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Moving to a new country to study abroad can bring up all kinds of concerns and questions .

At Essex, we offer a range of services that provide all our students with the advice, support and information they need, no matter what the issue, from accommodation to graduation. To help you prepare for your new life at Essex and in the UK we've highlighted our key services below so that you can get any questions you have answered.


Health and wellbeing

Whilst studying at Essex you will have access to all University provided health and wellbeing services as well as a variety of NHS facilities and treatments (once registered with a doctor).

If you have prescription medicine, please check with your doctor before you travel to ensure you can access your medicine while you are abroad. You may have to bring a prescription with you in order to access your medicine while in the UK.

Familiarise yourself with the UK Government’s guidance for travelling with medicine containing a controlled drug, and please ensure you carry a prescription in your name for any prescription medicine you travel with.

The British Council have an online course on Managing your well being while studying in the UK. The course is designed to help you manage stress, adjust to UK culture and settle into your student life abroad.

Registering with a doctor and NHS care

After your arrival in the UK, you will need to register with a local doctor, also known as a GP (General Practitioner), who will provide you with your NHS number.

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.

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. If you are not entitled to free treatment by the NHS, then you must take out your health insurance before you leave home.

Mental and emotional help

We understand it can feel daunting to speak with someone about support for your mental health but whatever concerns you might have, we have professionals who provide support on issues concerning mental and emotional health, including assessment and referral for counselling or mentoring.

Find out more about our mental and emotional health services.

Campus healthcare services

Our Colchester Campus has its own health centre offering appointments for a range of NHS services.

If you are living off-campus, this may not be your closest local doctor (known as a General Practitioner, or “GP”). Find your nearest GP using the NHS website.

Find out more about our healthcare services


All students should have their MMR jabs and be vaccinated against meningitis. If you're not sure if you're vaccinated, check with your doctor now. 

The Coronavirus vaccination is now available and as university students we want to support you to get vaccinated in order to protect yourself, fellow students and the campus community you live and study within.

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.

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.

Safety and security

Our campuses are generally very safe environments, we work closely with local agencies including the police and borough councils to achieve this.

Our student webpages contain helpful information on personal safety and emergency contact details, we encourage all students to read these before starting at Essex. 

Campus security

Our friendly Security team can be found in the Security and Safety Centre at our Colchester Campus where they provide 24-hour, face-to-face and phone support.

The team can help with a variety of issues including reporting emergencies as well as non-emergencies such as first aid and lost property.

Emergency services

In an emergency you should telephone the UK emergency services (Ambulance, Fire Service and Police) by dialling 999. The emergency operator will ask for your name, address and the type of emergency.

Only use the 999 number to call the emergency services when, for example, a life is at risk, a crime is in progress or to report a fire.

Advice from the British Council

The British Council has created a downloadable guide titled Creating Confidence (.pdf) 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.

Working in the UK

The Careers team provides support and advice to help you develop your skills, find opportunities and gain experiences throughout your time at university and beyond.

Whether you can work during your studies depends on what type of immigration permission you have. If you have Student immigration permission, before seeking work you must check what you are allowed to do so that you do not breach your immigration conditions.

Further information on working or volunteering in the UK during your studies and student work conditions can be found on our Student Directory.

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Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub who will be happy to assist you.