This article was published by the Great British Mag content team on 15 September 2021.
Has something gone wrong? Is your accommodation not what you expected or are you having second thoughts about the university or course you have chosen? Firstly, don’t PANIC and take a deep breath. There are many places where you can get help which we have compiled for you.
Help with your course
Your personal tutor
When you start university, you will be assigned a personal tutor. This will be a professor that teaches in your school and they will be your point of contact for the duration of your course.
Although you will likely have a meeting with them at the start of each semester, you can contact them at any time if you have a problem. They can help you with general things regarding your academic life and signpost support for your mental health if needed. They are a good point of contact that will make sure that you are moving in the right direction.
The Student Union
All universities have a Students’ Union which is independent of the university and in most cases will be affiliated with the National Union of Students (NUS). Their job is to represent the interests of all students both locally and nationally.
The student union is run by current and former students and they will have officers specialised in different areas. You can go to your student union for help with things such as: dissatisfaction with your course, sexual assault, a nasty landlord or problems with the university. They will be able to fight your battles with you.
To get in contact with them, just go to the on-campus student union office or browse their webpage.
Your university’s international office
Your university will have an international office with a team that specialises in international student’s issues. Whether it be paperwork such as funding, scholarships or visas, academic problems such as seeking help with essay writing or employability issues—they will be able to guide you and offer you a solution. They can also direct you to resources if you need any assistance with your mental health.
Your international office might also organise activities or events specially targeted at international students, such as a tour of the city on welcome week.
Help with your health
Non-emergency number 111
111 is the non-emergency number in the UK. This is the number you call when you are unsure of what to do or if your GP is closed and you need medical care before it reopens. They will listen to your query and let you know what you can do to fix the problem—whether that be going to the pharmacy, waiting for your GP to open, or going to A&E.
If you need to go to A&E, then they will make an appointment for you at the hospital so that you do not have to wait in the reception room for hours.
Samaritans is a charity that provides a 24h helpline 7 days a week. If you need to talk to someone urgently about your mental health then they are the people you want to contact. They will be able to provide you with emotional support and resources if you are considering suicide, have been a victim of rape, sexual assault or domestic abuse or are struggling with mental health and just need to talk to someone.
If you are struggling with your mental health it is also worth checking out Student Minds—the UK’s biggest student wellbeing and mental health website.
The website will point you to many resources that you can access such as charities and helplines as well as many articles with tips and tricks to stay mentally healthy, as well as the support you can get from your university.
Help with legal advice
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has a helpline especially for international students. You can contact them on +4420 7788 9214 Monday to Friday 1-4pm and they will give you advice on a wide range of issues from visa related problems to how you can raise a complaint against your university.
Citizens advice bureau
You can access the Citizen’s advice bureau online and they will be able to provide you with all sorts of free help and guidance in areas such as housing, work and pensions, benefits, immigration and health.
If you are unsure of anything relating to the law, or you think you are being mistreated at work or your landlord is being difficult—then they will be able to advise you free of charge.
Help with homesickness and culture shock
Host is a charity that arranges for international students to spend time with British families, whether that be an evening or a weekend trip so that you can experience how a British family lives their life. They also organise different events and trips through the UK.
It is a good way of exchanging cultures, meeting interesting people and doing something fun for free.
Friend’s International is a Christian charity that helps international students. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Christian or not, they are open to those of all faiths and cultures. They organise events so that students can experience the local culture in their area such as Christmas dinners and Easter lunches. Sometimes they might come to campus and do fun activities such as an evening tea.
Help with accommodation problems
Student Accommodation provider
If you are having problems with your accommodation the first place that you should go to is your accommodation provider. If there is a reception then there will likely be someone there that you can talk to, otherwise you can contact them by phone or email. They will be able to help you with a different number of things such as issues with your flatmates or if you want to move to a different room.
Student advice, support or information services
They might go by different names depending on what university you go to, but student support is there to help you and will be able to give you guidance on a range of issues including student accommodation. If your accommodation provider is being difficult and not helping you out, student support definitely will be able to help you.
Shelter is a charity that fights against homelessness. They will be able to help you with anything house related such as finding a home, paying rent and battling eviction. They will be able to give you resources and can help you get emergency financial help from the council.