Welcome new students

New international students

Bunting with country flags hanging in a street

Welcome to our global family

A warm welcome awaits you at Essex.

At Essex, you really will find the world in one place. We are proud to be a global community but we recognise that living and studying in the UK may be very different from your own country. The information below will help you prepare for your arrival and how to settle into university life so you can enjoy everything the University of Essex and the UK has to offer. 

Our friendly and professional staff are also on hand to guide, advise and assist you during your time at Essex. We offer a wide range of support covering academic and health and well-being issues.

If have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Student Information Team.

Key information

Support with your English skills

Getting to grips with English as a second language has never been easier because we offer a wide range of services and opportunities for you to work on your language, writing, grammar and speaking skills.

Academic English Support classes (AES classes)

If your first language isn’t English, our Skills for Success team will invite you to register for Academic English Support classes. You will receive an email with the details of modules available in the Autumn term and the link to the AES Registration survey where you can identify which modules you would like to be enrolled on to. The Academic English Support classes aim to help you achieve higher marks through improving your English language skills. Further information can be found on the Skills for Success webpages.

If you have any questions, please contact askthehub@essex.ac.uk

Clubs and societies

Surrounding yourself with native English speakers is a great way to improve your speaking skills and boost your confidence. What better way to do this than by joining one of our Students' Union's 165 sports clubs and societies. From the departmentally-focused and culturally-based to the downright weird and wonderful (Harry Potter Society, anyone?), there's an SU society for everyone. As every Essex student is automatically a member of the University of Essex Students’ Union you can join any of the societies on campus.

Our societies host regular events that promote language learning experiences. You can also ask for 121 sessions with society exec members or group

Watch movies

Our favourite tip for learning the conversational side of a language – watch movies! Watching movies in English (a.k.a. binge-watching Netflix) can be super helpful, it forces you to learn English and gain skills whilst doing something you actually enjoy.

If the big screen is more your thing then watch the latest blockbusters or timeless classics at our on-campus cinema, Cine10.


There are some services and treatments that are carried out at an NHS hospital that are exempt from charges and are free to everyone, including temporary visitors to the UK.

If you are from outside the UK read our healthcare web pages for more information about entitlement to free NHS care, this will depend on your arrival date and UK immigration status.

Our University provides advice and guidance about your health and wellbeing and you will have access to many support services whilst you are studying with us. After your arrival in the UK, you will need to register with a local doctor, also known as a GP (General Practitioner), they will provide you with your NHS number.

Safety and security

  • Health and safety information and advice
  • Advice from the British Council - The British Council has created a downloadable guide 'Creating Confidence' to help international students prepare for their time in the UK. It highlights some safety and security issues that international students should be aware of and lists helpful contact information.
  • Download Creating Confidence by The British Council

Using your phone

Your current international phone is very likely to function perfectly in the UK, but you will need a UK sim card to avoid high charges.

You might feel that you do not need a UK phone number but keep in mind that you will need one when applying for jobs or internships (both on and off-campus), if you need to get a delivery from one of the local supermarkets and most importantly to keep in touch with your new friends at Essex.

The best thing to do is research the different mobile phone companies and the deals they offer.

Prepare to study and live in the UK - online course

The British Council has an online course designed to benefit international students who have been accepted to study at a UK university. The course will provide you with helpful information, support, and study skills for higher education, whilst giving you a taste of life in the UK.