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This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, health and safety, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Local UCEAP Support
Campus EAP Office
The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.
UCEAP Systemwide Office
The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Staff advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).
Student Finance Accountant
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583
Bookmark your Participants program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Predeparture Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Study Center Abroad
This program is administered from a UCEAP Study Center with a UC academic liasion and program officers. Study Center locations are in London and Edinburgh. Study Center staff will advise you on academic matters and ensure that your academic program meets UC requirements. They also provide general information and help with living in the United Kingdom. The host university also has advisors who will work with you to plan your course of study.
The Study Center is the first point of contact for advice or assistance during the year.
London Study Center
21 Sicilian Avenue
London WC1A 2QS, United Kingdom
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011-44-207) 079-0562
Phone (calling from the U.K.): 0207-079-0562
Edinburgh Study Center
25 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh EH8 9LN
Scotland, United Kingdom
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011-44-131) 662-8988
Phone (calling from the U.K.): 0131-662-8988
Phone Number Codes
U.S. international code ................ 011 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
United Kingdom country code ..........44
London city code...........................207
Edinburgh city code.......................131
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Please see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
for critical academic information and policies, including unit requirements, taking less than the program requirements, the MyEAP Study List registration process, changing courses, petitions, and grades. While abroad, direct all academic questions to the London or Edinburgh Study Center staff first, with one exception: direct any questions regarding satisfying home UC department degree or major requirements through UCEAP coursework to your home UC department or college advisor.
U.K. host university faculty and staff can be helpful in understanding how your host university works. Remember, however, that they work with students from many international universities, and they are not responsible for knowing specific UCEAP academic requirements or exceptions. The people who can answer those questions are the UCEAP Study Center staff based in London and Edinburgh, who are in close contact with your host university. Contact them to resolve any academic (or other) concerns, confusion, questions, or difficulties throughout your program. You should also let them know about any issues that may impact your academic performance (illness, housing problems, personal issues, anxiety, or similar concerns) throughout your time in the U.K.
Among the many unique opportunities offered by study abroad in the U.K. is the chance to experience British academic culture. Many UCEAP participants find it to be far more independent than the UC culture, often with suggested (rather than mandatory) readings, a higher expectation of independent study, and final grades highly dependent on just one or two essays or exams. Although this can be daunting at first, UC students who manage this responsibility find it gives them the freedom to tailor their experience and their studies to more closely match their personal academic interests. Be sure to read Exams & Grades in this chapter carefully, as the exam system is very different from UC and requires preparation through the term.
In the United Kingdom, students usually follow a more specialized academic curriculum than is the case at UC. During your program abroad, plan to take most courses in your major at an upper-division level; completion of all lower-division requirements in your major is recommended prior to departure. Many host universities limit the amount of coursework that can be taken outside the major.
Generally, fewer courses are offered than at UC; depth rather than variety is stressed. There are also fewer hours of formal instruction and a greater expectation of independent work. The assigned tutorial advisor or director of studies will help you plan an appropriate course of study and is always available to discuss progress and offer advice during your program.
You are encouraged to take advantage of course offerings not normally available at your UC campus. If preparation is adequate, you may enroll in honors courses with second- or third-year host university students.
Most UCEAP students find academic programs in the United Kingdom interesting and challenging. Classes at British universities tend to be small by UC standards, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. The smaller size creates a stimulating learning environment, often with more personal instruction and student-teacher interaction than at UC. If you are in the sciences and engineering, you will most likely find a greater emphasis on practical (laboratory) work than at UC. Essays are an integral part of undergraduate life, often even for science and engineering students. There is significantly more writing expected of students in the U.K. Any academic work submitted late will be marked down and may even receive a mark of zero.
You will choose one field of concentration during your program with the expectation that you will do most, if not all, of your coursework in that field. You will concentrate more in a single subject than is done at UC. Depending on the host university, you may be permitted to do some coursework outside that field. However, most host universities limit the amount of such coursework. Plan to deepen your understanding of the field in which you have completed introductory work.
Host University Information
Visit the UCEAP website to learn more about your host university.
Most British universities offer a three-year undergraduate program leading to a bachelor’s degree; Scottish universities offer a four-year program. In their first year, students are already at the equivalent of the sophomore year in a U.S. university. Rarely do students change majors or undertake a double major in widely disparate fields (e.g., English literature and psychology). Instead, students study a single subject for the entire bachelor’s degree program. Work commonly done at the first-year college level in the U.S., such as lower-division mathematics, is completed in secondary schools and is rarely available at universities. However, many universities now offer beginners foreign language instruction and some offer broad curriculum courses in other subject areas too.
Most UC students are placed at the second-year level for work in their major department, although first-, third-, and fourth-year coursework may be taken, if appropriate. In the United Kingdom, as in the rest of Europe, professional study, such as law or medicine, is done at the undergraduate rather than the post-graduate level. Consequently, if you are in a subject such as physiology or some branch of biology, you may be taking some of your courses in a medical school. If you are in a major such as law and society, limit your schedule to one law course per term. Aim to take classes in jurisprudence or international law rather than in areas of specifically British legal practice, such as criminal, civil, or family law. Classes in sociology, criminology, politics, and history are appropriate for UC pre-law majors.
Historically, many U.K. universities offered mostly or only year-long courses, with one exam in spring or early summer. Any mid-year exams were often in January, after the holiday break. End-of-year exams were often held in May or June, after a three- to six-week study period (or “revision break”).
Most UCEAP partners are currently in the process of moving to a more modular, two-term structure (or “semesterizing”), but at varying rates and ways among universities and often even among departments within a university. This has led to many accommodations for exchange students, and faculty are often able to offer specific alternatives. However, much remains rigid and formalized, particularly the extremely structured exam system. Each university has an “Examination Review Board” (also called a Grades Board, Board of Examiners, or similar) which controls the exam process.
To avoid unexpected surprises as to when you can submit final papers and take final exams, when you will receive grades, and when you may depart from the program, read Course Information and Exams & Grades in detail in this chapter, and consult the London and Edinburgh Study Center staff before committing to specific classes.
To the UC student caught up in the intensity of 10-week quarters (or 15-week semesters) and accustomed to the anonymity of large lectures, the British university systems may sound like academic paradise. But be prepared; in fact there is much that you will find unfamiliar in the British systems. You will spend much time during the early weeks at the university simply learning this different university culture.
The pace and the amount of direction you will receive will be different. Rather than receiving a syllabus detailing what to read for each class meeting, expect to simply receive a long reading list. This list will constitute the material of the course and you will likely need to find your own way through the reading. Tutors and lecturers may give some guidance about what will be covered in a certain class meeting, but they may also assume that you are familiar with the works on the list. This lack of specific direction can be frustrating, especially at the beginning. Expect to ask questions about reading, background knowledge, and the like.
Faculty members, most often called lecturers (professor is a rare title held only by the head of a department or the holder of a chair), can frequently be found in their offices, but they are not generally required to hold specific office hours. Like their UC counterparts, some are readily available, some elusive.
You will have to adapt to the relative infrequency of class meetings. Classes typically meet once a week. At some host universities, there will be one lecture and a tutorial/seminar meeting each week. Although you will spend far less time in class, this does not mean less work. You will be expected to read more independently. An exception to this schedule applies to the science classes, which often involve frequent class meetings and long lab sessions, called practicals. Since most classes meet infrequently, each class meeting is extremely important; come to class prepared and expect to participate when appropriate. For the most part, UC students are used to speaking up in class and frequently find that this gives them an advantage over the local students, who are sometimes more reticent about participation.
You may need to buy some texts; however, fewer texts are required than at UC and you can use more library resources. Unfortunately, academic libraries in the U.K. are generally not as user-friendly as the UC libraries. The collections are typically smaller, and the hours more restricted. Students frequently photocopy the chapters and sections of books they need. (The costs of photocopying are about twice what they are in California.)
You are expected to be more independent than you might normally be at UC. There is rarely any immediate accountability for the material presented in lectures; students often demonstrate their mastery of material in exams at the end of the year. There are no regular tests, and few assignments other than papers provide feedback. As a result, you may not know where you stand academically in some courses until completion of final exams at the end of the academic year. You will need to work with less direction, fewer in-term assessments, and less sense of how your performance will finally be judged. The advantage of such a system is that you can set the agenda of your own education and tailor it to your particular interests.
There is more emphasis on writing in the U.K. than at UC, and you may need to submit two or three essays per term, even in the sciences or mathematics. Excellent writing ability is the norm, and marking down for poor writing, spelling, and grammar is common. Seminars and tutorial sessions often require papers and oral reports.
Most British students have been trained rigorously in writing. The majority of their A-levels (exams required for entrance to English universities) and Scottish Higher Exams are written in essay format. Significant emphasis is placed on literacy, not only if you are in the humanities and social sciences, but also if you are in the sciences. It is important to express intelligent ideas clearly and coherently using well-supported arguments. Spelling and grammar errors are unacceptable. This is as important in exams as it is in essays written during the term. Change your laptop setting to “English (U.K.)” and use the Spelling and Grammar function.
You will need to familiarize yourself with a different style of essay writing. Instructors typically expect more outside (secondary) sources to be evident in essays than at UC. A good essay will attempt to insert itself into the critical discourse on the topic, not appear simply as the writer’s personal thoughts. Research your topic thoroughly (or more thoroughly than the hectic pace that UC quarters generally allow) and use that research in your essay. Pay close attention to the correct citation of sources. Plagiarism, even if accidental, will incur severe penalties.
Students in the U.K. may appear rather puzzling in their study habits. They may seem to study very little, especially early in the term. This is particularly true of first-year students, who most often are not required to do more than pass their exams. However, some of this appearance may be deceptive. While American students may be accustomed to talking about how much and how hard they have to work, British students are not, and in fact like to appear altogether nonchalant about their studies, as if there is always time for a free evening. UC students have come to suspect them of being closet scholars, working in secret on weekends or late at night. Whatever the case, you will probably find that your own secret weapon is the study habits formed in the crucible of a pressured quarter or semester system.
In the UK or Ireland, it can be difficult for you as a UC student to gauge how you are doing with a class as you may have only one essay and one exam, and you may not receive grades for the essay until late in the term. Under these circumstances, you have to continuously assess how you are keeping up with tutorials and discussion sessions. Ask yourself if you can follow tutorials, or if you struggle to keep up or take part in the discussion.
You should also look at past exam papers, which are often available in the libraries. In addition, you should speak to your tutors or faculty to discuss particular concerns or request guidance with reading. You could ask for additional reading suggestions, or you could put together a draft/mock essay (not for actual grading) and discuss with faculty to see if you are going in the right direction. Some courses now have non-graded formative essays, which although additional work, help you find out where to improve. The formative essays can also show you what grade you would have obtained.
Our Study Center staff in London and Edinburgh highly recommend that you enroll in study skills workshops at the start of the term. Some courses are still 100% final exam, so it can be very difficult for you to gauge your progress. By enrolling in workshops, you can practice and learn about the academic system and expectations.
UCEAP Minimum Load
While on UCEAP, you are required to take a full-time course of study and enroll in a minimum of 21 UC quarter/14 semester units each semester. You are also required to enroll in what the host university considers a normal, full-time course load for its students. This load varies among the host universities.
If the host university requires fewer units for exchange students in general, you must still fulfill your UCEAP minimum requirements. The only exceptions include predeparture disability exemption or a deficit load petition approved while abroad. Deficit loads are typically only approved in health or other circumstances beyond your control (not needing the units to graduate is not an acceptable justification for a deficit load).
The U.K. course load generally transfers as 42 to 48 UC quarter units (28 to 32 semester units) for the year.
Pass/No Pass (P/NP) Policy
While on UCEAP, you may take up to one-third (33%) of your total unit load per term (or per year) on a P/NP basis.
Most campus departments prohibit the P/NP grading option for any course in the major. It is your responsibility to be aware of your UC campus and department regulations, restrictions, or limitations regarding P/NP, and to plan coursework accordingly.
Conversion from Host Institution Units to UC Units
||UK host institution units
||UC quarter units
||UC semester units
||Most common # of courses UC students take per term|
|University of Edinburgh
|University of Glasgow
|University of St Andrews
|Note: Bold indicates most common number of units per one-term course. Higher unit numbers tend to be for year-long courses, but not necessarily.|
Try to be flexible as you begin the course registration process at the host university; it can be a cumbersome and decentralized process. Depending on your host university, you will register in one of the following two ways:
- By directly visiting individual departments, completing a module choice form in which you select courses, and returning the completed form to a host university administrator who maintains the academic record. In some cases, the host university’s international student office reviews the course list and inquires with the departments about course availability.
- By being enrolled in courses directly by the International Student Office.
Keep in mind that the courses chosen prior to departure are not guaranteed; course registration is confirmed either shortly before or after arrival, depending on your host university’s registration process. Confirmed courses will sometimes appear in your admission letter from the host university. It can sometimes be difficult to change courses once the term has begun, so be sure to choose your courses thoughtfully.
If you are a graduate student with UCEAP-approved study plans, you can be accommodated in most fields. Admission is more likely if you establish contact during the application process with a possible sponsor for a particular project. In addition to reviewing information in this guide, contact the Campus EAP Office for more information.
Honors (third-year) courses in the departments of Humanities and Social Sciences have limited space at some universities. This has particularly been the case in the fields of English, history, literature, politics, psychology, and sociology. If you are interested in any of these areas, you must be flexible about course choices.
In addition to registering at your host university, you must also complete your MyEAP Registration Study List. The Study Center staff will guide you through this process and advise you of deadlines for course changes and petitions. Be sure to read all e-mails from the Study Center during the registration process and review your final Study List carefully, as it determines how your U.K. courses will appear on your UC transcript.
For which courses should you register?
You are encouraged to take classes from all 4 years of an undergraduate degree; however, there are some conditions you have to consider.
- During their first year of study at a Scottish university, Scottish students are already closer to the equivalent of the sophomore year at a U.S. university. Taken over 1 year, prospective university candidates sit “Scottish Highers,” the main University entrance exam. Students are expected to take between three and five Highers (subjects) in their fifth year of secondary schooling, when they are approximately 17 years old. Students who are particularly competent in a subject stay on for a sixth year at high school and take “Advanced Highers.” Advanced Highers offer the opportunity for in-depth study, specialization, and the development of independent learning skills. Advanced Highers can also offer direct entry into the second year of a Scottish 4-year degree program.
- Because Scottish students have studied a particular topic in much detail prior to entering a university, the majority of courses you will be taking at a U.K. university are upper division, except for some first or second-year courses that are very introductory. Second and third-year courses are typically considered “equivalent” to the junior year at a U.S. university. As a UC student you most likely will be placed at this level for work in your major department.
- For enrolment in third-year Scottish courses, you usually need to have taken 3-4 upper division courses with good grades (B and upwards) in that particular subject. But even if you have a good background in a particular subject, we recommend that you do not take all third-year courses during your first semester at a Scottish university: since you will be adjusting to a new academic system, we suggest that you take a combination of second and third-year courses. If you are there for the entire year, of course, it will be easier for you to gauge what level of courses you will be taking in the second term.
- Fourth-year courses at a Scottish university are quite advanced and require thorough knowledge in a subject. If you are not sufficiently prepared for these courses, you might be struggling with this level. Also, even if your home department has pre-approved you for fourth-year U.K. courses, you might be told by the host university that you do not have enough background to take that level because fourth-year courses are particularly specialized. In addition, if your GPA is not high enough, you may be restricted to taking lower level classes in your major.
Conclusion: You can register for courses at all four levels; however, do not register for third- and fourth-year courses thinking only these courses are upper division. If you want to take third- and fourth-year courses – and many UCEAP students do – you need to meet the pre-requisites, and you have to understand that these are specialized courses that can be very demanding.
Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)
On Scottish University websites, you will often see the course level referred to as a particular SCQF Level. The framework has been developed to help education providers and the general public to better understand the full range of Scottish academic qualifications.
SCQF level 8 courses, for example, are first and second-year courses in the U.K. and usually equate to UC upper division courses. (There are exceptions, however; and UC students should not assume that they transfer as upper division.) For these courses, the U.K. universities would expect knowledge of the subject or various pre-requisites before allowing a student on a second-year course. (A UK student would have sat A-level exams and completed a full year of that one subject area only before getting on to second-year courses.)
Higher level courses, level 9 and 10 courses (i.e. 3rd and 4th year courses) are particularly specialized. You should carefully consider enrolling in these courses since they can be very demanding, and you might struggle with this level. If you are not sufficiently qualified for a particular level, a Scottish University can decide not to enroll you in these courses.
Semesterization & Fall Term
As mentioned in the previous section, semesterization and/or accommodation for exchange students may open many new options for UCEAP students. However, for both fall-only and year students, it is extremely important to understand, before you commit to your courses, when you will be assessed, when you will receive your grades, and when you can depart the program. Discuss these issues with your faculty and contact the Study Center staff if you have questions. They are extremely knowledgeable about the changes these universities are going through, and what will and will not work depending on your host institution and department. The two primary issues are:
- Year courses taken by fall-only students. All universities offer varying numbers of year-long classes. Many—though not all—year courses can accommodate fall-only students by assessing them in December, halfway through the material. However, you may not receive a grade until after the Examination Board meets in spring or early summer. Find out when your grade will be available before committing to the course. In MyEAP, make sure your Study List includes the correct course, number of units, and duration; you may need to ask the Study Center staff to add a new version of the year course
- Fall courses – January exams given in December. Most universities with fall-only UCEAP programs now have December exams for fall courses. However, you will still need to request “early alternative assessment” for exams or papers; follow Study Center guidance to do so. Some departments (notably math and often economics) will not accommodate December exams, and most will not even begin grading until all finals are submitted in January. Note that for two fall-only programs, Manchester and Sussex, the official end of the program is in January. You must complete and submit all work before leaving the U.K., regardless of host university options (see Exams & Grades section).
While instruction may continue into the final month or so of the academic year (some universities call this part of Spring semester “Summer Term” or “Term 3” or “Trinity Term”) the period is mostly reserved for “revision” (study for final exams) and taking final exams.
UCEAP students may find that they have only final papers due during or before this period, without any final exams. In rare cases students find that NONE of their classes requires a final paper or exam during the revision and final exam period. In that case, notify the UCEAP Edinburgh Study Center immediately to discuss independent study opportunities.
Modes of Instruction
In general, British students are expected to engage in more independent study than are students in U.S. universities. Contact hours with faculty instructors are fewer than in a U.S. university, but usually more intense. Also, instead of textbooks, wide-ranging book lists are employed, giving you an opportunity to read broadly in a given field. Instruction generally consists of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and labs or practicals. Science courses usually integrate the lecture and lab into a single course. The tutorial system includes formal and informal teaching conducted in small groups where you can discuss written work or topics you have prepared. Tutorials may consist of reports and discussions, with each student contributing a different experience to the whole. The tutor facilitates the discussion and gives guidance on future work.
Seminars are larger group discussions, usually based on short papers written in advance by one or two students. In seminars, you will be encouraged to contribute your own views and test your opinions against those of others. Tutorials and seminars are supplemented by lectures, which are often used to cover the groundwork in a subject. Lectures, which may be on very diverse subjects, often are neither required nor tested; instead, the assessed academic work tends to be accomplished in the tutorials. Instruction may also be divided into both core courses (lectures and tutorials) and special papers or projects. You may be expected to select a mix of both kinds of courses in the same fashion as the host university students.
Exams & Grades
U.K. Examination System
Exams are a serious business in British universities—far more so than almost any final exam at UC—and local students prepare for them in earnest since their entire final standing may be riding on the result. Often, 70 percent or more of the final grade is based on exams, and there are still many courses that just have one final exam. Each university has an office with authority over every aspect of the exam system (variously called the Board of Examiners, Grade Board, Review Board, or similar). They are not flexible about changing exam dates other than the above accommodations for fall-only students (which vary by department).
Exams are “blind double-marked” meaning that two outside readers judge your anonymously-submitted final exam or paper. This system operates in order to ensure transparency, fairness, and quality assurance. If there is a large discrepancy between the grades given by the two instructors, or you are on the cusp between two grades, your work will be sent to an impartial external examiner. Due to this system, if your performance falls short in an exam, the course grade will not be adjusted, even if you demonstrated substantial effort in the course. If you feel there was a true error in your grade, or you have other concerns, consult the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
Note that many U.K. universities offer their students a chance to “re-sit” or re-take exams, or to submit a paper at a later time. However, regardless of any option given to you by your host university, UCEAP students are never allowed to re-take an exam or submit any assignment after the program ends and/or after you return to California.
Preparing for U.K. Exams
Keep up with your reading and class attendance throughout the year so that final exam time will not be unnecessarily stressful. Take notes throughout the year so that you can effectively “revise” or study, especially during the spring revision period.
The London and Edinburgh Study Center
staff have years of experience helping UC students adapt to the U.K. system, including exams. Review their website, which has much more detail and advice about many aspects of U.K. host universities. For example, they note that the goal in “revising” for U.K. exams is to draft answers to several likely questions, including references to major authorities or critics with succinct quotes, so that the exam hours are filled with writing what has already been thought through. While some creative thinking is always required in the exam, it is difficult to complete the required essays without a careful process of preparation. This is very different from simply rereading materials (and different from the type of “cramming” that you may do at UC).
Check previous exams for your course, often available at the library or on the website. They will give you many clues about the kind of questions asked and the kind of study required to answer them. Some instructors provide a list of dummy “prompts” or questions for essay exams for students to prepare before the exam. Familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam before the event by asking questions of your instructor or tutor.
If you typically are a disciplined student and are able to keep up with your work, the U.K. academic model can actually be more rewarding and liberating, and may even seem easier. However, if you often procrastinate, you’ll need to find ways of staying on track. Do not hesitate to ask your faculty or the Study Center staff if you feel you don’t understand the academic expectations. The earlier you ask for help, the more likely you will be to succeed.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
. Specifically, note the Grades section and the 90-day window for processing batches of grades. You can only request individually expedited grades once it has been 90 days since the end of the program, and then only if your particular grades are complete (often the problem is with the host university’s particular department or division).
While many U.K. university grades are processed within two to three months, some are often quite slow. Much depends on the Examination Board schedules, which change from year to year. U.K. universities that have historically transmitted grades to registrars past the 90 days include the University of Sussex, the University of Warwick, and the University of York, but others occasionally do as well.
You may get notice of your individual U.K. grades in a host university portal system, or directly from your instructor. However, because you will earn UC grades (not U.K. grades) there are additional steps to get it from the host portal to your registrar. U.K. grades must still be submitted to the Study Center; reviewed, converted, and entered for the UC faculty; electronically signed by the UC faculty, sent to the Systemwide Office, and then transmitted to the UC registrar.
Seniors should especially consider these issues, along with those outlined previously in the Course Information section, to make sure they do not require grades sooner than what may be possible. No individual expediting is possible until the end of the 90-day window, regardless of graduation or graduate school deadlines.
Grades for the fall semester are typically available late March, and grades for the spring semester are typically available late July or early August.
You are encouraged to seek out internship opportunities in business and industry, the professions, government, the arts, or with non-profit public interest groups in the United Kingdom. Past UC students have taken part in science research projects with host university professors, archaeological explorations, arts festivals and other exciting internships which they have found greatly rewarding and often very beneficial to their future studies. While such internships are not arranged directly by UCEAP, host university international offices and Study Center staff will support applications and do their best to facilitate placement.
If you are interested in participating in an internship, you must obtain the Tier 4 Student Visa before departure from the U.S. U.K. laws prohibit any student from working, interning, or doing volunteer work unless they hold a Tier 4 Student Visa.
Extending UCEAP Participation
UCEAP encourages fall students to extend participation to the academic year (please see the section Visa for Students Extending Participation as students interested in extending may want to consider avoiding 2nd visa issues by applying for the year). If you are considering extension, submit a Departmental and College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form prior to departure. The DPA does not obligate you to extend, but will expedite the process. Once you are abroad, make an appointment with the Study Center and complete the Request for Final Approval (RFA).
UCEAP must approve your extension request once you are abroad in order to finalize the extension. Approval is based on a number of factors, including academic performance, the support of your UC campus department, and available space at the host institution.
Once your extension has been approved, UCEAP will notify your UC campus registrar, Financial Aid Office, and Campus EAP Office. For information about the steps you need to take in regards to finances, see the Extension of Participation chapter in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Visa for Students Extending Participation
If you are a short-term student with a Student Visitor Visa, you must return to the U.S. during winter break and apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa from the British consulate. The British Home Office has stated that anyone with a Student Visitor Visa cannot receive a second Student Visitor Visa upon arrival or re-entry.
If you are a short-term student with a Tier 4 Student Visa, you can either return to the U.S. to apply for a second Student Visa or you may be able to apply to the Home Office in London (or Glasgow); however, this method will cost at least $590 to apply by mail and at least $1,000 to apply in person. In addition to the high cost, applying by mail obligates you to submit your passport to the British Home Office for a number of weeks, during which time you cannot travel out of the country.
“I think it has something to do with being British. We don't take ourselves as seriously as other countries do."
Become as acquainted as possible with the U.K. prior to departure, and keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers and magazines, and by watching films set in contemporary Britain. UC libraries subscribe to the main daily newspapers published in London, and weekly or monthly magazines of news and commentary are also available.
The British Council has advice on living and studying in the UK that can be found at www.educationuk.org under the ‘Living in the UK’ tab.
UCEAP students recommend acquiring a guidebook or two before departure. Travel books give comprehensive accommodation, sightseeing, historical, and travel information. Suggested travel book series include Let’s Go, Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, Blue Guide, Michelin Guide, and Intelligent Traveler’s Guide. Other resources are Time Out, DK, Insight, and Footprint guidebooks.
Living in the U.K.
Life in Britain will almost certainly be different from what you are used to. There is of course no single ‘British’ way of life as attitudes and outlooks vary considerably. International perceptions of the British broadly revolve around their politeness and reserved nature. The British are a diverse, multicultural society, with strong regional accents, expressions and identities. Britain is a very cosmopolitan country with residents from all over the world.
Class stratification is still a part of U.K. society, and you are likely to be aware of some degree of class consciousness among your British peers. A smaller percentage of the population attends university in the U.K. than in the U.S., which means that a given university may be less representative of the population as a whole. But because students traditionally leave home to go to university just as in the U.S., the political and social character of a university cannot be predicted by its location. Be open to a variety of social and political attitudes on the part of your counterparts in Britain.
The United Kingdom is a multiracial society and has experienced, and continues to experience, racial tensions. But the mix of races is quite different; in addition to Africans and Afro-Caribbeans, Britain has a sizable population from the Asian subcontinent, including Indians and Pakistanis, but in relation to California, a smaller number of East Asians. Moreover, ethnic minorities represent different cultural experiences, deriving their place in contemporary Britain from the nation’s comparatively recent colonial past. British people are conscious of the need for racial awareness and sensitivity, but as ethnic groups are unevenly spread across the country (minorities typically concentrated in London and the large cities of the Midlands and North), they vary a great deal in their actual experience of racial diversity.
While Britain’s differences from the U.S. should not affect the degree of acceptance and friendliness extended to non-white American students, it may mean differing assumptions, even misunderstanding at times, about the backgrounds of such students. Political correctness is as much a part of discourse in Britain as in the U.S., but it also means different things and elicits a variety of attitudes.
You will likely hear much about culture shock in your campus UCEAP orientation meetings and during the orientation abroad. Whether you feel the term overstates the matter, or that shock is just the right term to describe adjusting to a new environment, realize that adjusting to life in a different country, even one where the language is the same and much of the popular culture is shared, can present a significant challenge. Though many returned students describe their time on UCEAP as “the best time of my life,” they admit that genuine effort is required to adjust, especially in the beginning.
Drinking and going out
The legal age limit to buy and consume alcohol in the UK is 18. Pubs in Britain are open to anyone and their opening hours vary. Pub culture is a part of British social life, but this does not mean that you have to drink alcohol. It’s totally acceptable to ask for a non-alcoholic drink.
It is advisable to carry some photo ID with your date of birth on it, as you may be asked to produce it when purchasing alcohol. Accepted forms of ID are your driver’s license (this includes non-UK driver’s licenses) or passport.
All bars and nightclubs in the UK have a strict over 18 policy. Once again, it is advisable to carry photo ID with your date of birth on it. You will be refused entry into venues if you are unable to provide proof of age upon request.
SmokingSince July 2007, smoking has been banned in all public spaces, including pubs, clubs, and restaurants. Smoking is not allowed in any academic buildings on campus and the residences are also non-smoking. Smoking is more common in Britain than where you may be from.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Travel to the UCEAP Orientation
Detailed instructions on transportation from various airports in the U.K. to the designated arrival point are found in the Arrival/Orientation Information in the online UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.
You are required to attend a mandatory UCEAP orientation abroad. The UCEAP Official Start Date varies by host university (see the program calendar on the UCEAP website for your host university). The Official Start Date is established by UCEAP; it is not published by your host university.
You are subject to dismissal from UCEAP if you do not arrive on the on the date and at the place and time specified in the program calendar (see Student Agreement, Section 10, in MyEAP). Regardless of your host university’s orientation dates, you are required to attend the mandatory UCEAP orientation.
The UCEAP orientation usually does not take place at your host university. Accommodations will be reserved for you for two nights (three days). Most UCEAP orientations will take place either in London, Edinburgh, or sometimes your host city. You are responsible for traveling directly to the accommodations—do not go to the Study Center. Details about the orientation accommodations, local transportation instructions from various airports, and address and phone information are found in the UCEAP online Predeparture Checklist. Dates and city locations are also in the program calendar.
Orientation includes academic briefings, social and cultural events, and some free time to explore the area. Do not plan on spending the block of time reserved for orientation on sightseeing or attending cultural events with your parents or non-UCEAP friends. Tickets to plays or other events are pre-purchased for you. After arrival, you will receive a detailed orientation agenda showing the free time slots, which you can then use to meet with family and friends who may also be in the city. The orientation provides insight into the academic environment of your host university and explains course credit, Study Lists, grades, and other serious academic matters. Advice will be offered on such issues as coping with a new culture, personal safety, health, and banking. You are required to attend all UCEAP orientation sessions and meals.
You will be provided with some meals (including all breakfasts) during the UCEAP orientation. You are expected to pay for other meals and personal sightseeing.
If the UCEAP orientation conflicts with a religious observance, individual accommodation is possible. For example, among multiple options, you may attend an orientation on another date that is held by your Study Center. E-mail your request to UCEAP so appropriate arrangements can be made ahead of time.
Host University Orientation
In addition to the UCEAP orientation, each host university offers its own orientation. It is not a substitute for the UCEAP orientation, but an important supplement. Most UCEAP orientation dates occur before the host university orientation and are scheduled to end as closely as possible to the start of host university orientations. There may be a time gap between the two orientations of a couple of days; you must anticipate this time and budget for it because you will be responsible for personal expenses, which include the cost of housing, food, transportation, and any other miscellaneous expenses that come up between the two orientations. Check your UCEAP program calendar on the Participants portal of the UCEAP website to see the number of days between the two orientations.
There may be an extra orientation charge by the host university. The Student Budget, found on the UCEAP website, factors these costs into one of the line items, which means that the UC Financial Aid Office also factors these costs into the financial aid package (if you receive financial aid).
The host university orientation is mandatory. You will receive instruction on course registration and most universities begin their Registration Week during orientation; therefore, it is not likely that you will be enrolled in your preferred classes if you miss the host university orientation.
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
Travel to the U.K.
Before you make any travel plans, see the Entry Clearance section under Travel Documents of this guide and the visa instructions in the online UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.
No group flights have been arranged by UCEAP. You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements. Even if you are on full financial aid, you are responsible for reserving and purchasing your own airline ticket. Your Financial Aid Office is not responsible for purchasing tickets. You are strongly urged to purchase a changeable airline ticket. Standby tickets are not advisable.
The UCEAP program calendar shows the Official Start Date, the UCEAP orientation date and site, and the host university orientation date. If you fail to appear on the dates indicated, you will be subject to dismissal from the program (see the Student Agreement online in MyEAP).
The start date of the program can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications in your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. In addition, flights are routinely changed or canceled. Confirm your flight schedule with your airline about two weeks before departure. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges incurred for independent travel. In order to be kept informed of any program changes, you must update MyEAP with any changes in your address, e-mail, or phone number.
Airline and Customs Restrictions
Do not ask other students to carry any items abroad for you (laptop, camera, extra bags, etc.) and do not volunteer to do so for others. Airlines may not allow you to carry items for others. If you are allowed to board the plane with the items, customs abroad may charge you a high duty for those items. They will assume you plan to sell them, especially if you already have similar items of your own. This is particularly a concern with electronic goods.
Travel to Your Designated Arrival Point
When traveling, always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage. Leave extra credit cards at home, and carry only what is necessary. To avoid theft, never leave your luggage unattended.
Flights from the U.S. direct to Europe arrive the day after they depart the U.S. Keep this in mind when booking your flight to arrive on the correct date for the program.
You are required to arrive at the correct program site on UCEAP’s Official Start Date; see the program calendar on the UCEAP website for the date.
Detailed instructions on transportation from London-area airports to the designated arrival point at the program site are available in the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.
Please remember: if you fail to appear on the date and at the place indicated, you will be subject to dismissal from the program (see the Student Agreement in MyEAP).
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
Travel to the Host University
During the UCEAP orientation abroad, you will receive information about traveling to your host university.
Students going to the same host university often decide that they will travel as a group to their destination. Many students travel together by train or bus to their host university. However, if you decide to fly from the orientation to your host university, you are advised to make the airline reservation when you reserve your initial flight from the U.S. Note that luggage weight restrictions for international flights differ from regional ones, so it is important to find out requirements for the internal flight to your host university. UCEAP students who could not take their luggage in the past (and thus could not board the flight) were also unable to secure a refund from the airline. Your UCEAP program calendar shows the date and time of day you will depart from the UCEAP orientation site. Be sure to find the correct date before making the airline reservation.
You are not required to present a birth certificate to the host university, even if requested. Your passport is sufficient identification.
Make photocopies of all important documents and keep the copies in a location separate from the originals. E-mail yourself a list of passport and credit card numbers and any other personal information that would need to be replaced if it were stolen or lost.
Length of Stay - Semester/quarter and year long
If the British consulate (before departure) or an immigration officer (after arrival) asks if you are “leaving the U.K. within six months,” be sure to answer “Yes” and explain that you will attend university for one semester/quarter, which is less than six months.
If you are attending for the full academic year be sure to answer "yes". And explain that you will attend University for one academic year. You are not being asked about your vacation or travel plans, although the question may sound like that. Different stamps are placed in the passport depending on the length of time you will be an enrolled student.
Entry Clearance (Visa)
If you are attending university in England or Scotland for the year, you must obtain an entry clearance called a Tier 4 Student Visa (for the year) prior to departure from the U.S. The clearance is obtained by online application and hard-copy mail to/from the British consulate in New York.
If you are a U.S. citizen attending university for only one term, you can obtain an entry clearance called a Student Visitor Visa upon arrival in the U.K. by showing required documentation of student status and evidence of financial support. However, if you want to work, intern, or do volunteer work in the U.K., you must obtain a different entry clearance, called a Tier 4 Student Visa (for a short term), before departure.
Detailed information about the entry clearance (for both year and short-term programs) can be found in the online UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.
If you are a non-U.S. citizen attending university for only one term, check the British consulate website immediately to find what process is required for students from your country of citizenship.
Traveling to the U.K.
You may not travel to or through the Republic of Ireland on your way to the United Kingdom. Do not book your flight on Aer Lingus, as it will make a stop in Dublin on its way to the U.K.
The U.K. and Ireland are part of the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangement, which also includes Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. The first entrance into the CTA dictates the type of entry clearance stamp or entry clearance activation you will receive. This means that if you arrive first in Ireland on your way to the U.K., you will receive an “in transit” stamp, even if you already have an entry clearance (for the U.K.) from the British consulate in your passport. So, the U.K. entry clearance you might already have will not be activated upon arrival in the U.K., and you will not receive an entry clearance for short-term study because the CTA has already been entered and an “in transit” stamp given.
U.K. immigration officers may not even be present where passengers deplane from flights from CTA locations into the U.K. Immigration officers elsewhere in the airport will not and cannot activate or give an entry clearance to persons who have already entered the CTA. This means you have no status in the U.K. immigration computer records—your student status in the U.K. is nonexistent and your stay is considered illegal. You must regularize your status in order to register at your host university—and you will be denied reentry if you travel.
If you must regularize your status, you will have to apply for the correct entry clearance after arrival at your host university. Most likely you will need to return to the U.S. to obtain the correct entry clearance. If the British Home Office allows you to apply to their London office, it will cost at least $590 to apply by mail and at least $1,000 to apply in person. Applying by mail requires you to submit your passport to the British Home Office for several weeks, so you will not be able to travel out of the country. To be on the safe side, do not travel to or through Ireland on your way to studying in the U.K.
History of CTA
CTA has been in existence for decades to allow ease of travel to British and Irish citizens between the two countries. The European Union has adopted and continues to refine several similar arrangements for various groups of European countries, the most well known being the Schengen Treaty and its offshoots. However, Europe compensates for ease of border crossing with more internal controls, such as identity checks and shared immigration databases. How does this affect you? The U.K. appears to be loosening internal CTA border control in the European manner, thus you would not receive the entry clearance stamp or activation you need if you arrive in the U.K. from Dublin.
International Student ID Cards
An international student identification card is cheaper in the U.K. than in the U.S., and some students wait to purchase one. However, cards purchased in the U.K. do not carry the supplemental travel insurance policy that is provided with cards purchased in the U.S. The UCEAP insurance plan does provide travel insurance coverage, so review your policy to see if it will meet your travel needs.
Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students
Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.
If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at https://law.ucdavis.edu/uc-undocumented/
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
Identify each item of luggage on the inside and outside with your name, home address, and destination. A rolling, wheeled suitcase is a wise investment. Luggage restrictions vary by airline, though all carriers have weight restrictions.
Pack clothing that is washable and quick drying if possible. Objects such as scissors, pocket knives, nail clippers, etc., must be packed in checked luggage only. They will be confiscated if found in your carry-on luggage.
- Layered clothing (T-shirt,fleece vest, button and pullover sweaters)
- Lightweight jacket
- Warm socks
- Flip-flops, walking shoes, casual footwear
- One dressy outfit
- Heavy jacket or coat
- Bathrobe and slippers
- Beach towel
- Lightweight blanket
- Seat pad (good for train and bus travel)
- Travel-size sleeping bag
- Empty backpack (to bring home items purchased abroad)
- Travel alarm and flashlight
- Small gifts for new friends (with UC Logo or California designs)
- Family photos
Do Not Bring:
- Pharmaceuticals that are illegal in the U.K. (prescription medications are the exception, but review details carefully in the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad , as well as the section in this guide on Prescription Medications, found under "Staying Healthy").
- Fragile items unless they are bubble wrapped
The electrical current used abroad is 50 cycles AC rather than the 60-cycle current used in the U.S., and voltage is 220–240 rather than the standard U.S. 110–120 volts for small appliances. Most electrical sockets in the U.K. have three-pin plugs. Prior to packing electronics, check the plug or the tag near the plug to verify their voltage capabilities. If an item is intended for 110-120V, it will require a converter and an adapter. Items intended for 110-240V require only an adapter. Past students who did not check their electronics have caused short circuits in their accommodations and elsewhere.
Travel irons, curling irons, hair dryers, electric razors, etc. can be purchased in the U.S. with either a built-in converter or multi-voltage function. These appliances will need only a plug adapter to be used abroad. U.S. clocks need to be battery-driven to operate abroad. Past UCEAP students recommend purchasing small appliances abroad, although they will be more expensive than in the U.S.
If you plan to take a laptop, be sure that the AC input of its power supply will accept 240 volts and 50hz (AC Input: 100V–240V; 50hz–60hz); if it does not, purchase a transformer before departure. You can purchase the correct adapter plug (for three-pronged sockets) in the U.S. or abroad. Since the cost of electricity abroad is high and improper use of appliances may damage both the electrical outlets and the appliances, ask before using the outlets. Some university accommodations will test your appliances to make sure the appliances comply.
Insurance for Personal Possessions
Consider having additional protection for your property. In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance
policy offers limited personal property coverage. Review the policy carefully before departure to determine if it is adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
- Contact information for finance questions
- How to estimate the cost of your program
- Budget instructions and information
- Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
- Banking before and after arrival
- Fees and penalties
- Loan information
- How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
- Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
- Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions
Recommendations from UCEAP Students
Take funds in an easily negotiable form to last through the first few months abroad. Even after you open a bank account, checks will take up to six weeks to clear. You will initially need a minimum of U.S. $325 for textbooks and basic supplies. Budget additional funds for warm clothing and travel.
Because fall semester students will reside abroad for less time than year or spring students, they may or may not wish to open a bank account, depending on their circumstances (e.g., their dorm housing may want to withdraw the housing payment from a U.K. bank account).
Take a bank card that enables access to funds in a U.S. bank account at an ATM (called a "cash point" in the UK). The bank card must have a four-digit PIN. Most U.S. banks will charge currency exchange fees when money is withdrawn from an ATM. The fees can be high. However, U.K. banks will not charge currency exchange fees. Experience has shown that Bank of America cards are preferred over Wells Fargo cards, due to cost of fees per transaction. Check with your bank prior to departure to confirm their policies.
In general, banking practices in the United Kingdom are similar to those in the U.S. In order to open an account, you will need to provide proof of a local address, proof of registration at the host university (a letter provided by your host university), and personal identification (passport).
Most large U.S. banks maintain relations with prominent British banks. Prior to departure, find out with which bank your U.S. bank is affiliated and what services they offer. Past participants have used Barclays, National Westminster, Midland National Bank, Lloyds TSB, Santander, Nationwide, Halifax, HSBC, and Royal Bank of Scotland.
After arrival, go to a nearby bank and open a checking account (this is called a current account, as distinguished from a deposit account, which is the equivalent of an American savings account). There is often a branch of one of the main banks on campus or nearby.
Banking practices are more restrictive than those in California, and there are some differences. A typical student current account should include a checkbook and an ATM card. It is not possible to cash a check in a store without a specific check guarantee card (which banks are typically reluctant to issue to new customers—not just students). A U.S. credit card will not serve as a check guarantee.
Banking policy is left to the discretion of the individual bank manager. A good letter of reference from your U.S. bank may ease restrictions that might otherwise be imposed by a bank abroad. If the bank is less restrictive (or the students at the local host university have a good banking record), it may be possible to obtain a check guarantee card, which also functions as a debit/ATM card. Banks have their own names for these cards (e.g., Switch at NatWest or Connect at Barclays). The bank may be willing to issue such a card after an initial probationary period of banking, so be sure to ask about it.
When transferring money, the larger the amount transferred, the more favorable the rates.
Wiring funds from a U.S. bank to a foreign bank is an option if funds in your foreign account run low. The sender in California can order a wire transfer from a major bank for a fee; however, most if not all major banks now require the sender to be a customer. The fee is fixed, so the larger the amount sent, the better. The money is electronically transferred to your account abroad and a second fee is charged. Money sent in this way is instantly accessible.
Many financial aid students request (via the UCEAP Electronic Funds Transfer form) that their financial aid be deposited electronically into their U.S. bank account (rather than being mailed as a hard copy check to their U.S. address). This large deposit can then be wired by the student’s power of attorney in the U.S. to the account abroad.
Another way to transfer money is by using a banker’s draft, which can be purchased at a U.S. bank in dollars and sent abroad by mail for deposit. Make sure the foreign bank will accept the banker’s draft without waiting for collection from the U.S.
Host University Fees
You are not obligated to pay application or registration fees that are normally required by the host university. Disregard these two kinds of fee requests when returning forms to the host university. You are, however, responsible for all housing deposits and payments, the international student orientation fee (often called the “freshers’conference fee”), and other charges.
The pound sterling, abbreviated GBP, is the official unit of currency used in the United Kingdom. The sign for the pound is £. Before leaving the U.S., exchange $200 into British pounds. The funds will be useful upon arrival for snacks, transportation, tips, and unexpected purchases. Some U.S. banks will purchase the foreign currency for you; the process may take a week or more. You can also exchange dollars for foreign currency at airports, though banks usually offer more favorable rates.
Contact your bank before departure to let them know you will be abroad and for what period of time. This will ensure that your bank cards are not flagged for suspected fraud and rejected should you need to use them while abroad.
Free wireless internet is available on most UK campuses. Please check your device before coming to England as you may need an adaptor to be able to connect to the wired internet.
E-mail is available, but facilities and resources are not the same as at UC.
Approximate time difference: add 8 hours
There are two types of public phones in the United Kingdom, pay phones that take coins (of 20 pence and over) and card phones. Calling cards are the most convenient method for making calls from public telephones. Cards in denominations of £2, £4, £10, or £20 are available from the post office, travel centers, some news agents, machines on underground platforms, and anywhere there are Phone Card signs. Many BT pay phones take major credit cards and charge cards. Unfortunately, phone card telephones may not be available in your residence hall, and you may have to walk to one elsewhere on campus, or even off campus.
In the U.K., collect calls (made by dialing 100) are expensive. Do not phone the Study Center this way unless there is an emergency.
Information in the U.K. is reached by dialing a provider of Directory Service Information. All providers have six-digit numbers beginning with 118 and all charge for the service, even from public phones. First try other means to find a phone number (the Internet, a phone book, etc.) because the charge can be expensive. More information will be distributed at the on-site orientation.
International Phone Calls
International calls are best made using phone cards, though at least a £10 card is needed for calling the U.S. The direct dialing code to the U.S. is 001 + area code + number. You can call the U.S. collect through the operator by dialing 155 (the International Operator). Calls made between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. are the most expensive, those made in the afternoon are slightly less expensive, and rates go down considerably after 8 p.m. An excellent time to phone California is 7 a.m. because the rates are still low and because at that time it is 11 p.m. (the previous day) in California.
Calling the U.S. from Abroad
Many U.S.-based long-distance phone companies, including AT&T and Sprint, provide special services that make it easy to phone home from abroad. In addition, you can purchase a wide range of commercial phone cards in the U.K. in various denominations specifically for international calls.
Many students use Skype
for long-distance calls. Family and friends in the U.S. can call you, at low rates, using Skype from their computers. You can Skype family and friends from any computer with Internet access. Computer-to-computer Skype calls are free. You will need a headset and a microphone.
Cell (Mobile) Phones
Cell phones are called mobiles in the U.K. A pay-as-you-go plan is best, as it offers flexibility and good rates. Often, UCEAP students purchase an inexpensive handset that will last the term or the year, and install a SIM card with their chosen plan combining free texts or free minutes. You will be advised on cell phones during the UCEAP orientation, and will have free time to purchase a cell phone.
You may consider unlocking your U.S. smartphone, but be aware that this can void warranties and potentially prevent you from downloading future software updates for your phone. Check with your provider about your phone's international capabilities. Some students suggest that it is convenient to bring your U.S. smartphone if only for wi-fi and other non-phone applications.
The British mail service is usually fast. Letters mailed in the evening before the last mail collection at any of the British universities are delivered in London the next day or two and vice versa. Airmail to or from California usually takes from six to ten days; however, delivery times can vary widely and if you are being sent a package that must arrive by a certain date, have the package sent by an express courier service.
See Your UCEAP Network in this guide for the correct mailing address at your host university.
Packages sent from the U.S. generally take six to eight weeks to arrive by surface mail. Do not have packages sent. The Study Center will not collect luggage that has been shipped in advance and staff will not pick up any luggage that must be claimed at a customs office or dock.
Study Center Contact
It is important to keep in contact with the UCEAP Study Center, especially when responding to requests for information from Study Center staff. See Your UCEAP Network in this guide for contact information.
Study Center office hours are generally 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office may be closed for lunch. You may contact the Study Center at any time and leave a voicemail message. You may also contact the Study Center Director or Program Officer outside office hours in an emergency by using the personal phone numbers you will receive after arrival.
You will live in a university hall of residence, flat (apartment), or a room in a private home. You must make your own housing arrangements, deposits, and payments (even if you are on full financial aid). After you receive notification of acceptance, the host university should mail you housing information and application forms. Communicate directly with your university’s housing office and discuss housing questions with staff at the Study Center.
Most host universities provide excellent housing information online. Look for information on host meet-and-greet services, temporary housing, social activities, and other options offered to incoming students.
Most universities allocate and send confirmation of fall and year housing in late August. Be sure you have submitted the housing application by the university’s deadline, usually in June or July. Information about spring housing is usually distributed with the host university’s admission notification.
Window screens are not common in the U.K. Be prepared for insects to enter your room if the window is left open for a long period of time.
UCEAP Orientation Housing
During orientation, you will stay two nights in a student residence hall or hotel. The UCEAP fees will cover the cost of these accommodations. After the mandatory UCEAP orientation, you will be responsible for all housing and transportation arrangements and expenses. You may have free time until the host university residence is available (may be several days). Budget accordingly and plan to make use of this time for sightseeing, or to make private, non-university housing arrangements if desired. Study Center staff will advise you on temporary accommodations and travel.
If you arrive early or remain in the city where the UCEAP orientation is held, you may be able to stay in the accommodation being used for the UCEAP orientation. You must make reservations and pay to extend the stay directly with the accommodations, preferably before departure from the U.S. However, if rooms are unavailable, the Study Center will have information on nearby B&Bs or inexpensive hostels.
How to Secure Your Housing / Housing Contracts
University housing is becoming less available as more British students attend universities. Semester-only students, especially spring-only students, may need to find their own housing in the community.
To request host university housing, you must take the initiative to obtain, complete, and return all housing forms and deposits required by the university. You must make your own reservations and pay the required deposits (in British pounds) prior to departure—even if you are on full financial aid. The forms and deposits must be received by the host university by their established deadlines. When a university notes that housing is “guaranteed” for international students, it means that housing has been set aside for international students who apply and pay by the deadlines. Housing is not reserved or paid for by UCEAP, and it is unlikely it will be available to you if you miss the application or payment deadlines.
Carefully read all housing contracts prior to signing. These contracts are legally binding and commit you to the full cost of the housing for the period of time specified, regardless of the length of time you actually use the housing. Contracts are usually for the entire academic year. If you are a year student, do not assume you can depart university housing mid-year unless the contract states it is solely for a term or the university specifically allows a mid-year contract termination without fees. If you are a short-term student, read the contract carefully to make sure the contract covers the correct term.
The housing reservation begins on the date specified in the contract. The initial move-in date may or may not be negotiable after the reservation is made, and you will need to make your own arrangements if you arrive earlier than the specified move-in date. Carefully choose your initial move-in date based on when you will depart the UCEAP orientation and when you plan to arrive at the host university.
Do not communicate with the host university housing office until you have completed a housing request form or until you have actually been accepted by the host university.
Know Before Choosing Your Housing
Know Before Choosing Housing
Quality and Distinctions
Housing quality is extremely variable, even on a single campus. The basic distinction in university housing is between residences in which meal plans are part of the package (halls or catered accommodations) and self-catering residences that provide shared cooking facilities for groups of students (anywhere from four to a dozen or more). Within this basic distinction, there are large dormitory-style buildings either on campus or some distance from it; or nearby older houses, mansions, or blocks of flats that the university has converted to student housing. A typical configuration of university housing built in the past 20 to 25 years consists of accommodations for four or five students with separate rooms, with a common entrance and cooking facilities; bathrooms may be shared or private (en suite) in the individual room (at additional cost).
In residence halls, bed linens are usually provided or available to rent, but towels are not. Each hall is headed by a warden or similar officer who frequently has the authority to decide whether a student can be accepted into the hall or released from a housing contract.
UCEAP students strongly advise that you request housing shared by more mature students if you select university accommodations. International students typically are housed with first-year students (freshers) who are living away from home for the first time and who may not be held to the same academic levels as more advanced students. Freshers can be noisy, boisterous flatmates, and may not study as diligently as UC students.
Meal Plans and Dietary Needs
Whether you choose a catered or a self-catering residence will depend on personal needs and preferences. Catered halls are the most convenient, and meals you take in the common refectory are a way to meet a wide variety of students. However, freshers usually choose the catered halls and UCEAP students report that the quality of the cuisine is lower than that provided in UC halls; UC students often tire of the food. Vegetarians, vegans, and those with other special dietary needs should not elect a residence with a meal plan (vegetarian and other options are limited). With a self-catering residence, you have control over what and when you eat. You may share meals with your flatmates or cook individually. Pots, pans, dishes, and flatware are frequently provided by the accommodation, but in some cases you may need to purchase them. Inexpensive kitchen utensils and other supplies can be purchased at charity (thrift) shops.
If you do not smoke, you may want to inquire about smoking practices among flatmates and come to an agreement at an early point in your association. If you do not want to share a flat with smokers, clearly note this in your housing application.
Distance from Campus
A significant difference from UC housing is that accommodations owned by the university may be at some distance from the campus. Carefully check the housing description to determine whether you are within walking distance of the campus, or whether there is quick and inexpensive local transportation. Bus transportation is widely available and you can obtain an inexpensive bus pass.
Another housing possibility is non-university housing in lodgings (rented rooms in private homes with some meals provided) or in flats (apartments shared among three or four students). In the latter, heat and utilities usually are not included in the rent. A number of UCEAP participants have reported that private accommodations in the community are preferable to university housing. You are advised to discuss housing questions with UCEAP returnees or with UCEAP students currently abroad. Your Campus EAP Office has e-mail addresses of current participants, many of whom have indicated they will be glad to discuss their experiences by e-mail.
If you choose to live in private housing, you must register as a student with the local council to avoid being charged the local council tax. You can check with the host university accommodations office and with the local council for more information about this tax. Be aware that if any occupants of your house or flat are not students, you will not be exempt from council tax.
Many dormitories are closed during the winter and spring breaks. However, some dorms allow students to remain during breaks if they have requested such accommodations on the original housing application. Carefully read and complete the original application in order to know if you will need to make alternate food and lodging arrangements during breaks. If you travel during breaks, provisions can usually be made for storing belongings.
Your Host Institution Housing
University of Edinburgh
Housing is guaranteed if you submit the housing application along with the host university application. You may stay in any of the university-owned housing (a mixture of traditional halls of residence and flats) or find private housing on your own. Students say there is a good selection of private housing in the community.
Past UCEAP participants say different options appeal to different expectations. For example, College Wynd, Robertson’s Close, and Kincaid’s Court are conveniently located close to campus and the city center. However, they can be very noisy at night and on weekends due to freshers and nearby bars.
Fraser Court, East Newington Place, Sciennes, Sciennes Place, and South Clerk Street are convenient if you are taking classes in King’s Buildings, but are a distance from the city center.
Warrender Park Road and Warrender Park Crescent are in a pleasant residential area and well liked. Students are often concerned about the 15-minute walk across The Meadows at night to return from the central campus. The Meadows is a beautiful park for the daytime walk to class.
Past students have recommended Kitchener House, Hermit’s Croft, and St. John’s Hill (next to the sports center), as well as Darroch Court and New Arthur Place, which are centrally located.
Pollock Halls include meals, and are recommended if you do not want to deal with grocery shopping and cooking. However, Pollock Halls house about 1,800 students, predominantly freshers and foreign students, are very noisy, and have had numerous room break-ins and thefts.
New accommodation at Abbeyhill, Shrubhill, Murano and Mansion Fountainbridge. Students staying in these will most likely require a bus-pass to navigate around the city as they are further away but these accommodations are more modern than facilities closer to campus.
University of Glasgow
The range of accommodations includes halls of residence, student houses, and flats. Detailed descriptions will accompany Glasgow’s official offer of admission. Following a written response, you will be offered a place in a university residence. Your first choice cannot be guaranteed.
You must then write again to accept the offer. Respond promptly to all communications, as housing is in short supply. A signed housing contract is binding and you will be required to pay the full cost even if you do not remain in the housing for the full contract period. If living arrangements have not been finalized before departure from the U.S., you may face difficulties finding accommodations in Glasgow. Single semester non-EU exchange students are also guaranteed accommodation as long as they apply before the deadline (http://www.gla.ac.uk/undergraduate/accommodation/admissionspolicy/
Past students recommend the self-catering Kelvinhaugh Gate, Kelvinhaugh Street, and Queen Margaret Flats. There have been complaints about the Murano Street Student Village, which is thought to be far from the university, about a 45 mins. walk from the university and located in a less affluent area of Glasgow. As long as students exercise caution when returning late at night, as they should where ever they stay there should not be any issues with safety. There have also been complaints about Wolfson Hall’s cleanliness and neighborhood. Students say Cairncross is poorly maintained. Otherwise, UCEAP students rate the housing from “fine” to “great” and describe the city as providing an enormous variety of things to do, including many concerts with low admission.
University of St. Andrew’s
You will be housed either in a hall of residence, including McIntosh Hall, Andrew Melville Hall, and New Hall; or in a self-catering apartment, such as David Russell Apartments, or another apartment at Fife Park or Albany Park. Housing contracts are for a full year, and moving mid-year can be difficult. Most halls are about a 20-minute walk from the town center, and the Parks are about 40 minutes away. Both types of residences have laundry facilities. The halls vary in size and locale, the smaller ones being in old buildings in the center of town.
Students have been happy with the housing, especially New Hall. However, they note that catered Andrew Melville Hall houses many freshers and the food is not very good.
Travel within the U.K. and Europe
There are many apps available that can assist you with local travel. Be sure to review and download before you go. Here are a couple of apps that you might find useful.
The Tube Map
Platform: iOS / Android / Blackberry
Developer: mxData Ltd
An award-winning app with more than one million users, this is much more than a simple tube map. Want to plan journeys? Check. Find out when the next tube is coming? Check. Plan a new route if there are delays on your line? Check.
Tube Map can even give you the location of your nearest London Tube station if you're out and about and need to head home in a hurry.
You can even check your Oyster Card balance - an extremely useful feature.
The map is now cleverly synched with Bus London and myTrains, making cross-capital travel just that much easier.
RailPlanner - Eurail / InterRail
Platform: iOS / Android
Conceived for Eurail and InterRail Pass holders, this app is just as useful for family rail holidays and business trips. RailPlanner covers Europe-wide train travel with up-to-date pan-European timetable information and detailed city and country maps. The app can be used offline too, so you can avoid expensive roaming charges. Find your closest railway station with the handy inbuilt reality function, and enjoy extra benefits such as free and discounted boat and ferry trips, hotel and museum discounts (for Pass holders only). It was created by HaCon, a leading European developer that has already designed apps for Deutsche Bahn and Austrian Railways.
Rail Commute - Live UK Train Times and Platforms
Platform: iOS / Android
Developer: William Joseph Ltd
Perfect for UK rail users and commuters, you can locate your next train, its platform and any delays instantly. Even better, you can track Twitter updates from your railway network and keep colleagues and friends and family informed of your location via text / email / FB and Twitter - all within the app. Powered and approved by Network Rail Enquiries, the information is live and up-to-date for travel within the next two hours. The app covers all live arrivals and departures on the UK National Rail Network - including London Overground - but does not include London Underground information. It's worth noting that not all rail networks release platform information, for example Virgin Trains from Euston.
Numerous options are available for storing luggage during breaks or while traveling after the end of the program. Two storage companies are Big Yellow Self Storage and Excess Baggage Company. Storage sites are usually at airports, underground stations, and train stations. Prices and hours will vary, so confirm details in advance. Most companies can also arrange to ship luggage.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
You are encouraged to participate in cultural activities while abroad. Join sports, music, theater, or art groups; provide volunteer services to social organizations; participate in athletic events and religious activities; and attend lectures, discussions, and receptions in academic and community circles. Most universities offer organized clubs ranging from political societies to sports clubs. Student organizations generally recruit new members actively during the campus orientation.
Read The Knowhere Guide
for inside information and tips that only locals know. Popular attractions including local music scenes, shopping, cafés, art galleries, cinemas, festivals, and much more can be found at this website.
University of Edinburgh
Every summer the city hosts the largest cultural festival in the United Kingdom. Also the site of the 1999 reestablishment of the Scottish Parliament, the city prides itself on being the center of Scottish culture. With rich offerings in music and theater, it has become a European cultural center as well. The university operates the Bedlam Theatre, which is the only entirely student-run theater in the U.K. There is a popular series of on-campus lunchtime concerts with visiting artists as well as student performers. The student volunteer group, Action, posts a variety of openings on its website.
University of Glasgow
Rich in cultural and recreational resources, the city served as the European City of Architecture and Design in 1999. The university Potholing Association is for spelunkers. Clubs include sailing, visual arts, cross-country running, and Ultimate Frisbee (the national champion team).
University of St. Andrew’s
The city is about 45 miles from Edinburgh and 13 miles from the rugged North Sea coast. It is famous for its golf courses and is considered by many the birthplace of golf. Student clubs and societies cater to all interests, including flyfishing and wine and cheese.
Students with Disabilities
Inform your host university of any needs so accommodation can be made if possible. You must provide a letter from your UC campus Disabled Students Office requesting specific services. Accessible housing is available but needs to be reserved early. Professors will give extra time on exams if required. Note-takers are not available. You will need to borrow notes from your classmates or record the lectures (each professor’s permission must be obtained to record his or her lectures).
UK law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities, and the government effectively enforces this requirement. The law requires that all public service providers (except in the transportation sector) make “reasonable adjustments” to ensure their services are available to persons with disabilities. Getting around in UK cities may be difficult at times, since many sidewalks are narrow and uneven. Most stations along the Underground and National Rail system are not readily accessible for people with mobility disabilities. Very few stations have elevators, and most have stairways and long corridors for changing trains or exiting to the street. Buses are equipped with lowering platforms for people with mobility, sight, or hearing disabilities. Taxis are a good means of transportation.
The Transport for London
and National Rail
websites provide information for passengers with disabilities. Contact your Operations Specialist well in advance of departure.
- Be realistic about your condition and its impact, on your worst and best days.
- Have a plan for what to do during flare-ups, along with a list of signs indicative of not being able to cope. Plan a realistic daily schedule and list of needs.
- Regardless of how you have managed your disability on your campus, you may have to address the tension between the program structure and the need for flexibility demanded by the fluctuations of different activities.
For more information:
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account.
Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the US), it is important for UCEAP officials to know how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP discourages working abroad for academic reasons. Students must obtain a Tier 4 Student Visa before departure in order to work, intern, or do volunteer work.
The law prohibits discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation. Individuals report sporadic incidents of homophobic violence.
For more information,
Know Before You Go
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
. Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance. Inform yourself before seeking care. Your UCEAP Travel Insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. You will be financially responsible for any charges for medical services that are not included benefits in the policy and for any charges over an above the “maximum allowable amount”. Your travel insurance policy number is ADD N04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
The travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. There is no deductible or co-insurance.
You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim process
or about non-medical claims
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance. Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
For Questions about Coverage, Benefits, and Claims Status
Contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Health Service (NHS)
As a short-term participant, you are not entitled to free treatment by the National Health Service, Britain's government-run health service (NHS). You can choose where to obtain medical treatment as you are covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance policy. First, go to the student health center at your host university. If you need further treatment, the student health center can make recommendations about private practitioners, clinics, hospitals, or other providers. Wherever you receive care, you will pay up front and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance company for consideration of a refund.
The National Health Service (NHS) is recognized as one of the leading health care services in the world. It is government-run and supported entirely through taxes. Though the public system dominates health care provision in England, private health care is available and can be covered within the terms of the UCEAP Travel Insurance policy brochure.
If you are in the year program, you may be entitled to treatment by the National Health Service (NHS). However, access to treatment under the NHS is not a right. The NHS provides the majority of health care in England, including primary care, in-patient care, long-term health care, ophthalmology, and dentistry. Even though a year program is only nine or ten months long, you are considered a “year” student by the NHS. If you qualify for full NHS treatment, consult with the Study Center staff whether you need to register with a local doctor (or GP as they are known in Britain) when you arrive in the UK. The GP is often the first point of contact for many patients. For more information, see the NHS website
If you are sick or injured and want to see a private doctor, you can use your UCEAP travel insurance benefits, pay up front for the appointment and submit a claim for consideration of a refund. For more information about travel insurance, refer to the UCEAP Travel Insurance policy brochure
Register at your host university’s student health center soon after arrival. From there, you can be seen by a general practitioner (GP), or be referred to a consultant if you require specialized treatment. In addition to consultations with a doctor, most GP Surgeries (doctor offices) and Health Centers provide a range of community health services, including vaccinations, women's health clinics, family planning, contraception, and sexual health. GP Surgeries and Health Centers are open during the daytime and early evening. They have an answering-machine message about where you can get help when the Surgery or Health Center is closed. The local hospital may also have a walk-in clinic.
You can also review the NHS website for information about health topics, and procedures on how to book appointments. Contact the local UK Study Center staff for assistance.
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad. For insurance information, refer to the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy Brochure.
UK Glossary of Medical Terms
General Practitioner (GP): The GP is the gatekeeper to the health care system. GPs typically treat routine conditions then refer patients to the hospital (usually the district hospital).
Consultant: Consultant is the title of a senior physician who has completed all of his or her specialist training and been placed on the specialist register in their chosen specialty. Consultants accept ultimate responsibility for the care of all the patients referred to them. Patients must be referred to them by GPs.
Surgery or Doctor’s Surgery: In England, “surgery” is essentially the doctor’s office, a place where you can ask advice from, or receive treatment from, a doctor or dentist.
A&E: Accident and Emergency department (ERs in the US) for life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Generally, you should visit A&E or call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, such as, loss of consciousness; acute confused state and fits (convulsions) that are not stopping; persistent, severe chest pain; breathing difficulties; severe bleeding that cannot be stopped
Chemists: Pharmacists are also known as dispensing chemists.
Plaster cast or Elastoplast: Band-Aid
Surgical spirit: Rubbing alcohol
Jab (flu jab): Shot (flu shot)
999: In the UK it is the free hot-line to call whenever someone’s life is in danger. The equivalent of 911 in the US.
Know Before You Go
Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health
web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
If you feel sick, do not delay in seeking medical care. Ask the Study Center and the International Office at your host university for advice and assistance in choosing a care provider. Pay up front for any medical services, and submit a claim for reimbursement consideration. See the Insurance tab in this guide for more details.
The host institution Health Services may refer you to a specialist (allergist, psychiatrist, etc). If you plan to request a referral to a specialist for a pre-existing medical condition, carry a letter from your US doctor explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and any prescribed medication regimen.
First check whether your prescription medication is legal to bring into the UK, especially if your medication contains a controlled substance like narcotics or psychotropics. If your prescription contains controlled substances, you may need to get a license to enter into the UK with the prescription. Information on Adderall is further down in this section.
Refer to Gov.UK’s webpage on traveling with a medicine containing a controlled drug to see if your prescription is on the controlled drug list, and for more information on how to comply with UK law. You can also access the NHS website to check your medication.
Talk to your doctor to discuss whether you can have an adequate supply to last through the duration of your stay in the UK. Obtain a signed letter on letterhead, indicating your name, treatment, diagnosis, medication regimen/dosage, and both brand and generic name of the prescription. Take this letter with you, along with your prescription in its original packaging, in your carry-on. Do not pack it in checked baggage.
If you need a refill, you will need to schedule an appointment with a local doctor for a new prescription. You will need to pay up front for the appointment and submit a claim for refund consideration to the UCEAP insurance company.
Cannabis, cannabis derivatives, cocaine, synthetic designer drugs, and hallucinogens are defined as “Schedule 1” drugs and cannot be brought into the UK in any quantity.
For further information, read UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad Medications & Supplies, Prescription medications. For questions about your UCEAP Travel Insurance Benefits, read the UCEAP Travel Insurance Brochure, or contact ACI at email@example.com. Do not mail medication, or have medication mailed to you. It will be stopped at UK Customs and confiscated.
Do not mail medication, or have medication mailed to you. It will be stopped at UK Customs and confiscated.
Adderall is NOT licensed in the UK
If you take Adderall, read the following:
- Adderall is unlicensed in the UK – no licensed health practitioner can write a prescription for it.
- Summer program students: Bring enough Adderall with you to cover your time in the UK. program students: Bring enough Adderall with you to cover your time in the UK.
- Non-summer program students: Bring no more than a three-month supply of Adderall.
- Work with your doctor to change your Adderall medication to one you can legally access.
- Refer to the UK's list of controlled drugs.
- Visit the host university student health service or general practitioner (GP) 3 to 4 weeks before your supply is gone, in order to be referred to a specialist/psychiatrist. The specialist will conduct an evaluation before prescribing medication.
If you are currently in treatment in the US, discuss all program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. Carry a letter from your doctor (on letterhead) indicating condition, treatment history, and medication regimen, so a local physician can assess your needs.
Consider the country where you will be living and studying. Many countries do not have adequate resources. How will you manage your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition?
If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for the length of your stay. Traveling through customs with medications for personal use can be problematic in countries where those medications are prohibited. Stimulants frequently used for attention deficit disorders, such as amphetamine or methylphenidate, may be problematic, along with narcotics. What substances are prohibited in any given country varies. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.
- Do not try to manage alone. Reach out to local staff.
- The UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of St Andrews, Counselling
Meet with one of the Support Advisers who will try to make sure you are directed to the counsellor best suited to help you. Support Advisers have training in many areas of counselling skills, sexual assault reporting, money advising, and disability legislation. Although access to counselling can sometimes take up to four weeks, the Support Adviser will provide on-going assistance if you need to speak to someone urgently in between appointments with your counsellor.
During your time at university, you may experience personal and emotional issues that impact on your academic work and your enjoyment of university life. If you feel you need support or advice, register for an assessment using the online form
Student Counselling offers confidential counseling to help students work through their difficulty and find ways of managing their personal situation. They offer short-term individual counselling for up to six sessions. Before arranging an appointment, you must complete their online forms, which include a registration form and a brief pre-initial appointment questionnaire. The forms are accessible to matriculated students only. If you have questions or need help completing the forms, email email@example.com
For more information about mental health services in the UK, refer to the NHS website
Group C meningococcus is the most important cause of endemic meningitis in industrialized countries. If you suspect something is wrong, seek medical help immediately. The vaccine widely available to most people and given throughout colleges and universities in the US and EU does NOT protect against this particular serogroup. The vaccine may be required by some host universities in the UK. For more information, see Meningitis UK
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions while in the UK and while traveling.
- Discuss the risks with your doctor 6-8 weeks before departure.
- Carry the medications and refills you need to prevent an adverse reaction, like antihistamines or epinephrine injectors. Pack it in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. Your medication must be in its original packaging, with your name.
- Have a letter from your physician to present to airport security that states your need to have the epinephrine auto injector with you at all times.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet or tag with instructions for assistance.
- Tell others about your food allergy.
Safety is our concern but it is your responsibility. Be proactive in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Have an action plan.
With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Observe and assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.
Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.
Report anything suspicious to local authorities. Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff. Schedule direct flights, if possible. Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency. If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible. Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety
- Familiarize yourself with all UCEAP resources and emergency support services while on UCEAP.
- Research potential risks you can encounter before you travel.
- Assess your surroundings. Observe and learn to recognize danger.
- Be attentive to what is unusual or threatening. Assess reasonable and safe options. Trust your feelings; if you feel threatened, act if safe to do so and leave the area immediately. Find somewhere more secure.
- Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones.
- When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those you are with in case you get separated. Always identify possible exits.
- Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking. Know your limits. In many countries beer, wine and liquor in some countries contains a higher alcohol content than similar products in the US. Know what you are drinking and how much alcohol it contains.
- Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety. This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other. Choose your buddy wisely. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
- Have a communication plan. Who will you call locally if you are in an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
Registration with the local US Embassy or Consulate
Register online with the US embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
(STEP), a free service for US citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
Registration with the UCEAP Security Provider
You will be automatically registered with iJET International, the University of California security provider. You will receive important security and informational messages about local conditions for your program country.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, for more information. Access the US Department of State Students Abroad website for updated travel information.
Cities in the UK are relatively safe. Most central-city parks present few risks in daylight hours. Be cautious in larger open areas, the commons, and heaths in and around major cities.
Most crime that occurs is petty theft, occuring in airports, restaurants, public transportation hubs, and crowded streets. Do not leave valuables unattended. Be aware of "distraction crimes" in which a stranger attempts to distract your attention while an accomplice lifts bags or picks your pockets. Be aware of your surroundings.
To avoid becoming a victim of burglary in the student residences, keep your room locked and store anything valuable in locked drawers or closets. If you take valuable items with you abroad, the UCEAP travel insurance policy provides limited coverage for personal property benefits (in addition to health coverage). Familiarize yourself with the plan, and consider purchasing additional coverage if needed before departure from the US. See more detailed information about insurance for personal possessions in the UCEAP Travel Insurance policy brochure
Asian-American students report a significant amount of stereotyping by local citizens.
Tips for Staying Safe
- Exercise common sense about your personal safety and belongings. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Unless traveling, leave your passport in a safe place in your room.
- Drink responsibly. Criminals target individuals whose judgment is impaired by intoxication. If you lose sight of your drink for any period of time, discard it to avoid being a victim of drink spiking. Drugs can be mixed into unattended drinks.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Scotland has an excellent road safety record and many roads are in good condition. Public transportation is generally safe. Almost every place in Scotland is accessible by bus or train. The road system is concentrated around Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Be extremely careful when crossing the street. Oncoming traffic approaches from the opposite direction. There are helpful reminders painted on the sidewalk curbs to look right.
- Look both directions while crossing streets, follow the pedestrian indicator lights, and always cross with caution.
- As a pedestrian, having a green traffic light facing you does not mean you should proceed into the street.
- Pedestrians do not have the right of way, and cars are only required to stop for pedestrians on black and white “zebra” crosswalks with flashing yellow globe lights on the sidewalk.
- Be predictable; follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs; they impair your abilities and judgment.
- Do not cross the street while wearing headphones or talking on the phone.
Cell-phone related injuries are most common among youths. Activities such as emailing, talking on the phone, texting, or listening to music have contributed to some people falling off walkways or bridges and walking in front of moving traffic. If a text message, call, or email cannot wait, step aside, let others go by, and respond before proceeding.
Hitchhiking is not considered safe anywhere in the world.
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
Every member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to the local
UCEAP staff and/or partners if you suspect one of these behaviors has occurred.
Emergency Service Response
The police services, fire brigades, medical response, and other emergency services in the U.K. are excellent. Police services in the U.K. rank among the world’s best, but they face daunting challenges and strongly encourage the participation of the public in ensuring their own safety.
Know where the fire exits and alarms are located, and have a fire escape plan.
In an emergency, dial 999.
Most college-related fires in the US are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
- Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
- Know how to call the local fire department.
Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
- Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
- Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
- Have an escape plan and practice it.
- Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
- Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
- If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
- Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.
Program Suspension Policy
If the US Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security providers, US Embassy, US Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.
The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on US government-arranged flights, that require US citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its experienced security providers, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
What Is an Emergency?
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
- Any life/death situation
- A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
- An arrest
- Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country
In an Emergency
Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:
If you are in the US
- During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
US Embassy in London
33 Nine Elms Lane
If necessary, call the emergency number of the US Embassy in London:
- Within the UK: 020-7499-9000
- International: +44 20-7499-9000
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.