The new academic year is on the horizon. If you’re an international student preparing to travel to the UK for your studies, you probably have many questions about travel and self-isolation amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The good news is that much of the UK has been permitted to reopen, and things are as normal as they can be. There are, however, still restrictions on overseas travel and measures in place for those entering the UK to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. If you think this is likely to affect you – don’t panic. This blog will discuss everything international students coming to study in the UK need to know ahead of their visit and how CityBlock supports its residents, helping them stay safe through the pandemic and beyond.
Do International Students Need to Self-Isolate on Arrival in the UK?
The rules surrounding quarantine on entry to the UK are constantly changing – the best thing to do is to spend some time reading the UK government advice on travel to the UK well in advance of departure. You should also familiarise yourself with your home country’s guidance on international travel to ensure you’re following the correct procedures.
At present, the UK is operating under a traffic light system, in which countries are placed on either the red, amber or green list – these lists dictate what you need to do before and after travel. As case numbers rise and fall, countries are moved between the lists – so check back regularly to ensure you know which list your country is currently on. Have a look at the UK government guidance for exact information on what you’ll need to do.
In many cases, students will need to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, and there is always the possibility that you will be requested to isolate by NHS Test & Trace during your time here. You must understand what that means and how your student accommodation provider can assist in making isolation as safe and comfortable as possible for you.
How Will I Make Friends?
Students starting university are always encouraged to get out there and make friends, but a requirement to self-isolate makes this seem a little tricky. To self-isolate effectively, you need to stay in your room as much as possible and keep use of shared facilities – like the kitchen – to a minimum. This doesn’t mean you can’t get to know your flatmates from afar, though – you could leave a note on your bedroom door explaining that you’re self-isolating but are happy to exchange phone numbers – this way, your new flatmates can keep you company from a safe distance.
If you’re living in a self-contained studio, it might be a little tougher to meet people safely as your kitchen and bathroom facilities are in your room. If you haven’t already, download Discord and look for servers created by students at your university where you can chat online with other students without having to meet them face to face.
How Will I Get Food and Receive Parcels in Isolation?
Suppose you are required to self-isolate on arrival in England, or you are instructed to do so by the UK government after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. In that case, you’re probably worried about how you’re going to keep yourself fed and receive deliveries if you’re not permitted to leave your new student accommodation.
Most major supermarkets in the UK offer home delivery services for groceries, which can be ordered and paid for online, so you don’t need to venture out to get food. At CityBlock, groceries can be ordered and delivered to the main door of our accommodation buildings – all you need to do is wash your hands, pop on a face covering and go collect your shopping.
Student Wellbeing During Isolation
Student wellbeing is a top priority here at CityBlock. We check in with students in self-isolation every day to ensure they feel okay. On arrival at your new accommodation, you’ll be asked how you would like to be contacted – this could be phone or email – whichever suits you best. We want to make sure you understand that you are not alone and that self-isolation is only temporary – you’ll be back to normality before you know it.
If you know you’re going to have to self-isolate on arrival to the UK, come prepared to keep yourself busy during this time. Books, video games, movies, TV shows, workouts that you can do in your room – these are all great ways to keep yourself occupied. Using social media to stay in touch with friends and family back home will help you stay connected to the world around you.
You Made it Through Isolation – Now Enjoy University!
Once your isolation period is over, you’ll be free to get out, explore your new home and properly get to know your flatmates. CityBlock makes this incredibly easy since all our accommodation comes with fantastic, modern, purpose-built social spaces. Seize the opportunity to see some of the tourist attractions your university city has to offer – you might not be in the UK forever, so make the most of it while you can! When you’re not hanging out with your flatmates, playing pool or watching TV, consider joining university societies for things you’re interested in – this will help you meet like-minded people who share your hobbies.
We hope that helped put your mind at ease and reassure you that travelling to the UK to study won’t be as scary as it may seem right now. If you’re an international student looking for somewhere to stay in the UK, CityBlock still has some incredible ensuite student accommodation in Lancaster, Durham and Reading available. Contact us today to find out more.