International Freshers

Reading University students celebrating Holi at RUSU

Studying abroad can be exciting and daunting in equal measures. Reading University Students' Union (RUSU) aims to make all students feel at home as soon as possible. From assistance with finance to making friends, we will help you become settled in Reading.

We have also put together a compact guide to British life with some key information you may find useful if this is your first time to the UK.

Reading University students celebrating Holi at RUSU

RUSU is your Students' Union. We are a democratic, independent, student-led organisation and we are here to enhance your university experience. We are a separate organisation to the University of Reading which means we are unbiased and can speak to the University independently about any issues that are affecting students. Have a read through our guide on RUSU.

We created a list of things to bring for home students which you might find useful. However, this list contains many more things that you will probably be unable to carry with you from abroad. Remember, a lot of these things can be purchased in the UK or acquired second-hand once you get here. The University of Reading have also recommended to use this checklist on what to sort out before leaving home, such as visa, medical insurance and things to do once you arrive in Reading. The university have made a step-by-step guide for your arrival.

Our what to bring list gives a detailed list of suggested clothing to bring with you, but there are some things to bear in mind as an international student:

  • October in the UK means variable autumnal weather; it can be as warm as 25°C (77°F) or as cool as 14°C (57°F). From November the weather becomes cooler and frosty in the mornings. Local weather forecasts can be found on the BBC Weather website.
  • Generally speaking, students dress in casual clothes for lectures.


Once you arrive, you will be able to buy a duvet quilt (with separate washable cover, lower sheet and pillow case). You can also buy extra bedding and blankets.

You can get all of this from local specialist stores, department stores or supermarkets which are generally open 7 days a week. Prices vary, so shop around!

Wardrobes or drawers are usually provided for storing your clothes but you may need to buy hangers which can be easily found at large supermarkets or department stores.


You can expect to find a hob, oven, fridge and small freezer. Students are generally expected to bring their own cookware, crockery and cutlery. If you are in doubt contact your landlord or the Accomodation Office (telephone: 0118 378 4203, email: for details of what to expect in your kitchen. Again, these items can be easily found in shops and supermarkets in the town centre but shop around as prices will vary. Our what to bring list can give you ideas of useful things to buy once you arrive.


Your accomodation will have a bath or shower, or both. You will need to have your own towels; either bring these with you or buy them from local specialist stores, department stores or supermarkets. Soap holders are not always supplied and cheap sandals or flip-flops are good to wear in communal showers.

RUSU works in partnership with the University to welcome new students arriving on campus.

University of Reading will offer a meet and greet service at Heathrow airport where they will direct you to transport links getting to Reading.

If you have any questions or are worried about anything, please do not hesitate to contact us or come and speak to a member of our Advice team in the Students' Union building. RUSU's Advice Service supports all students with any issues they may have, including academic, housing, welfare and money issues.

You can also contact your RUSU Diversity Officer Nozomi Tolworthy 雷希望 at

Our Living in Reading page provides information about public transport, local shops, banks and cash machines as well as RUSU mail services and local Post Offices.

Reading is a diverse town and you should be able to find a diverse range of food without having to go far. It is worth knowing what restrictions there are on the types of food you can bring into the country, so check before you travel. Visit our Living in Reading page for more information about supermarkets, campus and local shops.

RUSU is unable to recommend particular banks to our international students. Generally, international students can open basic bank accounts, but other types of accounts may require you to live in the UK for a specific length of time. An individual is generally only able to take out a loan or any form of credit if they have lived in the UK for more than 3 years.

The International Welcome Programme information leaflet includes a guide on how to obtain the University letter required to open an account. You will also be asked for evidence of your UK address. The Money Advice Service publishes information about banking in the UK.

University Accomodation does not supply phone lines or public telephones. Many private homes do not have this facility. You will be able to purchase a UK sim card once you arrive in the UK. The Which? website has more information about mobile phones.

Call costs to countries outside the EU vary and you should enquire from the telephone service provider before making calls, or look for special international deals.

You may be eligible for a phone contract after a few months or if you pay a fixed amount at the start of the contract.

There are many ways to meet all kinds of people at university and one of the easiest ways is to get involved with sports, societies and volunteering. Sports and society groups are run by students who organise regular events specifically for their members. Visit Student Activities in the Student Union for more information on how to get involved. There will also be various fayres during welcome week where you can sign up for different activities.

Getting involved with student activities is a great way to develop new skills and broaden your university experience!

Sport is an international language and a fun way to meet new people. Popular sports in England include football (soccer), cricket, hockey (field), rugby and tennis but RUSU also runs many other competitive and recreational sports.

If you are interested in joining a sport but have some questions, make sure you come along to the Sports Fayre in the Students' Union, where you can meet members of sports clubs you're interested in and sign up for some taster sessions.

Societies are another great way to make friends and gain new experiences. There are Afro Caribbean, Asian, Chinese, Cypriot and Hellenic, East African, Erasmus, French, German, Hindu, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Korean, Latin American and Spanish, Lithuanian, Malaysian, Bruneian & Singaporean, Muslim, Nepalese, Nigerian, Pakistan, Russian, Sikh and Turkish Societies& Just to name a few of the many societies at RUSU.

These societies unite and support students from similar backgrounds as well as raising awareness of other cultures. Visit the Culture & Faith societies webpage for the full list.

Come along to the Societies Fayre where you can meet members of the societies that interest you.

Immerse yourself in local culture by volunteering at Reading. There is a huge range of fun and exciting projects you can get involved in; from tea parties for local elderly residents and vegetable growing on campus to fundraising for charity, running after-school clubs for children and everything in between. You will find one-off and flexible opportunities as well as longer term options. These are great causes that can help you find something you are interested in, make new friends, learn new skills and most importantly help others!

Come along to the Volunteering Fayre and get involved.