Welcome New students

Feel at home

Lots of different national flags flying above a crowd.

Home away from home

Life in a new social and cultural environment is exciting but understandably there may be some home comforts you miss once you arrive at the University of Essex.

We want you to feel that Essex is your home away from home so to help you adjust, we have compiled a list of international shops and campus services you can access as well as useful tips to help you settle into your new home and make the most of your international experience.

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.


At Essex, we are proud of our vibrant and diverse multicultural community and we recognise the importance that faith, belief and spirituality play in the lives of many people.

We run a mix of specifically religious events throughout the year and also provide spaces for worship, prayer, meditation and quiet reflection.

There are also SU faith societies ready to welcome you into a ready-made community.

Find out more about our religion, faith and worship facilities

Faith Centre at Colchester Campus

Located on Level 3 of the campus the Colchester Campus Faith Centre offers calm, friendly and supportive atmosphere and a welcoming place for staff, students and the wider community to meet, interact and engage in a positive and peaceful manner. 

The Centre offers two spaces for worship, prayer and quiet reflection:

  • a social space with kitchen area for reading, socialising and discussion
  • a quiet space for private prayer, meditation or reflection

Faith Centre at Southend Campus

Located in The Gateway Building the prayer room and Faith Centre at our Southend Campus is a welcoming place for staff and students to meet, interact and engage in a positive and peaceful manner.

We are here to help and support you. You don’t have to be religious or want to pray to ask for support from us.

Food and drink

There is a wide range of food on campus including halal, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free foods. There are also stalls on campus offering Afro-Caribbean and Asian food, you can check them out during the SU Thursday market on square 3 (during term time).

You can find a great range of international food in The Store and The Extra Store (on square 4) and if you can’t find what you are looking for, you can request it through the in-store product request wall. There are also many international food stores in and around Colchester.

Halal poultry and products

Afro-Caribbean and African products

  • Yawee Foods - Unit 4 Davey Close, Colchester, CO1 2XL
  • Choice Foods - 37A St Botolph's Street, Colchester, CO2 7EA

Oriental products

  • May May Oriental Supermarket - 30 St Botolph's Street, Colchester, CO2 7EA
  • Starry Mart - 143 Caelum Drive, Colchester, CO2 8FN
Grab a bargain at the local market on campus at Colchester
Grab a bargain at the local market on campus at Colchester
A local market stall serving European food
A local market stall serving European food