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UK and International Students - Kitchen Cupboard Essentials


When you first arrive at university, it can be really easy to get into the habit of continually reaching for the takeaway menu – especially if you've never really cooked before.


Hold tight though! Eating takeaways isn't so kind on your wallet.


Investing in just a few kitchen cupboard essentials at the start of the year will make rustling something up much easier and cheaper in the long-term, as they'll last you right up until the end of term.


So before you start packing everything else you need to take to university make a note of what you'll need in the kitchen.


The following are some kitchen cupboard essentials to take:

  • Salt and pepper: Two of the most obvious kitchen essentials, but these can't go without a mention since they're basically the underrated heroes of cooking! 
  • Tabasco sauce: Tabasco is a great staple for spicing up any meal you have. Tabasco can last out of the fridge for a month or two, but pop it in the fridge and it should keep for months. An even cheaper alternative would be to keep some chilli powder to add to dishes instead
  • Mixed Dried Herbs: Using a variety of mixed dried herbs is the secret to cooking great-tasting food on the cheap. 
  • Cooking Oil
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Chopped Tomotos
  • Tomato puree: Closely related to the above, a tube of tomato puree will cost you around 30p and goes a long way. Add a spoonful to any recipe that involves tinned tomatoes and it'll magically bring out the flavour of the tomatoes.
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Bread
  • Baked Beans
  • Potatos
  • Onion and Garlic
  • Soy sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Tea and Coffee


So there you have a basic list to get you started – and as the year goes on you'll see your cupboard collection grow. It might seem a bit expensive stocking up at first, but these items will last a long time.


UK Students – Main Costs While Studying 


While your studying at University you will have two main costs : 


  • Tuition Fees 
  • Living costs 


You can get a tuition fee loan up to £9,250 and further loans to help with living costs such as rent and buying books.  


You don't have to repay your loan until you have finished and left your course and your income is over the repayment threshold. The amount you pay each month is based on your income not on the amount you have borrowed. 


You are charged interest from when your first payment is paid until your loan is paid in full or until the loan is cancelled. 


The interest rate is based on the UK Retail Price Index and vary depending on your circumstances. For more information go to www.slc.co.uk/repayment 


There is also further help available for student with disability or students who have children or adult who depends on them financially. 

UK and International Students - Advise


In all the excitement of going to university, please remember that the basic home comforts and a few small luxuries can make all the difference to settling in.

Quite possibly you have seen websites, brochures and leaflets showing scenes of university life including cozy rooms with every home comfort. The reality is you will be presented with a room that is not much more than a basic shell, with just a bed, a desk & chair and a wardrobe. You will need to provide most of the items yourself, such as:


  • Duvets
  • Pillows
  • Sheets
  • Towels
  • Clothes hangers
  • Cutlery
  • Crockery
  • Glasses
  • Pans
  • Cooking utensils


Our All-In-One accommodation bundle (one of our most popular offerings) contains all the above essential items.

International Students – Useful Packing Tips


When you plan to study abroad, your focus is mainly on selecting the right university, getting into it and finally, securing a visa so that you can actually begin studying at the university of your choice. These steps require your complete attention and as a result, packing is often left for the last minute. I hope the following tips are useful.


Packing Tip 1: If you’re one of those people, who have been taught the importance of neatly packing your clothes before packing them, this may be the time to ignore the proper way to pack. Rolling your clothes can be a lot more space-efficient, so get rolling!


Packing Tip 2: Pack your socks (and maybe underwear) last. Small items can fit into smaller spaces left over after you’ve packed all those larger items.


Packing Tip 3: It would be wise to pack a change of underwear, basic toiletries and clothes, if possible, in your carry-on, just in case your luggage is misplaced by the airlines.


Packing Tip 4: Use Ziploc bags for your toiletries. They’re approved at most airports when you check in and are a great way of protecting other items in case of a leak.


Packing Tip 5: Do pack herbs and spices. You never know how long it’ll take to source a shop that sells your favorite spice.


Packing Tip 6: Label your luggage.


International Students - Do you need a student visa?


If you're from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you may need to apply for a Tier 4 or short-term study visa to study in the UK.


Check if you need to apply for a UK student visa


You must apply for a visa through the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) website

International Students  - Setting up a student bank account 

If you're staying in the UK for longer than a few months (so longer than a semester), we would recommend setting up a bank account.

Setting up a bank account can be a lengthy process, as banks will need lots of information to verify your identity. Check whether your current bank has any links to UK banks, as this will likely make the process smoother.


In order to open a bank account while you're here in the UK, you will need the following:


A valid passport

A valid visa – Non-EU students only

Proof of address in the UK – A tenancy agreement or utility bill should suffice

Proof of address in your home country

Proof of student status – You'll normally receive this once you enrol at university

Proof of income – This may mean a credit check and interview to establish you will be able to maintain the account.


You'll almost certainly have to attend the bank in person to get everything set up.

Student bank accounts are a great option, as they offer numerous benefits including an interest free overdraft of up to £2,000. However, it's worth knowing that not all banks offer student bank accounts to international students (you'll still be able to open a regular current account).


International Students - Know how many hours you're allowed to work

If you want to make some extra cash while you're studying, then you may be wondering what your rights and options to work in the UK are.

If you're from a non-EU country, you'll be able to work up to 20 hours per week while studying, and full-time during the holidays, as well as before and after your course starts.

If you're coming from an EU country, you are free to work as many hours as you wish and can continue working as long as you'd like to following graduation.

However, you shouldn't rely on a part-time job as your main source of income to fund your living costs in the UK. While they're a great way to boost your finances, you'll unlikely be able to earn enough to live off, and working long shifts will distract from your studies.