Study and work abroad guide
This online guide aims to help you to prepare for transitioning to life abroad by giving practical advice for your preparation and arrival.
The checklist below provides a list of priority tasks to complete before you leave for your host country.
You can also download and print a copy of our study or working abroad guide departure checklist (PDF).
6 months to go
- Embassy interview – going outside of the EU? Check with the London-based embassy of your host country to see if an interview is necessary to get your visa; book and attend if so.
- Immunisations - check the NHS's 'fit for travel' site to find out what immunisations, if any, you need. Visit your GP to arrange prescriptions and necessary immunisations.
- Student finance - inform student finance of your circumstances.
- Research your destination - research your host country/region/city/culture before arrival.
- Travel advice - it is essential to be aware of and understand documents and procedures relevant to the host country. Read our travel advice below for students travelling to countries within, and out of, the EU.
- Brush up your language skills - view the language apps and learning information (below) to help you with key phrases to use when you arrive in your host country.
- Stay in touch - join our Study Abroad Facebook group.
3 months to go
- Banking – explore the best options to access your money overseas and tell your bank you are preparing to live abroad.
- Healthcare – research how you will access healthcare and dental services in your host country.
- Healthcare/insurance - apply for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union (EU).
- Accommodation – speak with your host institution/company/organisation to see what accommodation options are available.
- Arrange travel – book tickets, research routes and arrival at accommodation; consider buddying up with other students.
- Staying in touch – look into the costs of using your phone abroad, research phone services in your host country, and think about internet access. Our contact details are below in the contacts section.
- Exchange students – get in touch with previous students for tips on accommodation and settling in at your new university.
- Work placement students – if you haven’t done so already, confirm your placement with UWE Bristol.
1 month to go
- Contact details on MyUWE - ensure your contact details in MyUWE are up to date.
- Print all copies of necessary paperwork, including your passport and visa, and leave copies at home with relatives for safe-keeping.
- Money for transportation - make arrangements so that you can access cash on arrival so you can use public transport.
- Pack - keep in mind airline weight restrictions.
- Work placement students – finalise any outstanding details of your placement with your employer.
- Download useful travel apps
We want you to have a safe and enjoyable experience abroad that makes the most of the social and cultural opportunities available to you.
- Register with your host organisation and attend all possible induction or orientation sessions arranged by your host.
- If studying abroad, visit the international office at your host institution to get your Certificate of Arrival signed and to find out where to get additional student support.
- Check your UWE Bristol email regularly and respond accordingly.
- Contact home/friends/the University regularly.
- Register with a local doctor. Unsure how? Speak to your host work/university contact.
- Keep a journal or blog to record your memories – especially milestones.
- Act responsibly – remember you are an ambassador for UWE Bristol.
- Provide us with feedback about your experience.
- Remember to use #UWEGoGlobal in your social media posts.
Dealing with different cultures
The first few weeks in a new country can be a wonderful and exciting time. However, it can also be a stressful experience. Even for the most properly prepared student, it is normal to feel levels of disorientation, homesickness, helplessness and frustration as you settle into a new community and host culture.
There are a number of things you can do to help yourself cope with these feelings:
- get to know fellow international students and share your experiences
- if studying abroad, speak with staff in the appropriate student services at the host institution
- get involved with your local community (student societies/activities at your host institution or workplace; volunteering; your faith community in the area etc.)
- keep in touch with family, friends, and university staff back home
- seek support from UWE Bristol contacts (see contact list below)
- read more about dealing with culture shock.
Upon arrival, take some time to get to know your local neighbourhood. As is the case in Bristol, there are areas that you would avoid and would not feel comfortable going into. We recommend that you check with local university/company staff for expert knowledge about your community.
Make sure you know where the closest hospital, police station and food markets are located. It is also good to note their opening hours as most countries have different schedules.
Information and guidance about returning to your home country after studying or working abroad.
Before you return to the UK
- Ensure you have all of your required travel documentation ready.
- Make travel arrangements for pick-up upon your return.
Upon your return to UWE Bristol
- Submit all faculty, placement and/or student exchange documentation where appropriate.
- Provide us with feedback about your experience to help us better prepare others.
- Participate in promotion and preparation activities for future study abroad students – just as previous students did for you!
- Get in touch with UWE Bristol Careers to discuss how you can include your experience within your CV.
- Join the UWE Bristol Exchange Student Society and get involved with social events for current and former exchange students.
- Email photographs and quotes to firstname.lastname@example.org or enter the UWE Bristol Study Abroad photo competition so we can use these on our website and in promotional materials. We enjoy receiving photos of your international opportunities!
Whether travelling within or outside of the EU, it’s important to understand UK government travel safety advice for your host country, and how to access help and support through your personal travel insurance and UWE Bristol’s travel cover if things go wrong.
UK passport holders can find further information on visa requirements and specific country travel advice by visiting the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Travel Advice website.
Before you leave the UK, check your passport is up-to-date and will cover the time that you are away - some countries require a minimum amount of time still on your passport before you enter.
UK passport holders
Please check visa requirements for your destination country.
The university/company/voluntary organisation you will be with may be able to help you with the visa application – please seek advice from them.
You can also look at the website of the Embassy/Consulate of your destination country for further information. Most countries will have an office in London which should be able to offer assistance. The Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has a helpful listing on its London Diplomatic List.
Non-UK passport holders
Non-UK passport holders should note that they may need a visa to study or work within or outside of the EU.
Students studying at UWE Bristol on a Tier 4 visa undertaking a work or study placement as part of their course should make the University aware of their visa status when applying for an international opportunity. This enables us to make appropriate arrangements for engagement and attendance monitoring whilst working or studying abroad.
For further information and advice, please speak to an UWE Bristol Immigration Adviser.
UWE Bristol travel cover
For students undertaking UWE Bristol approved work and/or study abroad, we would ask you to take out your own travel insurance that is appropriate for your specific needs, including the type of activity you are due to undertake. This insurance cover needs to be for the full duration of your planned travels, including any additional time before or after your approved activity. Those students who undertake a study exchange or work placement that is a compulsory and credit-bearing aspect of their UWE Bristol degree can access a level of cover through the UWE Bristol travel cover provided by UMAL, subject to formal approval of the activity including completion of a suitable risk assessment, and continued adherence to control measures agreed.
UWE Bristol travel cover provides students travelling abroad with medical, personal property, personal injury and accident cover. However, this is not travel insurance as UMAL is not an insurance provider and cover is discretionary. In particular please note that there is no cover for any disruption arising out of Covid-19. Please read the updated UWE Bristol travel cover (PDF) summary document for more details.
- You are allowed to arrange for cover by more than one policy, if you are making a claim, you must not claim for the same expense from more than one insurer.
- If you have a pre-existing medical condition and the doctor advises you not to travel, the UWE Bristol travel insurance policy is invalid.
- Some partners or work placements may require you to purchase additional insurance.
- Please ensure that you also take a hard copy of all travel cover/insurance with you, as well as leaving a copy with your family or friends at home.
For work placements, an additional agreement will be made with the employer on indemnity insurance as part of the placement agreement and health and safety form. This is completed through the Employability Activity Confirmation Process (InfoHub login required).
You may find the FCDO Foreign Travel Insurance guidance helpful when considering appropriate levels of cover.
Staying safe abroad
Going overseas can be an amazing experience, but it can also be daunting and may come with risks. Make sure that you research the country in-depth before you apply to, and accept, any overseas opportunity.
Before you go find out about the culture, potential language barriers, visas, security issues and even practical things like what vaccinations do you need, what plugs are used and how to call the emergency services.
You can find the answers to all of these subjects and lots more through Global Response's Travel Advice online platform. In order to access the online platform, you will need to:
- visit the Drum Cussac website
- register using your 'uwe.ac.uk' email address
- await a verification email and set up a password
- once you've registered online you can download the GlobalRiskManager app supplied by Drum Cussac to keep up to date on the go (available on the App Store and Google Play).
The online platform and app also offer real time country specific alerts and both are accessible before and during your travels.
It is always good to learn helpful greetings and phrases before going to a new country. Below you will find a list of useful language apps.
All students going on an Erasmus+ exchange will be given access to the Online Linguistic Support (OLS) platform provided for free by the European Commission. The OLS provide free language tuition in the local language of the country you’re going to in a variety of different activities. More information can be found on the OLS website.
Language and communication apps
- DuoLingo – courses created by native speakers, combining gaming with learning.
- Busuu – full courses in 12 languages. Most features require a monthly subscription.
- Babbel – the free version comes with 40 classes and a lot of content – subscription required thereafter. Classes can be downloaded for later offline study.
Social language apps
- HelloTalk – find native speakers and chat with them through voice and text in this WhatsApp-like app. Correct each others messages with an in-built tool.
- HiNative – a question-and-answer community for language learners.
- TripLingo – designed to make you speak and be understood before a short trip. Phrases for formal and slang contexts. Also features an inbuilt voice translator and the option to call a real translator.
Flashcards and repetition apps
- Memrise – good for fun vocabulary practice. Courses are coupled with memes created by the community.
- AnkiApp – Japanese developed app using flashcards to expand your vocabulary.
- TinyCards – bite-sized lessons delivered via a flashcard app.
If you're keen to enhance your language skills abroad, contact your host institution or employer to ask about inductive language classes or local language schools.
Important contact details
Please make a note of the number below and save it on your phone:
Global Response tel: +44 (0)2920 662425
When to call Global Response:
- in the event of an emergency whilst overseas
- pre-trip advice
- overseas support with lost/stolen luggage
- any other travel advice and assistance related enquiry.
|Global Response - Emergency Advice and Assistance||Country/city/regional specific travel advice via UWE Bristol’s insurers and advice to keep you safe in an emergency||Email: UMAL@global-response.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0)29 2066 2425
Web: Global Response
|Student Money Service||Student Finance and personal finance||Email: email@example.com
Tel: +44 (0)117 32 85678
Web: Fees and Funding
|Placements Team||Support for students on placement||Tel: +44 (0)117 32 82220
Web: via ‘MyQuestions’ on InfoHub
|Study Abroad Team||All student exchange programmes||Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +44 (0)117 32 81255
Web: Study Abroad
|UWE Students’ Union Advice Centre||Independent advice, guidance and information to all UWE Bristol students||Email: email@example.com
Tel: +44 (0)117 32 82678
Web: SU Advice Centre
|Wellbeing Service||Homesickness and stress management||Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +44 (0)117 32 86268
Web: Health and Wellbeing Services
- Global Graduates – information to help you prepare for international experience abroad. Includes 100 reasons to study abroad, an extensive packing list, and blog posts/articles from students who have studied or worked abroad
- Global Response's Travel Advice online platform – a service through UWE Bristol’s insurers providing comprehensive advice on safety and the practicalities of living abroad (currency, business hours, etiquette, public transport). in order to access the online platform, you will need to:
- Lonely Planet – a traveller's perspective of the different countries, including practical information and public transportation
- Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – Government travel and consulate advice and information
- Go International – benefits of studying, working or volunteering abroad, with advice on accessing opportunities and funding
- AngloInfo – Information and support aimed at English-speaking expats living in particular regions
- International Student Identity Card (ISIC) – provides a variety of student discounts in the UK and worldwide and can be purchased through STA travel
- Travel Blog – blogs written by people living, working and travelling abroad
- LGBTQ guide to travel safety
- Studying Abroad: A guide to supporting LGBT students in Higher Education (log in required)
- Check the official Tourism Board website of your destination country to find out information about history and culture, things to do and places to visit
- Visit your airline website for information on duty-free allowances, banned goods etc
- If you are studying abroad, see whether your host university has its own Student Union membership/discount cards
Journey planning and mapping apps
- City Mapper - detailed journey planner information, including real-time departures for public transport in 30 cities worldwide
- Maps.me - enables you to download regional or country maps and then use them offline to navigate or plan journeys
- Rome2Rio - plan cross-country, multi-mode travel with flight, train, bus, ferry, and driving options with estimated travel times and fares
- Google Trips and Tripit - pull together travel information from your confirmation emails for flights, buses, and hotels bookings etc into one single itinerary
- Seat 61 - ditch carbon-heavy cheap flights for a low-stress rail alternative. Seat 61 provides information on train travel within and to/from most worldwide destinations
- Skyscanner and Kayak – search across travel sites to help you find the best prices for flights
- Hopper – tells you the best time of the year to book a flight to ensure you get the cheapest deal and sends alerts when your favourite routes go on sale
- App in the Air – tracks flights and provides info on delays, check-ins, boarding schedules, and baggage arrivals
Culture and events
- Time Out – a directory of ideas for things to do in cities around the world, including bars, restaurants, attractions and events