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Living in the UK

Learn more about daily life and culture in the UK, including holidays, religion, driving and healthcare.

British culture

There may be some differences between your own culture and British culture. Some may be more expected, like the language. But you might also see differences in social behaviours, values and even clothes. For example, in the UK we queue for everything, such as buses, shops and toilets. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) gives some good examples about what to expect.

You can learn more about British Culture and practice your English language skills. Read the guidance provided by the British Council. Find out more about the UK from currency and language to acceptable manners.

There is also lots of practical and cultural information available from UKCISA.

Culture Shock

You might notice differences in the way things are done while living in the UK. This is very normal and can be really interesting to experience. But this can also feel quite frustrating and overwhelming at first. This is known as culture shock. It is often something international students experience when moving to the UK. It can take time to get used to your new surroundings. But remember, many of your fellow students will be experiencing this too.

Find out more information about culture shock and how to help yourself from UKCISA. If you feel like you need more support chat to one of our wellbeing advisers.

Religion and faith

You are free to follow any religion and faith in the UK.

The largest faith community is Christian, followed by Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism. There are also many people who are non-religious, secular, atheist, agnostic and humanist.

The University of Bath Chaplaincy can provide a list of local religious groups and places of worship in Bath.

The Students' Union also has a range of faith societies.

Public holidays

There are several public holidays a year in Britain, known as bank holidays.

Driving

In the UK, people drive on the left-hand side of the road. Check to see if you can use your licence to drive in the UK.

If you intend to drive in the UK there are other requirements to be aware of including vehicle tax, MOT certification and insurance. For more information, visit the UK Government's Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency website.

Healthcare

Read our guidance on how to get healthcare if you are an international student. This includes what services are available and what costs you may have to pay.

Mental Health

In the UK it is becoming more widely accepted to talk about mental health. This may be different from perceptions of mental health in your home country. But it is important to recognise changes to your mental wellbeing. At times you may experience feeling isolated, distressed, anxious or lonely. Read more about mental health support in the UK. The University also provides more information about managing your mental health.

Food and shopping

Food

You can find supermarkets and grocery stores in every town and city across the UK. Many supermarkets also offer online food shopping. Some of the biggest supermarket chains are:

  • Tesco
  • Sainsbury's
  • Asda
  • Morrisons
  • Aldi
  • Co-op
  • Lidl
  • Waitrose
  • Iceland

There is additional information about multicultural supermarkets. Please take a look at our multicultural outlets guide.

Water

It is safe to drink tap water in the UK. The water can taste slightly different in each area so some students prefer to also buy a water filter jug. Find out more information about water in the UK from UKCISA.

Shopping

Take a look at our multicultural outlets guide](/guides/multicultural-outlets/). This includes information about multicultural shops, cafes, places of worship and other premises in the Bath area.

Work and money

Working in the UK

If you are a student visa holder there are restrictions on working in the UK. Please see our visa advice pages for details.

You also need a National Insurance Number to work in the UK. The SU Jobs Team can offer advice regarding National Insurance and paying tax.

Money and banking

Read our guidance about opening a UK bank account. Our Student Money team also provide money advice for International and EU students.

Stay in touch

There are a number of different ways you can contact your friends and family in your home country while studying at Bath. You can stay in touch via telephone, internet, letters and parcels.

Safety and support

Support for family members of international students

If you have dependent family members you may want to find out how to arrange education and childcare. Read more information about support for family members of international students.

Scams

It’s important to protect yourself from scams, phishing and fraud. These can sometimes be targeted specifically at international students. Read the University’s phishing and fraud pages for more information on what to look out for and what to do. UKCISA also provides some more support and information on how to respond to scams.

Emergencies

Take a look at the emergency contact numbers to find out which numbers to use for help or support in an emergency.

Enquiries

If you have any questions, please contact us.