle in pedestrian areas or on pavements, which is illegal unless they are designated cycle paths. Further rules for cyclist are outlined in the UK Highway Code: www.gov.uk/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82 If you haven’t cycled before or haven’t been on a bike for a long time, there is useful information to get started at www.camcycle.org.uk/resources/training Buses Buses are another way to get around Cambridge. The University subsidises the Universal bus service which provides a service to many University sites, including connections between Addenbrooke’s and the city centre, Cambridge Railway Station, West Cambridge and Eddington. Further information is outlined at www.environment.admin.cam.ac.uk/travel/catch-bus Taxis Taxis can be an expensive way to get around Cambridge. There are a number of different taxi companies in Cambridge which can be booked over the telephone. There are also two main taxi ranks in the centre; Drummer Street (near the bus station and Emmanuel College) and on St Andrew’s Street (near Lion Yard and Christ’s College). There is also a taxi rank at the train station. Travelling around Cambridge 7 Driving Students are normally not allowed to have a car or other motor vehicle whilst at the University due to the traffic regulations of the city. If it is necessary for you to have a vehicle, you must have a licence issued by the Motor Proctor. Further information is available at www.proctors.cam.ac.uk/motor-proctor Driving in Cambridge can be difficult with its high traffic volume, narrow streets and expensive parking. You must have a valid licence and adequate insurance. If you are from within the European Economic Area, you can drive as long as your licence remains valid. If you are from outside the European Economic Area, you can drive for 12 months on your current driving licence or international driving permit. You can take a test and obtain a British licence once you have been here 6 months and must have done so within the 12 months to ensure you can continue to drive legally. There are some exceptions to this depending on where your licence was issued and full information is available at www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence Walking This is, of course, the cheapest option and as Cambridge is relatively small many students choose to walk around the city. Maps An interactive map of Cambridge, showing University Colleges, Departments and Faculties, is available at https://map.cam.ac.uk 8 Travelling in the UK Trains are usually the most convenient way to travel to other parts of Britain. Tickets should be booked in advance and as early as possible to save money. Tickets are generally available 12 weeks before the date of travel. There are various online train booking sites that offer discounted tickets or you can book direct from National Rail: www.nationalrail.co.uk If you are aged 16-25, or a full-time student aged 26 or older, you can apply for a discount railcard which costs £30 for one year and can save you 1/3 off most rail fares across Britain: www.16-25railcard.co.uk/ Trains from Cambridge to London’s King’s Cross run frequently. Direct trains can take 50 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes depending on the route. The last train back to Cambridge from Kings Cross is around midnight. The tube is the fastest way to travel in London and the cheapest way is with an Oyster card, a plastic smartcard which holds pay as you go credit, or a contactless bank card. https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/ Coaches are a cheaper alternative to trains but usually take longer. Coaches leave from Parkside next to Parker’s Piece. Tickets should be booked in advance. National Express coaches run from Cambridge to all different parts of Britain: www.nationalexpress.com If you’re a full-time student, the Young Persons Coachcard allows you to save 1/3 on standard fares. 9 There is a wide choice of banks in the UK and most have branches in Cambridge. Most international students open a basic or student account depending on the bank. This provides a visa debit card, which can be used to make payment in shops and online as well as take money from cash points (ATMs) up to a daily maximum limit, and is usually combined with an online banking service. Banks do not normally charge for this type of account. Additional fees will apply for one-off services or additional benefits. The banks advise students to visit one of their branches to discuss opening an account. You may need to book an appointment to make your application depending on how busy the bank is at the time you visit. This is particularly likely at the beginning of the academic year. The account is normally activated on the day of the appointment and you will be sent the bank card by post, normally within a week, with the PIN for the card sent separately. In order to open an account you will need to take your passport, UK visa if applicable, and a letter from your College. It is advisable to ensure you have access to funds you can use for your initial expenses during the first few weeks in the UK as it may take some time to make all the arrangements for your new bank account, particularly if you are starting at the beginning of the academic year when appointment availability may more limited. It may be useful to seek advice from your bank where you currently live before coming to the UK. If your bank has branches in the UK, you might be able to start the process before arriving. You may also wish to notify your bank you will be spending time abroad if you intend to continue using your current account whilst in the UK. Whilst the vast majority of students do not have any issues opening bank accounts in the UK, each prospective account holder is assessed by the individual bank on their application and being able to open an account is not guaranteed. The following list of banks is provided as a guide only. Other options, including digital-only banks, are available. You will need to check with individual banks for advice on different accounts and related services. Opening a UK bank account 10 Bank Branch Address Website Barclays 9/11 St Andrew’s Street Or 35 Sidney Street www.barclays.co.uk HSBC 63 – 64 St Andrew’s Street www.hsbc.co.uk Lloyds 3 Sidney Street www.lloydsbank.com Metro Bank 1 Christ’s Lane www.metrobankonline.co.uk Natwest 56 St Andrew’s Street Or 23 Market Street www.natwest.com Santander 60 St Andrew’s Street www.santander.co.uk TSB 6 St Andrew’s Street www.tsb.co.uk 11 The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s state healthcare system providing a wide range of health care services including appointments with a doctor, hospital treatment and dental care. You should register with a doctor as soon as possible after your arrival in Cambridge. Your College will give advice on this and may recommend a Doctor’s surgery (known as General Practitioner or GP). You will need your passport and a letter from your College as proof you are a student. The GP will be your first point of contact for your health needs and you must be referred to a specialist by your GP. If you are feeling unwell whilst in College, let your College know. Most Colleges have a nurse who will be able to give you advice and may arrange for a doctor to visit you. EEA nationals Non-UK European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family are advised to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK. For further information visit www.internationalstudents.cam.ac.uk/arriving/healthcare-uk Tier 4 students Students on a Tier 4 student visa and coming to the UK for 6 months or longer will have paid an immigration health surcharge as part of their visa application fee. This entitles students to access NHS care free of charge in the same way as a permanent UK resident. You may need to pay for dental and optical treatment as well as for any medicine prescribed by the doctor and collected from a Pharmacy for which there is normally a standard charge of £9 per item. If you need to have continued medication, you may find it cheaper to get a Prescription Pre-payment Certificate: www.gov.uk/get-a-ppc Healthcare 12 Courses less than six months If your course is for less than six months and you are from a non-EEA country, you are advised to take out medical insurance as you will be liable for NHS charges for the treatment you receive in the UK except in a medical emergency and this is limited. Some countries have a reciprocal agreement with the UK which may entitle you to some free healthcare on the NHS even if your course is less than six months but you should seek advice from the health authorities in your home country about what treatment will be covered. Long term health conditions If you have a long term health condition, bring documentary evidence from the doctor in your home country (in English) and provide this when you register with a doctor in the UK. You may wish to ask for an appointment to discuss your needs. If you are receiving on-going medical treatment or taking medication, bring with you a Doctor’s certificate (in English) confirming the treatment and / or any medication you are receiving. If you need ongoing medication in the UK, the GP reception will explain how they arrange repeat prescriptions for when you are anticipating your first supply of medication to run out. It can take up to 48 hours to obtain a repeat prescription. Prior to travelling to the UK, it is advisable to check with your transport provider what medications you are allowed to carry with you and what you can take through customs. GPs reserve the right not to prescribe certain medication and not all medication from outside the UK is available on the NHS. Your GP will sometimes be unable to prescribe the medication you are taking, because it is not used in the UK or because of NHS prescribing restrictions. If you have specialised medication or you are in any doubt, you are advised to bring a supply with you. If you are taking medication prescribed for ADHD you must bring evidence of your diagnosis from a specialist psychiatrist – without this GPs in the UK will not be able to issue you with a prescription if you run out. Private Medical Insurance It is your decision whether you also have private healthcare insurance. You may wish to consider this to cover the following potential health-related costs: • Loss of fees if you are unable to complete your course; • Costs incurred returning to your home country for treatment; • Private medical treatment which may offer provision over and above the NHS healthcare treatment. If you already have medical insurance in your home country, you may wish to check whether this can be extended to cover your stay in the UK. 13 Emergency Medical Care If you require urgent emergency medical assistance and are unable to travel to the hospital, either contact your College Porters’ Lodge if you are living in College accommodation or dial 999 free from any phone and ask for the ambulance service. The nearest Accident and Emergency department is at Addenbrooke’s hospital. If you need urgent treatment, but you are well enough to travel, you can also make your own way to the hospital’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, or ask a friend to take you. Dental Care Once you have registered with a GP you can also register with an NHS dentist. You can ask your College for further advice on where to register. You will have to pay for some dental services. Optical Care Eye care is provided by high street opticians, of which there are many in Cambridge. To purchase spectacles or contact lenses you will need a British eye prescription, which you get from the optician following a sight test. Sight tests can be arranged by contacting the optician directly. The cost of frames, lenses and contact lenses varies. Family and friends Please note that family or friends visiting from abroad should take adequate health care insurance. Photograph by Sir Cam 14 National holidays There are eight public holidays in the UK known as ‘Bank Holidays’ when offices, banks, and many shops will be closed and public transport will be more limited. However, lectures and examinations still may be given on the Bank Holidays that take place during Full Term. A full list of the UK’s national holidays is available at www.gov.uk/bank-holidays Safety The British Council has produced some useful guides and webpages with advice and support for international students: https://study-uk.britishcouncil.org/ planning/advice-support It is advisable: • to keep your passport (and visa) in a safe place. • not to carry around large amounts of cash. You can use your bank card to pay for things. • in an emergency call 999 free from any phone. This connects to the police, fire brigade or ambulance service. To report a non-emergency minor crime call 101. Contents Insurance If you are living in College, find out if the College has an insurance policy which covers personal possessions. Most do not in which case, along with those in private accommodation, you should consider taking out insurance to cover loss of personal property. It may be cheaper to take out insurance in your home country before travelling to the UK. Alternatively there are a number of companies in the UK that offer specialist insurance for international students. The most well-known for students is Endsleigh Insurance (www.endsleigh.co.uk) but it is advisable to research into a range of offers and ensure you fully understand what is covered by the policy. Electricity The voltage of mains electricity in the UK is 240v. Electrical equipment rated at 230v or 240v will function normally. Equipment rated at 220v may function, but it is advisable to check with the manufacturer before using it in the UK. The standard plug in the UK is a three-pin model. Do not bring any electrical items that need mains power unless they are dual voltage 110-120/220-240v (for example, a laptop computer). It may be advisable to buy small electrical items in the UK as this will save you the cost of a transformer. Converters for other models used in continental Europe and the Americas are widely available. Living in the UK 15 Television It’s a legal requirement to obtain a TV licence to watch or record programmes as they are being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, and to download or watch BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer. A TV licence can be purchased online, by telephone, or at a ‘PayPoint Outlet’ and costs £154.50 a year. For further information and FAQs, visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk Mobile Phones You may wish to purchase a mobile phone in the UK. There are two main options: • ‘Pay-as-you-go’ where you buy the phone and separately purchase ‘top-up’ credit when you need it. • A contract where the phone is often free or considerably discounted and you pay a monthly fee for an allocated amount of calls, texts and mobile data usage. There are many network providers to choose from so it is advisable to undertake some research online or visit a mobile phone shop to discuss your options. You may be able to use your current mobile phone in the UK. Check with your mobile phone provider before arriving if the phone will work in the UK and whether there are any additional costs. Alternatively if your phone is ‘unlocked’ and compatible, you could buy an international or UK SIM card to use your existing phone. The University places restrictions on full-time students working during their studies: Undergraduate students are expected not to work during term-time. Term dates for undergraduate students are outlined at www.cam.ac.uk/about-the-university/term-dates-and-calendars Masters students are expected not to work during term-time. Students should consult their Faculty and Department for further details regarding official vacation dates. Graduate research students undertaking a course of more than 12 months may work up to a maximum of ten hours per week with the approval of both their Supervisor and College Tutor. The work undertaken should be academic-related, related to professional or career development, or outreach work on behalf of the University. Students who receive funding should also check that the terms and conditions of their funding permits them to undertake work. The academic year for Working in the UK 16 graduate research students is continuous throughout the year (1st October - 30th September). Students may take breaks for holidays, up to a maximum of eight weeks a year, at times agreed with their Supervisor but such periods are not to be used to undertake work. In addition to the University’s restrictions, students on a Tier 4 visa must ensure they fully understand and comply with the working conditions of their immigration permission, including restrictions on the type of work permitted. Detailed information is outlined at www.internationalstudents.cam.ac.uk/tier-4-responsibilities/working-tier-4-visa National Insurance number Anybody who works in the UK needs a National Insurance (NI) number which is a unique personal reference number which will be required for tax and employment purposes. Depending on how much you earn per week, you may be required to pay NI contributions and Income Tax. Information is outlined at www.gov.uk/student-jobs-paying-tax To apply for an NI number, you need to telephone the application line on 0800 141 2075, Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm. During the telephone call you can expect to be asked for your personal details, such as name, date of birth, nationality and UK residential address, as well as the date you arrived in the UK. If you have a UK visa, have this with you when you call as you may be asked for details. For call charges and additional information, visit www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number Following your telephone conversation, you may be asked to attend an interview or complete a postal application. For an interview, you will be sent a letter confirming the date, time and location and what documentation you need to bring to confirm your identity. If asked to make a postal application, you will be sent an application form with information on what documents you will need to send. You can usually send photocopies but ensure you follow the instructions you are sent with the form. The issuance of an NI number is free of charge. 17 There are various websites that can help you navigate your way around Cambridge and provide information on shopping, eating out and local events. www.cambridgebid.co.uk - this website gives a great overview of local events, experiences, and initiatives in the city. www.visitcambridge.org is the city’s tourist information website, giving an overview of official tours (play the tourist!), things to do around Cambridge, events that are happening in the city and lots of other useful information. Other sites such as ‘Cambridge Edition’ provide information on places to eat, visit and stay, as well as special offers and reviews. Religious Organisations Most Colleges have a chapel in which Church of England (Anglican) services are held during term. All members of the College can participate, whatever their religious beliefs or denomination. The College Chaplain organises the religious life of the College and should be able to help and give advice to all members of College (regardless of their religious beliefs) if required. Great St Mary’s is the University Church, but Cambridge has a wide variety of churches and other places of worship including: Catholic Church (Corner of Lensfield Rd and Hills Rd), Eden Baptist Church (Eden Street, near the Grafton Centre), Presbyterian Church (near Wolfson College), and Cambridge Mosque (on Mawson Road). There are two synagogues in Cambridge: The Orthodox Synagogue (Thompson’s Lane) and The Reform Synagogue, Beth Shalom. In addition, there are a large number of religious societies amongst the many student societies at the University: www.cam.ac.uk/societies Supermarkets There is a supermarket in Cambridge City Centre located on Sidney Street (across from Sidney Sussex College) Living in Cambridge 18 Markets There is a market every day on Market Square selling a range of items such as food, baked goods, coffee, homewards, vegetables, sweets, clothes, books, and music: www.cambridge.gov.uk/markets There is a general market from Monday to Saturday (10am-4pm) which offers products from fruit and cheese to books and bike repairs. On Sunday, also 10am- 4pm, the same area becomes an Arts & Crafts and Local Produce Market. The traders on a Sunday make or produce their own goods. Shopping centres and places to eat Cambridge has three major central shopping areas: • Grand Arcade; is located at the heart of the city at St Andrew’s Street. For more information see www.grandarcade.co.uk • The Grafton; a short distance from Christ’s Pieces. This shopping centre contains over 60 stores as well as food and drink outlets and a multiplex cinema. www.graftoncentre.co.uk • Lion Yard shopping centre comprises two floors full of shops. The centre can be reached from Petty Cury, St Andrews Street or Market Square www.thelionyard.co.uk There are many more shopping and eating areas with something to suit everyone. In particular: • Mill Road is very popular for its cosmopolitan feel and international food shops. Visit the community website for a virtual tour of the street and find more information about the shops, restaurants and services. • Newmarket Road has more supermarkets, clothes shops and a selection of homeware stores at the Cambridge Retail Park and the Beehive Centre. • Regent Street has a number of restaurants offering a range of international cuisine. Cinemas, theatres and music Cambridge has two multiplex cinemas: “Vue”, located in The Grafton, and “The Light Cinema” which forms part of the Cambridge Leisure centre, south of the city centre. For foreign language films, livestream of theatre as well as general releases you can go to the Arts Picturehouse, near Emmanuel College. Cambridge’s main theatres are the ADC Theatre (the University’s theatre), 19 Cambridge Arts Theatre and Mumford Theatre. Concerts and other performances take place in Cambridge Junction (located next to the Leisure Centre) and the Corn Exchange, while many pubs hold regular live music events. Yet more events can be found at the West Road Concert Hall, housed within the University’s Faculty of Music, and the Cambridge Concert Calendar. Museums Cambridge has many museums, most of which are free to enter. Pay a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum or any other site listed at www.visitcambridge.org/things-to-do/museums-galleries-and-attractions/museums and www.cam.ac.uk/museums-and-collections. Punting A famous pastime for students is punting: propelling a small flat bottomed boat down the river Cam using a pole. It’s an excellent way to see the backs of the Colleges and much of the town itself. Many of the river Colleges own punts but all students can get discounted deals either from one of the punting companies or the Colleges themselves. Colleges Your college will be your home away from home. As a Cambridge student you will also have free access to all the colleges, some of which have been around for hundreds of years. For more information on opening hours you can visit the website of the college you are interested in: http://map.cam.ac.uk/colleges/ Photograph by Sir Cam 20 The decision to study at Cambridge brings the opportunity to make new friends, to expand your academic knowledge, and to change your existing view of the world. But in common with any major transition, it also brings challenges. Feeling homesick can be one of them, even if you’ve already lived abroad. It is one of the emotional states that can be a part of what is known as culture shock. Homesickness is a common experience for international students- and for many British students who have left home for the first time. It can affect people in different forms: e.g. coming in waves, or slowly building up over time. Sometimes it seems more like a physical illness, e.g. feeling tired, unwell, or lacking in energy. It can appear when you’re not expecting it- for example, when things have gone well. The trigger in this case can be having no one really close or special with whom to share the experience. Symptoms of homesickness can include: • Feeling down-hearted, tearful or anxious • Feeling lost or lonely • Longing and grief for your former life • Being unable to stop contacting people at home • Being absent-minded, or finding it difficult to concentrate • Feeling unwell • Brooding on the past Common triggers may include: • When the ‘honeymoon period’ has worn off, i.e. Cambridge no longer seems wonderful or exciting • When you have doubts about your decision to study here • When the demands of your course have become more real, and your self- confidence is affected • If the local culture feels confusing, unwelcoming, or just too different • If you miss a major celebration, holiday or important event that is happening at home • When a crisis occurs and your parents, friends or partner aren’t there to provide help and support • If friends leave Cambridge, or if you spend long periods of time here when others have gone back home Homesickness 21 There may be other causes, depending on your particular circumstances. But the most important thing to remember is that homesickness is normal. Be patient with yourself as you adjust. Try to accept that feeling comfortable in Cambridge will take some time. It helps if you can encourage yourself, and if you can remember that you are not alone in feeling this way. Things you can do to cope with homesickness: • Leave your room It can be tempting to seek the security of your own space, but don’t hide in your room for too long. Reach out to others. Invite people for a cup of tea or coffee, or for a meal. Go into town, for a walk by the river, or see a film. Don’t be afraid to talk about your experience of homesickness, but try to stay positive. • Consider how much time you spend in contact with the people back home: If you keep in touch infrequently, you’ll miss the support that you crave from the people who are important to you. But if you rely on them too much, you may risk becoming overly-dependent. Try to strike a reasonable balance to get the best of both worlds, with the aim of developing a new sense of your own independence. • Do something Meeting up with others from your own culture can be an antidote to loneliness, and an essential source of comfort. But it’s equally important to leave your comfort zone from time to time. The opportunities in Cambridge are many and varied- get involved, and get busy! Join a student society, play a sport, volunteer, try a new type of food. Attend one of the many performances, lectures, and events that regularly take place across the University and Colleges. • Find a way to process your experiences Many international students post blogs, keep journals, take photographs, or find other mediums to help them get through times of homesickness and culture shock. A photo journal or blog can become a way of documenting your life at Cambridge, sharing with others what you experienced, what you’ve learned, and how you faced up to any obstacles along the journey. 22 • Get out of Cambridge Cambridge has many riches, but it’s still a place that can feel small at times. Escape the ‘Cambridge Bubble’ to take in some of the glorious sights within the UK. London is less than an hour away by train, and the cities of Europe aren’t very far, either. Plan trips to break up the time, and to reward yourself when you’ve accomplished a goal, or met an important academic deadline. • If it doesn’t get any easier If you continue to feel very upset and lonely, or nothing seems to make a difference, consider talking things over in confidence with one of the counsellors at the University Counselling Service. For more information about how to request an appointment, go to: www.counselling.cam.ac.uk Photograph by Sir Cam 23 The University has a range of central support services for students. International Student Office The International Student Office provides specialist support to international students at Cambridge. If you have any questions about the information provided in this guide or you have a query related to coming to live and study in the UK that has not been included, email firstname.lastname@example.org. This office also provides a visa advice service and has responsibility for ensuring institutional student immigration compliance. Careers Service The Careers Service welcomes the chance to support students from all parts of the globe as you research and plan your career in your home, or another, country. Careers services in the UK operate differently to the ones you may be used to; our Careers Service does not pre-select students for specific jobs, nor forward CVs to employers, for example. The Service’s focus is on providing careers related information and guidance - helping you identify your career interests; target employers or postgraduate courses; make effective applications and perform well at interviews and other selection events; and develop career planning skills which you can continue to use after leaving Cambridge. You will have access to employers via several major annual recruitment events, numerous employer presentations and skills sessions all hosted in Cambridge. The Careers Service’s website at www.careers.cam.ac.uk lists over 5,500 graduate level vacancies and internships each year, across all employment sectors, many of them outside the UK. You can search these using the name of a country or its main cities. Linked from the website is GoinGlobal which allows you to source more opportunities across the globe by country and city. We suggest you register early on the Careers Service’s website during your time at Cambridge: many employment opportunities and events are only offered at the beginning of the academic year. The ‘International Students’ section of our website provides information on UK post-graduation options, including visa information: http://www.careers.cam.ac.uk/ students/international/index.asp To keep track of our events and other news, it’s important that you follow the Careers Service on social media via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram – just search ‘unicamcareers’. University Services 24 Counselling and Support All international students are welcome to contact the University Counselling Service, which offers confidential help and support to over 2000 students each year. The Service is staffed by a team of professionally qualified counsellors, University Sexual Assault and Harassment Advisors (SAHA), and Mental Health Advisors (MHA) who are familiar with the difficulties that can be encountered by international students, coming from a wide range of backgrounds, religions, and cultures. Counselling can help with homesickness and adjusting to a new culture, as well as other common student difficulties including anxiety, stress, low mood, and academic concerns. Many personal, relationship or identity problems can be helped through counselling, e.g. family difficulties, bereavement, issues with self-esteem and confidence, or dealing with difficult dilemmas and decisions. Many of our workshops can help you adjust to the Cambridge environment and make the most of your time here: https://www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/ studentcouns/studentgroups You can also access our mindfulness programme: https://www.cambridgestudents. cam.ac.uk/welfare-and-wellbeing/mindfulness-cam The Service is available throughout the year except for the Christmas closure period. Opening hours are 9.00am - 5.30pm Monday and Thursday, Friday 9.00am- 5.00pm, and 9.00am - 7.00pm Tuesdays and Thursdays. To request an appointment, please see the website www.counselling.cam.ac.uk The Language Centre The Language Centre provides language learning opportunities to students throughout the University. With a resource bank encompassing books, CDs, CDROMs, live satellite TV in 12 languages, recorded international news, a suite of online programmes and a collection of over 1,000 films from around the world, the Language Centre is a ‘must-see’ for all language enthusiasts at Cambridge. The John Trim Centre houses self-study resources in over 170 languages (including English, of course) and a dedicated Advising Team who offer one-to- one appointments and workshops to support you in planning your studies and developing your language learning strategies to sustain your progress. They also offer help with selecting learning materials and run a range of workshops and study groups to encourage collaborative learning. We also run a very popular Conversation Exchange Scheme, which encourages students to pair up with a native speaker of the language they are interested in so that they can arrange to meet up to actively practise their language skills - in both languages. 25 In addition to our static resources, the Language Centre is constantly extending its online resources, including the development by the Language Centre’s Technical Section of high quality, interactive learning materials which are available to all members of the University, via LC Online. If you are looking to brush up, start or further your abilities in a foreign (i.e. non-English) language, then check out what’s on offer by the CULP (Cambridge University Language Programmes) team. They offer taught language courses at various levels and for various purposes in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Japanese, Portuguese, Greek, Urdu, Persian, Swahili, Modern Greek, Hebrew and Turkish. The Language Centre also runs Advanced Discussion Groups in a range of languages allowing advanced students to maintain their spoken ability. Check out our website for details of which groups are running this term. Academic Development and Training for International Students Based in the Language Centre, the Academic Development and Training Section for International Students supports all international students at the University in all aspects of academic literacy skills. Whether you are looking to strengthen your discipline-specific writing skills, further train and fine tune your presentation skills, or whether you just want to develop your academic communication skills more generally, then you will find what you are looking for on the In-Sessional Support Programme. The mainstay of this programme are the supervisions where you work one on one with one of the teaching team to receive focused support and tailored training to make you a more efficient and effective academic communicator. In addition to this, we run 2-3 workshops per week during term on a range of different aspects of academic literacy which you can sign up for. Everyone on the In-Sessional can also sign up for 1.5 hours of individual vocal training as well as individual Coaching sessions on such areas as Active Listening, Communication Skills, and Study Block & Procrastination. If it’s just relaxed but guided social English you are looking for, then the English Conversation Hours may be what you are looking for. Meeting once a week during term, the aim of these sessions is to take a different social or current affairs topic each week and explore it in terms of language, and where appropriate, consider the cultural connotations. We are also continually expanding our range of online courseware, covering such topics as What is Academic English?, Achieving Clarity, Approaches to Editing and Discipline-specific Argumentation. These are freely available for all registered members of the University. Three of our Pre-Arrival online modules aimed at preparing you to hit the ground running when you get to Cambridge are also available via the International Students website. For more information on all the Language Centre resources and courses, check out our website: www.langcen.cam.ac.uk 26 Academic related disability support There are hundreds of international disabled students at Cambridge. The Disability Resource Centre (DRC) supports students with specific learning difficulties (such as dyslexia), mental health conditions, physical and sensory impairments, Autism spectrum conditions and long-term health conditions. It is important that you let us know if you have a disability before you start at Cambridge, as this allows us to assess and plan any support you may require. DRC Disability Advisers can provide advice and guidance regarding such support requirements. This support may include non-medical help such as mentoring, lab assistance, or specialist study skills, as well as assistive technology and software. There is fund for support for international students, available through the DRC https://www.disability.admin.cam.ac.uk/funding-students/eu-and-international- students The DRC service is confidential and free of charge. For more information go to www. disability.admin.cam.ac.uk Childcare and support for families The University’s Childcare Office oversees the facilities and assistance offered to University staff and students with children. The University has two nurseries open to students offering places for children from three months to school age. West Cambridge Nursery has 8 FTE student places and Eddington Nursery has 10 FTE student places. The Childcare Office also provides Holiday Playscheme facilities at St Mary’s Junior School and Chesterton Community College, which operate during the state school holiday periods (excluding Christmas and Bank Holidays) for school-age children. Our venue at St Mary’s Junior School is also open for some additional holiday periods. There is a discounted rate for students. The Childcare Information Service aims to support families of the University community. The service offers information on family related issues including childcare, schooling, health care, financial support and local community resources. There is also information for student parents on college provision for families and possible financial support available. More information can be found here: www.childcare.admin.cam.ac.uk. Each College has a designated Childcare Contact – a list of these can be found at: www.childcare.admin.cam.ac.uk/college-support-student-parents/ designatedcollege-childcare-contacts Eligible EU and overseas students may be able to apply to the Central Childcare Bursary Scheme, which awards grants to help with childcare costs (income, expenditure and childcare costs are assessed). 27 Newcomers and Visiting Scholars (NVS) Newcomers and Visiting Scholars is a group attached to the University to help partners and families settle into Cambridge. They have an exciting programme of events each term. The group holds meetings every Tuesday morning in different locations, 16 Mill Lane, the University Centre, Eddington or Darwin college, from 10.30am. There is usually a speaker or topic as well as the opportunity to chat with other visitors and volunteers. Refreshments are available and children are welcome. Information about the group’s programme of events and social activities are provided at the meetings. www.nvs.admin.cam.ac.uk Development and Alumni Relations Support from alumni Throughout your studies, you can access advice, information and support from the University’s global network of alumni. Use GradLink, LinkedIn and the Alumni Groups search facility to approach alumni and Alumni Groups for mentoring, subject specific advice, help to find internships and more. Pre-arrival events for freshers Many Alumni Groups host pre-arrival Freshers’ Events in August and September for students starting a course in Michaelmas Term. Freshers’ Events provide an opportunity for incoming undergraduate and graduate students to make new friends, ask questions and get an idea of what to expect when they arrive. Attendees can benefit greatly from speaking to current students, recent graduates and alumni offering information and advice for living and studying at Cambridge. Social and networking opportunities For social and networking opportunities with alumni, visit the alumni events web page or contact Alumni Groups for their events schedules. You can also invite alumni to attend or speak at your events. Travel and hospitality Alumni Groups offer a wide range of hospitality and assistance to travelling students, such as finding places to stay, giving a personal tour and meeting for coffee. If you plan to travel as part of your course, with a student club or society, or just for fun, find out if there is a Group in that area and contact them directly. Student Travel Award TThe Development and Alumni Relations office provides opportunities for students and alumni to come together, such as the Student Travel Award, which provides students with funding to visit Alumni Groups around the world and promote them as a resource to the student body. Contact us To find out more about the support available to students from the alumni network, please contact the Development and Alumni Relations office by emailing email@example.com 28 CUSU – Cambridge University Students’ Union Every Cambridge student (undergraduate and postgraduate) is automatically a member of Cambridge University Students’ Union. CUSU exists to represent Cambridge students’ interests and provides central support for students. We do this in many ways, including organising campaigns and student events. There are a few key projects we run during the year: • Freshers’ Fair: a two-day fair at the beginning of Michaelmas Term exhibiting all the best societies and sports clubs Cambridge has to offer. This includes a Bike Park, Careers Zone and lots of freebies • CUSU Conference: our annual training conference at the beginning of Lent Term for student reps • Shadowing Scheme: a chance for year 12 students from state schools without a tradition of top university entry to experience Cambridge • Student-Led Teaching Awards: we run the annual awards for Cambridge staff which is the unique opportunity for students to reward outstanding teaching and student support across Cambridge University Our core focus is to be the voice for Cambridge students, ensuring it’
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