Advice for new International students!

If you're about to arrive at Goldsmiths and you’re not from the UK, then it'll probably feel like there's an awful lot to take in right now. But don’t panic, we’re here to help! However nervous you might be, Welcome Week is an amazing opportunity to learn new things, meet new people and see all that Goldsmiths and London has to offer. We recommend new International students pop along to the Welcome Week International Students' Meet Up Hour on Sunday September 22nd or get to know the local area just before with our Lazy Sunday Coffee Walk. 

In the meantime, we asked Minho Kim, our 2018/19 International Students’ Part Time Officer, for everything you need to know about getting around London, registering with the doctor and understanding the language. We recommend you aim to get a few of these basic things sorted in your first couple of weeks so you’ll have more time to prepare for your studies. Good luck!


What is a GP? 

GP stands for General Practitioner, which means your personal doctor, and a GP Practice refers to a medical centre. If you feel ill, you should go to see your GP first to be diagnosed. The college have advice on doing so here.  


How can I register with my GP?

Forms are available at any GP practice. We recommend you to register at the closest one to where you’re living. HOW DO FIND THEM? The only documentation you will need is your photo ID (e.g. passport or BRP).


Does a GP charge for medical?

There is no charge to register with a GP Practice and to see your GP. If your GP decides that you need medicine, you will receive a prescription to pay.



How do I open a bank account?

Most banks won’t offer you a student account unless you’ve lived in the UK for at least three years. If you’re new to the UK, you will have a basic, classic, or international student account. To open an account, you will need your passport and BRP for your photo ID.

You will also need a bank letter - ask for one at the Student Centre. You will need to know which bank and branch you’re going to visit before requesting.

A proof of your address is also required. Normally, a utility bill or bank statement can prove your address, but if you’re staying in a hall and opening a bank account for the first time, you might not have one. In this case, contact the main accommodation office ( to get an alternative document.

You’ll need to make an appointment with a banker at a branch you prefer. Now you are ready to get a bank account. For more information, have a read here



Can I work while studying?

Get a National Insurance number so you can get part-time work in the UK (this is also dependent on what kind of visa you hold). More info on why you need one and what it means here. The college also have more information on working whilst you study.

If I’m allowed to work, is there a limit to my hours? 
With a Tier 4 visa, you are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week.
During holiday periods, 48 hours per week are allowed.



Where do I go if I need advice?

The college have an Immigration Advisory Service with lots of info available online here. Some students MUST register with the police within 7 days of arriving in the country. Check if that’s you, here.  



What is a railcard?

Railcards offer value for money if you travel by train. The price of a 16-25 Railcard for 1-year is £30 (or £70 for 3 years) and this gets 1/3 off every rail journey. To be eligible, you must be aged 16-25 or a mature student – 26 years or older and in full-time study.

What’s the difference between a regular oyster card and a student oyster card?

With pay-as-you-go (top-up), there’s no difference. But with a student oyster, you will receive 30% discount for all travel when you buy travelcards (for example the monthly travelcard).

What is an oyster cap?

A cap is a price-limit in one day or week (e.g. a daily cap price is £7 when you travel between zone 1-2).

What are peak and off-peak times?

A peak train is one that runs during the busiest and most popular times of the day – and they cost more. The peak time is Monday to Friday between 6.30am-9.30am and 4pm-7pm (excluding public holidays). The off-peak time is all other times and it will be slightly cheaper.

How can I link my railcard to my oyster?

Find a staff member at any tube or overground station with your railcard and oyster to help you. By linking your railcard to oyster, you will get discounts on transportation fares except buses and tram.



  • Your nearest large supermarket is the Sainsbury’s at New Cross Gate. The superstore has a petrol station, a Lloyd’s pharmacy and a cafe too.
  • Find various international food stores as detailed online here.
  • Learn more about the local area with our guide here




RHB (Richard Hoggart Building) Info Point: Open Daily

Campus & Library Tours
(depart from RHB Info Point)

Sat – Sun: On the hour from 12pm-4pm

Mon – Thurs: Every hour from 10am – 4pm


Local area tours

(depart from RHB courtyard)

Sat: 10.30am & 2.30pm

Sun: 12.30pm & 2.30pm

Weds & Thurs: 2.30pm