study abroad at essex

Before you arrive

Get ready to study abroad at Essex

Before you get here, there are a few things you need to do so that your arrival is as smooth as possible. We've put together a list of different steps you need to take so you're fully prepared to start your new journey as an Essex student.

Things to do before you get to Essex


Making sure you have somewhere to live is really important. University accommodation may be available, but cannot always be guaranteed. You will be contacted with accommodation details after you accept our offer to study at Essex.

If University accommodation isn't available, or it's just not for you, you may wish to find off-campus accommodation in the local area through SU Homes.

Remember to check out what items will already be in your room. We don't expect you to bring a duvet or pots and pans in your suitcase, so you can purchase bedding and kitchen packs from our Essex Essentials store. If you're living on campus it will be delivered to your room ready for when you arrive.

Entry to the UK

You might need a visa to study at Essex. The type of visa you may need will depend on your circumstances including the length of your studies at Essex and where you are applying from. After you officially accept our offer to study at Essex, we will give you further details about how to enter the UK.

Full Year students (over 6 months) EU/EEA and NON-EU
Term only students (under 6 months)
  • Do not need to apply for a visa
  • Student will be provided with proof of acceptance by Essex Abroad
  • Not allowed to work including volunteering
  • Health surcharge not required – if students are eligible under the government healthcare rules. If not eligible, any NHS treatment will payable unless it’s a free service.
  • Students MUST check the UK Government webpages if they need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa. Not all Non-EU/EEA students will require a visa.
  • Student will be provided with proof of acceptance by Essex Abroad
  • Not allowed to work including volunteering
  • Health surcharge not required but the student will need to pay for any NHS care they get at the point they use it - unless it’s a free service. Please ensure you have adequate health cover.

Please refer to the University of Essex immigration webpages and the UK Government webpages for up to date guidance.


As well as funding such as Erasmus+ that you may receive through your home university, you may also be able to apply for other funding such as the below. Essex Abroad are not able to advise on any of these funding streams, so please do talk to your home university if you have any questions.

Gilman-McCain scholarship

Award of $5000 for eligible students participating in a Study Abroad programme from USA.  Visit the Gilman-McCain webpages to find out more and apply.

US Federal Aid funding

As an exchange student from USA you can also apply for US Federal Aid funding as long as your study abroad period is no longer than 25% of your course length.  You can read more about this on our US direct loans webpages.


Online registration

You can begin your official student registration before you arrive. We will send you an email when online registration is open for you to complete – keep checking your emails!

Your email and IT account

Once you’ve begun your registration, you’ll be able to setup your Essex email and IT account. This is the email address we’ll be using to keep you up-to-date once you're at Essex so make sure you check it from now on.


You'll need to supply your own bedding, towels, coat hangers, cooking utensils, crockery, cutlery, saucepans and frying pans, but we don't expect you to bring all of that in your suitcase! You can order essential kits for your room and kitchen before you arrive to and it will be delivered to your room if you're living in campus accommodation.

There are also large supermarkets near to both Colchester and Southend campuses which sell household items, so you can stock up on any essentials when you get here. It is a good idea to check the opening hours as most shops have reduced opening hours on Sundays.

As you're coming from abroad, don't forget these essentials:

  • Passport and visa (if applicable)
  • Important documents such as insurance, plane tickets, student card
  • Plug adaptors
  • Prescription medication
  • British pounds - it is good to have some money when you first arrive


Health Insurance

Even if you are entitled to free NHS treatment whilst in the UK, you should consider taking out insurance which covers other medical-related costs. We also recommend students take out health insurance if you plan on travelling outside the UK while studying abroad. Take a look at the UKCISA website for more information about health insurance.

Make sure you know how to access health care in the UK before you arrive. Read our information about healthcare in the UK.

Travel Insurance

We strongly recommend you arrange travel insurance before you leave your home country to cover you throughout your studies in the UK. Lots of students choose to travel to other countries during vacation periods, so make sure your travel insurance covers you for worldwide travel.

Endsleigh Insurance was originally set up by the National Union of Students. They offer many different types of insurance policies for students including one for international students studying in the UK that may be of interest to you.

Contents Insurance

If you will be living in University accommodation standard contents cover has been arranged for you with Endsleigh Insurance that will cover your belongings whilst they are in your room. We recommend you check the policy details including what’s covered, you will be able to increase the cover if you would like to.


Planning your journey

The University runs a coach transfer service for new students arriving from London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London Luton airports, travelling to Colchester and Southend Campuses on arrivals day(s) in the Autumn term.

The University is unable to run coach services from London Stansted airports, but you can book a ticket through National Express to take you Colchester city centre, where you would have a short taxi journey or bus ride to the University.

If you are not able to use the coach transfer service, or you are arriving in January for our Spring and Summer terms, it is a good idea to plan your route in advance.

Download our apps

  • Find Your Way - Our campuses are pretty big and that means you might need help finding your way around. Our Find Your Way app is essential - trust us, you’ll need it.
    Search your app store for FindYourWay@Essex
  • Pocket Essex - Our official mobile app for students will be your new best friend. It gives you instant access to events, your course info, timetables, modules and marks, library loans, contact details and much more. Search your app store for Pocket Essex
Southend Applicant Days
Got a question?
Contact us  Essex Abroad