As an international student, there are a few things you should do to help keep healthy and well.
1. Understand how healthcare works in the UK
Healthcare in the UK may work differently to what you are used to at home. Take some time to understand the types of services available through the National Health Service (NHS) and how you can access these. View our information about health care for international students, including emergency and non-emergency care.
2. Be prepared
If you have any ongoing health conditions, disabilities or illnesses, you might find it helpful to bring a letter from your home doctor explaining these, so that you can share it with your doctor in the UK.
If you take any medicines, you may want to bring copies of prescriptions or details of these medicines. Make sure you have enough medicine to last until you are able to register with a GP in the UK.
Similarly, if you wear glasses, you might find it helpful to have a copy of your most recent prescription/eye test in case you need to replace your glasses.
3. Register with a GP
It is important to register with a GP (general practitioner - doctor) whilst studying. You should do this as soon as possible, rather than waiting until you feel unwell.
4. Know your numbers
The emergency services number in the UK is 999 (112 can also be used) and is the same for the ambulance, the police and the fire brigade. This should only be used in emergencies - find out when to call 999 for medical reasons.
NHS 111 is the non-emergency number for advice and guidance to help you get the best medical care for you. Phone them if you're not sure what type of care you need. Simply dial 111 from your phone - they are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Need to talk? Nightline is a confidential support and information service run during term-time by students at the University of Birmingham. You can phone them from 6pm-8am (the number is on the back of your student ID card), drop in at St Francis Hall from 6pm-midnight, chat online from 6pm-8am or email and they will aim to reply within 48 hours.
5. Get your Men ACWY vaccine
New students are considered to be particularly at risk of meningitis and septicaemia (also called sepsis or blood poisoning). You are strongly encouraged to speak to your doctor about having the Men ACWY vaccine a few weeks before the start of term, or as soon as possible.
If you are not able to have the vaccine before you arrive in the UK, you should request it when registering with a GP, as soon as possible after you arrive at University.
President of the Guild of Students
“Coming to university is one of the most fun and exciting times of your life but there are some really important things to do before and when you arrive. Registering with a GP and getting your Men ACWY (meningitis) vaccination is one of those important things.”
6. Disclose a disability
Telling us about any disabilities you have enables us to give you appropriate advice and support. At the University, a disability may be a long-term health condition, physical or sensory impairment, a mental health difficulty, autism, Asperger’s syndrome and specific learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia.
We strongly encourage students to tell us about a disability as early as possible, even if you feel you don't need any support yet. Registering your disability with us early means we can support you more quickly if you do need it in the future.
Please disclose your disability as soon as possible, even if you do not currently require any of our services. This will ensure we can help you as quickly as possible if you need any support in the future, and we may be able to offer alternative examination arrangements, such as the use of a computer or additional rest breaks.