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Trinity College Students’ Union

International

Freshers’ Handbook

2021/2022



WELCOME TO TRINITY!

And congratulations on making it to the greatest college in Cambridge! I know it’s been a long

and difficult journey for all of you. You worked extremely hard to get here, navigating the added

difficulties of the pandemic, and you all deserve the fantastic opportunities afforded by this place.

I remember what it felt like to be an international fresher in the weeks and months before my

first term—incredible joy and optimism mixed with the unavoidable anxieties over moving to a

new country and starting the brand-new experience of university life. Now, two years later, I can

tell you with confidence that there is very little you need to worry about. Trinity is a welcoming

institution, and everyone who works here will do their best to make you feel like you belong. In

short time, you might well come to regard Trinity as a home away from home. From your first

day here, you will be part of our global community for the rest of your life—and Trinity truly is

global, with almost half of our students coming from overseas.

Life at Cambridge is, in a word, intense. Our terms are the shortest out of any university in the

UK, with each full term lasting just 8 weeks. To make up for this, the academic workload in those

8 weeks is rather ambitious, and everyone, without exception, finds it difficult to adjust initially.

It’s very important to find something that keeps you grounded and busy outside of your academic

life. This is where our College and University Societies become extremely important—I highly

recommend you have a look online at the huge selection of University-level societies you can

join, and you’ll find out all about the Trinity ones at Chaplain’s Squash in Fresher’s week. If you

find a society you love, you might just end up making unforgettable memories. Personally, I know

that my time at Trinity has been incredibly enriched by my membership of First and Third, the

College Boat Club. No matter what your interests and passions are, you will be able to find

people who share them!

Your time here will feel magical. Before you know it, however, these three short years will be

gone! The best advice I can give is to make the most of them. Be brave and try things you haven’t

experienced yet! Go out of your way to make meaningful connections with those around you.

Be approachable! Everyone around you will be in the same shoes, and it’s never too early or too

late to make friends. Treat your studies with the importance they deserve, but don’t let your

academic obligations prevent you from drinking in everything this

wonderful place has to offer. Find a balance between work and

relaxation that makes you content and happy, and everything else will

fall into place.

I hope the rest of this guide answers some of the questions you might

have. If you still have some things you’d like to know, I’m always

available on Facebook or at overseas@tcsu.net. I know I speak for all

of TCSU when I say that we can’t wait for you all to arrive!

Until then, all my best,

Máté Fehér (TCSU Overseas Welfare Officer)

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TIMETABLE

Planning a Freshers’ Week can be challenging as is – but is especially difficult during a global

pandemic. Therefore, while we have a timetable for the International Freshers’ Week, these

events, and especially their locations, are subject to change as required by the College’s COVID

precautions. Finalised details will be sent out during International Fresher’s Week!

Wednesday 29th of September Location Times

iTCSU Helpdesk Great Gate 09:00 - 18:30

Information Session JCR 14:00 – 14:30

Tour of Town Great Gate 14:30 - 15:30

Afternoon Snacks College Bar 16:00 - 18:00

International Freshers’ Welcome Reception College Bar 20:00 - 22:00

Thursday 30 th September Location Times

iTCSU Helpdesk Great Gate 09:00 - 18:30

Information Session JCR 10:30 - 11:00

Tour of Town Great Gate 11:00 - 12:00

Punting

Meet at Trinity

Bridge on the 13:30 – 14:30

Backs

Afternoon tea College Bar 15:00 -17:00

International Freshers’ Welcome Reception

Nevile’s Marquee,

Wren Cloisters

20:00 – 22:00

Film Night JCR 20:30 – 23:30

Friday 1 st October Location Times

iTCSU Helpdesk Great Gate 09:00 - 18:30

Information Session JCR 10:30 – 11:00

Tour of Town Great Gate 11:00 - 12:00

Scavenger Hunt Great Gate 13:00 – 16:00

Tea and Donuts with the Welfare Team Nevile’s Marquee 16:00 - 18:00

International Freshers’ Welcome Reception

Nevile’s Marquee,

Wren Cloisters

20:00 - 22:00

Wren Cloisters = covered walkway beneath Wren Library

PLEASE NOTE:

• All the social events are optional – don’t be afraid that you’ll miss out on anything. The

priority for you during this week is to settle into Trinity!

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• In case of rain, the iTCSU Helpdesk will be moved into the Old College Office.

iCUSU (International Cambridge University Students’ Union) will also be running events for

Freshers across the university. These events are run independently of ours and will feature

Freshers from different colleges – you are encouraged to attend these!

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5


HOW THIS GUIDE IS

STRUCTURED

There are many things to organise when getting here, and this handbook is designed to make it

all easier – just follow the things in this guide step-by-step, and you’ll be ready in no time!

COVID-19 ................................................................................................................................. 7

WHEN TO ARRIVE ................................................................................................................ 8

GETTING TO CAMBRIDGE ............................................................................................... 11

MEET OUR COMMITTEE! ................................................................................................. 13

GETTING A UK PHONE NUMBER ................................................................................... 19

SETTING UP A UK BANK ACCOUNT .............................................................................. 20

HEALTHCARE ...................................................................................................................... 22

REGISTERING WITH THE POLICE ................................................................................. 26

GETTING AROUND ............................................................................................................ 27

WHAT TO BRING (AND NOT BRING) ............................................................................ 30

CULTURE SHOCK ............................................................................................................... 32

WEATHER ............................................................................................................................. 35

OPTIONAL THINGS TO SET UP ...................................................................................... 36

CONTACTS ............................................................................................................................ 37

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Covid-19

Many of you are probably wondering how college life will be different this year due to the current

pandemic. It is no secret that the various restrictions appointed by the government might mean

some fundamental changes to our college life.

As of now, there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding University and College guidelines. The

pandemic has brought a very unusual situation upon us all and demands understanding and

adaptability from the University, the Colleges and the students. College and University

departments will keep students updated via emails, so please keep yourselves informed.

Social distancing measures might make it harder to host and attend events/social gatherings.

However, there are many opportunities to meet and socially interact with people online.

Supporting each other in any way we can will be essential in these times, so don’t be afraid to get

in touch with people – and if you don’t know where to start, feel free to contact any committee

member of TCSU.

Entering the UK

Some of you might have to quarantine when entering the UK. As the restrictions are continuously

changing, I have gathered a list of links that will keep you updated below:

• General Updates

https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

• Travel restrictions for England

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors

Most of you will arrive from “amber” countries. At the time of writing, this means that you will

need a negative test result to board your flight to the UK, will have to take a PCR on the second

day after your arrival, but will not have to isolate. In addition, you will have to fill out a

Passenger Locator Form before traveling to the United Kingdom.

University / College updates

You can keep yourself informed about any Covid-19 updates from the university under the

following link: https://www.cam.ac.uk/coronavirus

And for the college under: https://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/covid/

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WHEN TO ARRIVE

Cambridge is full of ancient rules and regulations – and there’s no exception with the term dates!

There are three Cambridge terms, which are each officially eight weeks long (“full term”), but

there are a few days on either side where you can stay for a bit longer. Domestic students arrive

on Saturday 2 nd

October, while most internationals arrive starting from Wednesday 29 th

September. Of course, you can arrive later, up until Saturday 2 nd October, but the earlier you get

here, the more time you’ll have to get settled in, open bank accounts, and generally get annoying

admin things out of the way.

You should email the accommodation office (accommodation@trin.cam.ac.uk) with the dates

that you intend to arrive and give a reason if you need to arrive earlier than the 29 th of September.

If you live in the Wolfson Building or Angel Court, you’ll probably have to vacate your room by

Saturday the 4 th of December or so to make room for interviews. This time will be deducted from

your rent, and Accommodation will be in touch with specific details when the time comes.

For subsequent terms, you can arrive on the Saturday before full term starts, and leave, at latest,

the Friday the week after full term ends. Remember this when booking your flights! Check the

Accommodation Handbook for more information.

In addition, note that the week after the end of full term in Easter is called May Week (and yes,

it is in June, confusingly). It is definitely worth staying in Cambridge for May Week – it is packed

full of garden parties and May Balls, with the Trinity May Ball in mid-June every year.

If you want to stay in Trinity over any of the breaks, you will need to speak to your tutor for

details, but for international students living on the other side of the world it’s definitely possible.

The Accommodation Office sends out exeat forms at the end of each term, and you can indicate

your intention to stay over the breaks with this form.

Term dates

Michaelmas

Lent

Easter

Tuesday 5 th October to Friday 3 rd December

Tuesday 18 th January to Friday 18 th March

Tuesday 26 th April to Friday 17 th June

Future term dates can be found at:

https://www.cam.ac.uk/about-the-university/term-dates-and-calendars

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Great Court, by the fountain

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When you arrive

When you get to Trinity, go to the Porter’s Lodge (which is open 24/7), and let them know that

you’ve arrived. They’ll give you your Welcome Packs, and get you set up as quickly as possible.

During International Fresher’s Week, someone on the Committee will be at the iTCSU

Helpdesk at Great Gate (or Old College Office if it’s pouring with rain). Ask the Porters for help

to find it and come say hello – we can help with anything that’s needed and we are more than

happy to show you to your room.

International Freshers’ Week will have lots of fun events, but don’t feel pressured to attend them

all. We advise you to unpack first, and getting your room to look the way you want it as early as

possible is probably a good idea. Also, it’s just good to get used to your room!

Great Court, the fountain during winter

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GETTING TO CAMBRIDGE

Airports

You are most likely to be coming here on an airplane, and will land in one of London’s many

airports. Don’t be fooled into thinking they are all the same! If you’re coming from Europe, you

should definitely look into any flights that fly to Stansted Airport; it is the closest to Cambridge,

and there are regular train services that only take 30 minutes to get here. Not only is the whole

process quicker, but a good deal cheaper too.

Rail connections to Cambridge

If you are flying from elsewhere, or simply not landing in Stansted, you’re probably going to have

to go through Central London. All London airports offer a service to Central London, and once

there, it is easy to get to Cambridge. Trains leave every 30 minutes from King’s Cross station,

and if you go on the fast, non-stop ones, it only takes 45 minutes to get to Cambridge. There are

services from Liverpool Street as well, but they only leave every hour and take one and a half

hours to get to Cambridge, so we don’t recommend them!

Coaches to Cambridge

Taking a coach is a bit cheaper compared to the train, but it does take a lot longer. There are

coaches from all the airports to Cambridge, as well as from Central London – from Victoria

Station. Just a tip: if you have several pieces of luggage, coaches may be better as you have more

storage space! If you’re landing in Luton, definitely consider the National Express coach services

to Cambridge.

From the Train Station

When you get here, the easiest way to get to the College is to get a taxi – walking would take

about half an hour, or possibly even more with luggage! You can pick one up right outside the

train station, and it costs at most £10 to get to the College. Just tell the driver, “Trinity College

Great Gate” and they’ll know where to take you. However, be aware that Great Gate is located

on Trinity Street, which is within the Cambridge City Centre Controlled Pedestrian Zone. Car

access is restricted by Cambridgeshire County Council using rising bollards between the hours

of 10am and 4pm (Monday-Saturday), so the taxi may have to drop you off a bit further away

from the Great Gate, near St John’s College (a horrifying place.)

Alternatively, you can take the bus for around £3 to the city centre, but you would still need to

walk for about 10 minutes, and the bus system in Cambridge is not terribly reliable. An Uber is

probably the best way to go.

Useful links

Comparing flight options:

• https://www.skyscanner.net/ (Tip: use incognito mode to avoid price rises due to your

search history)

• https://www.google.co.uk/flights/

To see train times and book tickets: https://www.thetrainline.com/

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To see coach times, and book tickets:

http://www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx

Some recommended travel routes to Cambridge

Please note that booking in advance is significantly cheaper than booking on the day! The fares

listed below reflect this range. All listed prices are for online bookings.

From Stansted Airport

• Direct train to Cambridge

Frequency: about every 30 minutes

Duration: 30 minutes

Fare: £7.50 - £10.40

• Direct coach to Cambridge

Frequency: about every hour

Duration: 50 minutes

Fare:

About £10 regardless of booking time

From Heathrow Airport

• Take a train to London Paddington station (£10.30 - £22.00)

• From London Paddington station, take the Underground Circle Line or Hammersmith

and City Line to London King’s Cross St. Pancras Underground station (about £2.40)

• From King’s Cross, take a direct train to Cambridge (about £24.40 regardless of booking

time)

• Alternatively, take a taxi directly from Heathrow to Trinity College (about £100 pounds

if you pre-book the taxi, so it may be worth it if you have other people to split the fare

with!)

From Luton Airport

• Take a train to London St Pancras International station, then walk to King’s Cross

(£12.70 - £16.90)

• From King’s Cross, take a direct train to Cambridge (about £24.40 regardless of booking

time)

• Alternatively, take the direct National Express coach to Cambridge*:

Frequency: about every 2 hours

Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes

Fare:

£23 pounds

From Gatwick Airport

• Take a train to London St Pancras International station, then walk to King’s Cross

(£10.70 - £26.70)

• From King’s Cross, take a direct train to Cambridge (about £24.40 regardless of booking

time)

*This is a service that normally exists, however, at the time of writing, it is only possible to get to

Cambridge from Luton via coach with at least one transfer (at Stansted). Hopefully by the end of

September this changes!

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MEET OUR COMMITTEE!

Máté Fehér (Third year, Medicine, Hungary with a sprinkle of the United States)

Hi everyone! I’m Máté (rhymes with pâté), and I’m the

TCSU Overseas Welfare Officer this year. That job

basically means that I’m in charge of making you all feel as

welcome as possible! I know how daunting it is to come up

to Trinity for the first time, and all of us here at TCSU’s

international division will try to make it the least stressful

for you all as possible. I was born in Hungary and spent

my childhood and teenage years there. Interspaced in that

time, I was also in the US for 8 years. I’m studying

medicine at Trinity, which means I’ll be here for a very

long time, and I’ve really enjoyed my first two years. When

I’m not studying, there’s a 90% chance you’ll find me at

our boat house or on the river: without a shadow of a

doubt, taking up rowing at Trinity was the best choice I’ve

made here, and I highly recommend it to you all! Besides

rowing, I like to cook and bake all sorts of things, and I try

to make some time to practice piano, as well. (A fun fact

about me—part of my beard is naturally white!) My single

biggest piece of advice to you all would be to try everything

you possibly can during Fresher’s Week—it’s the first and last time during the year when you’ll

be so completely free! If you ever feel like a chat, I’m always available on Messenger,

WhatsApp, and you can also always email overseas@tcsu.net. I can’t wait to organise loads of

fun events for you guys throughout the year, look forward to meeting you all!

Ana Meta Dolinar (Third year, Computer Science, Slovenia)

Hi, and welcome to Trinity I'm Ana, a third year CompSci from

Slovenia. About me: my hobbies include running and

mountaineering, I am passionate about the environment and I love

dogs. In Cambridge, I enjoy being active in lots of different societies.

I'm happy to chat and/or answer any questions you may have!!

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Charles Li (Third year, Maths, Australia)

Hi everyone! My name is Charles, and I’m a second-year Mathmo from Melbourne, Australia -

although I was originally born in New Zealand. In what little spare time I have, I enjoy doing

puzzles, playing the violin, sometimes going for a jog, procrastinating, and complaining about the

weather (for those coming from places with mild or

temperate winters, Lent term in Cambridge is quite

cold!). Starting university is the beginning of a new

and exciting phase of life. Coming from the other

side of the planet, at times it’s quite natural to feel

isolated and detached from family and friends at

home. Luckily, as one of the larger colleges, Trinity

is a wonderful place to meet new friends – and that

starts in Freshers’ week. Together, you’ll enjoy the

many quirks of Cambridge life, like formals,

porters, and people talking about rowing (they’re

everywhere). If you’ve got any questions about

moving in, or if you’re feeling bored and/or lonely,

feel free to shoot me an email at cdl43@cam.ac.uk,

or message me on Facebook. See you all in

October!

Julia Frieberger

Austria/Belgium)

(Second year, History of Art,

Hello, my name is Julia, and I am a second year

History of Art student. I am Austrian but lived in

Belgium for ten years before coming to Cambridge, so

I am very accustomed to expat life and international

culture. In Trinity, I love getting involved in societies

and would recommend doing so to anyone wanting to

make new friends or try something new. This year, I

am co-president of the Trinity Green Thumbs society

and a Novice Captain at the boat club. (I have spent a

good portion of my summer composting or on a

rowing machine so am definitely ready for this year.) If

you have any questions or want someone to chat

to, feel free to contact me on social media or by

email (jf688am.ac.uk). I look forward to seeing you all

around college:)))

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Jonathan Teng (Second Year, Law, Singapore)

Hi everyone and welcome to Trinity! I’m

Jonathan, a second year law student from

Singapore. In my free time, I do enjoy playing a

bit of sport (football mostly), music and a bit of

cooking. At Cambridge, I am involved in way too

many societies — from the CU Malaysia and

Singapore Association, to the CU Law Society. I

also started the CU Taylor Swift Appreciation

Society this year! Trinity can be an extremely

daunting environment when you first start, but I

have genuinely loved every single moment of it.

You will make friends from all over the world,

with a vastly diverse range of talents and interests.

Do feel free to contact me on social media or drop

me an email (sejt2@cam.ac.uk) if you have any

questions about anything at all. Best wishes, and

we look forward to meeting you all this year!

Petya Vizkeleti (Third year, Natural Sciences, Hungary)

Hi everyone, I'm Petya, a Third year BioNatsci

from Hungary, studying Biochem! Some ice

breakers: I started yoyoing a year ago in quarantine;

I used to sing in the Trinity Singers choir prepandemic,

and hope to continue when it resumes; I

play the Cello; I've had my fair share of longdistance

relationships, something many of you

might be dealing with. Please do write me a message

about anything, either via Email or FB Messenger,

I'd be glad to get in touch!

I'm looking forward to seeing you all in Trinity!

Messenger: Péter Vizkeleti

Email: pv318@cam.ac.uk

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Isabel Siggers (Third year, NatSci, USA)

Hey everyone! My name is Isabel, and I am a third year Natural

Sciences student, specializing in Earth Sciences. Although I am

of English heritage, I am without a doubt the American of my

family, born and raised near Philadelphia and New York City.

When not doing coursework, I can usually be found on a walk

along the river that encircles the city of Cambridge, or on route

to the badminton court. There are so many unexpected

challenges that come with being an international student, and I

found it extremely helpful to have allies in other internationals,

whom I met through programs such as International Freshers

Week. If you have any questions about adjusting to studying or

living in the United Kingdom, or just want someone to chat to,

feel free to shoot me a message on Facebook or via my email

(is480@cam.ac.uk). I am also available to give non-international

specific guidance as the TCSU Mental Health and Disabled

Students' Officer, via message or at mental-health@tcsu.net

Valentin Imbach (Third year, Maths, Switzerland)

Hey everyone! My name is Valentin and I can't wait to meet you

all at this year’s International Freshers’ week. During term,

you'll usually find me playing ultimate frisbee on the backs,

bouldering in the local gym or drinking a cider in the college

bar (I don't like beer).

I also really enjoy playing the piano occasionally and cooking

dinner with friends. I distinctly remember that arriving at

Trinity can be kind of intimidating, but don't worry, you'll get

used to it way too fast.

If you have any questions, concerns or just want to play some

frisbee, hit me up on Facebook or drop me an email

(vi220@cam.ac.uk)

Xingjian Hou

I'm Xingjian, an upcoming second-year Natural Sciences

student, specialising in physics. I like reading and taking

walks around Cambridge, with Trinity Great Court being one

of my favourite sites of attraction!

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Andrew Ng (Second Year, Maths)

Hello and welcome to Trinity! I’m

Andrew, and my heritage is a bit of a

mixed bag. I’m Singaporean by birth,

Malaysian by nationality,

ethnically Chinese, was raised in Hong

Kong, educated in England, but a Trinity

student at heart, and that’s what matters

here. A little bit about me, I enjoy chess,

food, reading, and learning languages.

Happy to chat in Cantonese, Mandarin

or Spanish too. I was hesitant about

applying, but to date it is the best decision

I’ve ever made and I hope to help you

get settled in ASAP so you can start

enjoying it too! Don’t worry if it seems daunting – it does to everyone, but Trinity is a very

welcoming and accepting place. My suggestions for newcomers: talk to people, try out new

things, take advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity of being at the best college of the

best university in the world. Cultures from around the world are represented and respected,

but no one here will be left out. Diversity is what gives us strength. So go have fun! If you’ve any

questions about Trinity, Cambridge, maths, or just want to talk, feel free to email me

(clan2@cam.ac.uk) or find me on Facebook (Ginny Mothball Wong, don’t ask). Look forward

to meeting you all!

Mihailo Milošević (Second year, Computer Science,

Serbia)

Hi there. My name is Mihailo Milosevic. I am a second

year Computer Science student here at Trinity. I am from

Serbia and I adore travelling and meeting new people,

cultures and places. Besides travelling, I enjoy being active.

I like to play basketball or even do a skydiving jump (if the

price fits my current budget :D). Apart from hobby sports, I

love to row regularly. Boat Club at Trinity is not only about

rowing, it is a place to have fun and the people out there

support you in moving your boundaries and help you set

new ones (In other words, do not miss the chance to join us

and enjoy). There are many other societies you can join

and I would advise you to do so, because at times uni work

can get extensive and an hour or two of relaxation with your

friends doing the things you like can be enough to help you regain strength to continue. If you

come up with some questions about life at Trinity or even better rowing, feel free to message

me on Facebook or email me on mm2507@cam.ac.uk

Hope to see you soon and may the force be with you

17


POINTS OF CONTACT

If you have any questions or require any sort of help, here are some people you can get in contact

with:

iTCSU – Welcome Headquarters

First of all, you can find help from the iTCSU Committee by going to Great Gate (or the Old

College Office if it’s raining, which is directly on the left on entering through Great Gate). If you

can’t find it, just ask a Porter – they are happy to help. Come by as soon as you’ve picked up

your Welcome Packs from the Porter’s Lodge, we’d all love to meet you!

College parents

College parents are undergraduates who’ve agreed to help out by taking you on as ‘children’ to

look after. They can give you good advice, and probably tell you about anything that was missed

out in official guides (which you have totally all read… right?).

Christmas tree in Hall

18


GETTING A UK PHONE

NUMBER

Having a UK phone number is quite essential, not just for practical reasons, but social ones as

well. To set up a bank account, you will most likely be asked to provide a contact number, and

banks, or other services, may have to contact you in the future.

Be aware that when setting up a monthly or yearly contract, you will be asked for confirmation

from your bank. So, if your bank account has not been set up yet, you may have to go with a payas-you-go

SIM card at first. Once you have confirmed your bank account, it is easy to convert

this to a monthly or yearly plan.

It’ll be easiest for you to get your phone unlocked (unattached to any single provider) before you

come to Cambridge. Otherwise, you may run into difficulties when you try to set up your UK

SIM card. Alternatively, some students opt for a phone which supports two SIM cards.

Students from the EU may note that roaming rates are standardised across the EU, but a UK

number could still be useful – especially now that Brexit is finished, and the future of these

roaming rates remaining uncertain.

When choosing a provider, it is best to consider your options. Some, like Giffgaff, allow you to

be ‘invited’ by an existing subscriber, which gives both of you a small bonus. (These “pyramidscheme”

bonuses are quite common in the UK, so keep an eye out for them!) Others offer deals,

like EE, which provides Apple Music for 6 months to new pay monthly customers.

We’ve put together a small list below of the most common providers. We highly recommend

you go on the providers’ websites and read up on what they offer yourselves, to see what price

range and features are the right ones for you. You can also visit the stores in person – there are

many of them located in the Grand Arcade/Lion Yard shopping centre in Central Cambridge.

- EE (including 4GEE, Orange, T-Mobile)

- Voxi

- Giffgaff

- Vodafone

- O2

- Tesco Mobile

- Virgin Mobile

- Lebara

- LycaMobile

19


SETTING UP A UK BANK

ACCOUNT

The UK banking system is incredibly convenient and simple to use. On opening a bank account,

you will quickly be issued a debit card that can be used in virtually all stores – of course, you can

still use cash if you prefer, but you may find the card to be more convenient.

In the UK, transaction fees between banks are free, and the majority of accounts have no monthly

fees – you can even withdraw money from most ATMs without charge, though be careful when

using those in Sainsbury’s and M&S, where only some banks can do so for free. Cheques can be

cashed to your account for free as well, but international transactions do carry fees that can be

quite steep.

The earlier you can make an appointment for a bank, the better, because when you arrive almost

all students will be looking to do the same, and the banks can get booked up quickly. You’ll need

a letter from your Tutorial Office, which is addressed to the specific bank you’ve chosen. A good

idea is to ask your tutor to have this ready for you on arrival, but just remember you need to

specify the bank where you want to open an account and perhaps other details (e.g. the branch).

Most banks offer similar free, basic accounts – with a debit card, online banking, and negligible

interest rates. Premium accounts may offer insurance, or easier international banking, but could

also come with monthly fees or a minimum amount that has to be maintained in the account.

Whether you need an account like this is up to you, but chances are the answer is no.

With most accounts, you can also ask for a free chequebook – while cheques are the slowest

form of payment, they are also one of the most secure, and are sometimes offered as an option

in the UK.

Some banks also offer an overdraft limit, which actually lets you withdraw more than you have

in your account. These do, sometimes, come with very high interest rates, so be careful and

check beforehand! The terms and conditions of these overdraft accounts are also much less

favourable for, if even available to, international students.

If you’ve lived in the UK for three years, you might be eligible for a regular student account,

which is likely to come with more perks, such as free cinema tickets. While some banks offer

international student accounts, these differ from regular student ones, and you should ask what

the difference is. A free savings account is also an option at most banks, which could be a good

idea if you want to store any sum of money with slightly better interest rates.

The following banks offer basic accounts with have branches within a 5-minute walk from Trinity.

They all have online banking as well and offer debit cards! As always, check online, and compare

for yourself if you want to be sure.

20


Santander

Interesting for EU students is the Santander Basic Current Account. It comes with no monthly

fees and you could open it before even arriving to the UK. However, sending money abroad to

other currencies (besides euro) will cost you £25. Receiving money is always free.

Barclays

Barclays Student Additions Account (International) has the lowest transfer fees out of most

banks.

Sending money abroad is free in all currencies and receiving money is free in euros and can cost

up to £6 in other currencies.

Also, it does not have a monthly fee, but you will need to be older than 18 to open up this

account.

NatWest

The NatWest International Student Account allows you to pick and choose one out of three

freebies:

- One-year Amazon Prime Student membership and £10 Amazon gift card

- National Express Coachcard giving you 1/3 off coach travel (four years)

- 50% off food in UK restaurants, cinemas and hostels with a tastecard (four years)

The account also provides free transfers abroad in all currencies and receiving money is free in

euros but costs up to £7 in other currencies.

However, the account comes with a pretty hefty monthly fee of £10 and is only available online.

Lloyds

With their “Classic” (standard) account, you can get an overdraft (free up to £25)

It brings its disadvantages with some transfer fees for currencies outside of euro (£9.50 to send

and up to £7 for receiving money). You also need to be older than 18.

HSBC

With their basic account, you can get a contactless debit card and overdraft with fees. (Only for

EU students).

Online banks

Online banks like Revolut or TransferWise are very useful, as they allow you to exchange

currency at the best rates and in very quick fashion. In the past years, they have become more

reputable and better-maintained, and Revolut in particular might be sufficient for all your banking

needs, including paying tuition.

You can find more information on international student accounts here:

https://www.savethestudent.org/international-students/top-international-bank-accountsuk.html#santander

Or here for regular student accounts:

https://www.savethestudent.org/money/student-banking/student-bank-accounts.html

(Note that the limits on overdraft are different for UK students and international students.

Changes to international bank accounts might happen after Brexit.)

21


HEALTHCARE

In the UK, healthcare is provided by the National Health Service (NHS), a publicly funded body.

Students coming from overseas on a Tier 4 visa will have already payed for an immigration health

surcharge as part of their visa application (which ranges between £150 and £300). Paying this fee

will automatically allow you to access NHS care the same as any UK resident.

EEA and Swiss nationals are entitled to NHS healthcare by having a European Health Insurance

Card (EHIC). Please make sure to bring the EHIC with you to the UK. Please also keep in mind

that as an EU student studying abroad, you might no longer qualify for your home country’s free

publicly-founded healthcare! Make sure to read up on the relevant insurance guidelines to avoid

administrative headache down the line.

While most treatment is free of charge, this does not extend to optical and dental care, and some

prescriptions come with charges too.

To access the NHS, you have to register with a local General Practitioner (GP), most of whom

operate from health centres. In your Welcome Pack, there will be a full list of GPs available and

located close to Trinity; it’s best if you choose one and register as soon as you can, because when

other students arrive there will be a rush, and as with most things, it’ll all take more time.

The process is quick, mainly involving completing a form about your drinking and smoking

habits, as well as some personal information. Just keep in mind, you can only register with one

GP at a time.

Bridge Street Medical Centre is the closest to the College, and has several doctors, and nurses—

as well as an efficient registration procedure. Due to its convenience, however, some

appointments might be scheduled for a long time in advance, especially during the winter term.

Keep in mind, for small things, the College Nurse is also available! Still, it is not a bad idea to

buy some basic cold and flu medication. (People coming from the US—take note that

acetaminophen is called paracetamol here!)

For some courses, and especially medical and veterinary students, there will be internal

requirements for occupational health, which will be scheduled and carried out by the Cambridge

University Occupational Health Centre located on Mill Lane. They will be in touch in due course

about anything they need you to do.

If, for some reason, you are not covered by the conditions above, you’ll have to find adequate

health insurance to cover your medical needs. Nonetheless, you are still entitled to:

- Emergency Treatment in the Accident and Emergency department of hospitals

- Treatment for certain infectious diseases

- Compulsory Psychiatric Treatment

- Sexual Health Treatment

Cambridge is a meningitis hotspot, so as you’ve been warned (or will be warned), it is a good idea

to get yourself vaccinated; this is available for free in Cambridge once registered with a GP but

this may be possibly done beforehand in your home country.

22


As for the vaccine itself, it is generally better to get one that is conjugated and not polysaccharide

- so that it lasts longer and protects against a number of subtypes (A, C, W135 and Y most

importantly).

In general, it would be best to bring a copy of your vaccination records to compare with the

compulsory vaccines in the UK. It could be worth checking your country’s Ministry of Health if

there is anything else you have to look out for.

Further information about the NHS, GPs, hospitals, costs and anything you can think of can be

found through the following links:

General

Local

http://www.nhs.uk

http://www.cambridgeshireandpeterboroughccg.nhs.uk

23


The Wren Library from the Backs

24


Here’s a beautiful view from one of the Wolfson Building rooms

25


REGISTERING WITH THE

POLICE

(FOR NON-EU STUDENTS ONLY)

If you are from one of the following countries, or are stateless/travelling on a non-national

document (i.e. Travel Document), you need to register with the police:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China,

Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait,

Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar,

Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab

Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen

In order to register, you need to go to the Overseas Visitors Registration Department

(Cambridgeshire Constabulary Parkside Police Station, Cambridge, CB1 1JG) and book an

appointment. Alternatively, you could book an appointment by contacting the Overseas Visitors

Registration Department by email (OVRD@cambs.pnn.police.uk) or by giving them a telephone

call (+44(0)3454564564 and ask for extension 3220). The Overseas Visitors Registration

Department is open Monday to Friday (not Bank Holidays) from 10.00-16.00. If you need to

quarantine you can set up an appointment that is after quarantining, but it is essential that you

contact them within 7 days of being in the UK.

For new students starting their studies in Michaelmas Term 2020, police registration

appointments will be available in the University Centre at the start of term on certain days. These

are only for students new to the UK. More information can be found at:

https://www.internationalstudents.cam.ac.uk/tier-4-responsibilities/police-registration

Failure to register constitutes an offence, which can lead to arrest, prosecution, and a consequent

fine of up to £5000 or six months imprisonment, or even both. Warrants for arrest have been

issued for students who failed to register in the past, so take this seriously.

You will need:

- Your Passport

- Two passport-sized photos

- £34 for the fee

- Your full name, and address in your home country on a separate sheet of paper.

- A letter from your Tutor, which you should receive in your Welcome Pack, confirming

your course and College Address

- Your Spouse’s details (full name, address, birth date) on a separate sheet, if applicable.

Please note that for those of you who have already got a Certificate of Registration (most

commonly if you have studied in the UK before coming to Cambridge), there is no need to

register again. All you need to do is to go down to the Police Station and ask for your Certificate

of Registration to get updated. There is no need to book an appointment in order to do that, but

please make sure you do it within 7 days of your arrival.

ALL NON-EU STUDENTS: Within a week of your arrival, visit the Tutorial Office to see the

Deputy Tutorial Manager. All she needs is a quick photocopy of your passport and visa.

26


GETTING AROUND

Cambridge is a rather compact city, and so most of the places you would need to visit regularly

are located within a 20-minute walk or 10-minute cycle away from Trinity. For this reason, most

people choose to walk or cycle. On particular occasions, such as going to formals at other colleges

or travelling late at night (especially on a rainy day), it is also common to call a taxi.

Bike

We would advise you to check with other people on your course before deciding whether to a

buy a bike or not.

Acquiring a bike

You can find second-hand bikes for about £50 - £150 in stores around

Cambridge. Carefully consider before getting a brand-new bike, as they

are not only pricey but also the best target for theft, and Cambridge is the

bike-theft capital of the UK. You can bring your own bike from home but

considering delivery costs and the high theft rate it is not recommended,

unless you intensively cycle for sport.

Storage

Equipment

Trinity can provide a storage space for a registered bike. You will receive

an email from the accommodation office about registering bikes at the

start of the year.

A strong lock (preferably a D-lock) is necessary to protect your bike.

Though Cambridge is a safe city, bike theft is common. In addition, if you

are planning to cycle after dark, a pair of white (frontal) and red (back)

lights are required by law. During winter, Cambridge starts getting dark as

early as 4, so do consider getting lights when you purchase a bike. In

addition, reflectors are a legal obligation too.

Maintenance Most bike shops will let you use their bike pumps if you ask.

Registering

Road rules

You can register your bike in the National Cycle Database to protect your

bike. Find the details here: www.bikeregister.com

It is important to make yourself familiar with the UK road rules – most

significant ones include hand signalling and remembering not to cycle on

the pavement. For more details, visit the government website

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-

82. It is also important that you are aware of one-way roads, including

Trinity Street.

Taxi

Generally, you can get anywhere in Cambridge for no more than £10. Ubers are plentiful and

reliable.

Bus

27


The University Bus may be of interest to you if you are visiting West Cambridge, the railway

station, or Addenbrooke’s (the closest hospital). The service is frequent (15-20 minutes interval)

during the week and on Saturdays.

As a member of University, you only have to pay £1 per journey if you present your university

card to the driver.

More details can be found here: https://www.environment.admin.cam.ac.uk/travel/travel-bus

Train / Coach

If you are thinking of visiting somewhere outside Cambridge, you’ll most likely have to take a

train or coach. Common destinations by train include London and Stansted Airport, or

Heathrow Airport by coach.

Train

Coach

You can catch trains at the railway station, which is a 15-minute cycle away from

Trinity. Details: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk

You can catch a coach at the bus stop next to Parker’s Piece. There is a student

discount available when you register for a student coach card. Details can be

found at: http://www.nationalexpress.com/home.aspx

16-25 Rail Card

The UK National Rail offers a railcard for anyone aged 16-25, which gives you a 33% discount

on all train tickets. If you are over 25, you are still eligible, but need to bring your university ID

card as evidence, and possibly a letter from the College certifying that you are a student. You can

register online, or at a train station – in either case, you will need a digital or physical passportsized

photo. The price is £30 for a year, and £70 for three years. If you think you’ll be going to

London a lot, or just generally travelling around the country, it will definitely be worth it! For

more information visit: http://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/?source=portal

Oyster Cards

Oyster Cards are a convenient way to travel around London. They are small, credit-card sized

forms of contactless payment. You can top them up, and then use them to travel around

London, be it by Bus or the Underground. You can even attach your railcard to them to get a

discount on all off-peak fares! Once more, very much worth it if you think you will be going to

London regularly. You can find more info at: https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do

28


Punting on the river, near the backs

29


WHAT TO BRING (AND NOT

BRING)

DO NOT bring

- Anything excessive that’ll result in you exceeding your luggage weight limit! Everything

you need you can easily get in Cambridge. It’s probably best to buy inexpensive things

like towels/umbrellas/clothes hangers once you’re here.

- Lamps, bed linen and Ethernet cables are provided by Trinity.

- Crockery (e.g. pots/pans/plates): again, these can be easily bought in town!

- Too many books: bring one or two of your favourites, but there are many bookstores in

Cambridge as well as libraries. Try to keep these at a minimum.

DO bring

Adapters

Smart clothes

Warm clothes

Passport-sized photos

Passport / ID / Visa

UK plugs have three prongs. If you have lots of electrical devices these

will be very helpful!

There are always lots of formal events going on in Cambridge, and one of

your first will be Matriculation Dinner. Suits and smart dresses are a

common go-to look with national dress also being acceptable.

British weather can be quite unpredictable, so try and pack in an extra

jumper or two if you have them. However, don’t worry, you can always

get some clothes when you get here.

A really good idea for your railcards/society membership cards,

but you can acquire a handful of them in about 5 minutes in any

photo store.

You will need these to open a bank account in the UK and to get

through border control at the airport. EU students should bring

passports too–Sainsbury’s often only accepts a passport or driving

license as proof of age if you want to buy alcohol!

A laptop

It’s really useful to have one for work but even if you don’t, there are lots of PCs

and Macs that you can use within Trinity, as well as retailers in Cambridge that

stock them if you need to buy one.

Shopping for household items

Sainsbury’s is right around the corner from Trinity (opposite Sidney Sussex college) and it has a

range of products and food. If you want high quality products, then John Lewis and Marks &

Spencer are two department stores that will be well-stocked (Marks & Spencer also has a food

department with very good quality produce, although more expensive than Sainsbury’s). There

are also specialised shops in Cambridge, e.g. Mill Road has shops that stock Asian food and

cooking equipment. You can also order goods online.

30


Money

It’s not unusual for students to end up spending a lot of money at the start of term, so don’t stress

if this happens to you! You’ll probably end up spending money on items like a gown (around

£40), a matriculation photo (from £10 - £70), a bike (from £40 for a used one to £100 - £200 for

a new one), society fees, and household items. Be sure to prepare enough cash to spend on these

items until you set up your bank account! If you have a bank account at home you can usually

use its debit card in the UK but be careful as this can entail very high fees. A good idea is to visit

a currency exchange service at home and bring pounds with you.

You should probably only exchange enough money to last you about two weeks, because by that

time your UK account should be set up. The money you have left can be cashed into your

account at no cost.

After setting up your account you may find that there will be times when you need to receive

money from home. The easiest method is by bank transfer, but international transfers usually

entail additional fees, are slow, and use unreliable exchange rates.

If you want to save money, consider visiting charity shops (where the revenue is donated to

charitable causes). There you can often buy good-quality second-hand items cheaply, including

crockery and clothes – useful for any of you fashion-conscious vintage lovers out there! In terms

of food, dining in hall is subsidised by College and usually only costs £3 - £4 a meal. It may be

cheaper to cook for yourself, but some find that it may take up a lot of time, as well as take away

opportunities to socialise with people in the dining hall throughout term!

Storage within college

During the vacations, Trinity allows international students to store their belongings in Overseas

Storage Spaces. Most students at Trinity vacate their rooms every vacation. It’s not a problem if

you need to stay over the vacation as long as you sort it out with the Accommodation Office in

advance. To book a slot to move your things into overseas storage, contact the porters at least 24

hours beforehand. Each item must have a label which you should receive an email about near

the end of term. Try to put most of your things into cardboard boxes, which can be easily

acquired if you ask for spares from any of the shops near Trinity. Packed boxes can be quite

heavy and there are often a lot of stairs to go up and down when putting them away, so make

sure to ask a few of your friends to help you!

31


Double rainbow over Great Court

32


CULTURE SHOCK

When you arrive in the UK, you are bound to notice some quirks in the culture – driving on the

other side of the road, and small talk on the weather. University is a new experience for everyone,

but we know that adjusting can be harder for international students who also need to get used to

a new culture. The best way to overcome this is not to fear trying out new things. Be friendly,

open to new ideas and opinions, talk to all people and you’ll be fine!

There is no perfect solution to dealing with the culture shock. Some may find that it barely affects

their experience at all, and for others it makes adjusting to university life harder. If you feel

stressed or homesick, remember that there are plenty of people who will listen, share their

experiences, or give you any advice you need. Come find any of us in iTCSU, speak to the TCSU

Welfare officers, or even your Tutor or DoS (Director of Studies). Anything you want to share

will be listened to!

There’s no pressure to know everything about British culture from the very beginning, though it

is well worth exploring. Regarding humour, British people often like to have ‘banter’ and laugh

about things you may struggle to find amusing (memes, for one, have been divisive in this

respect). If you find yourself not understanding the connotations of a joke or are having difficulty

keeping up with a conversation, don’t stress. People are lovely and obliging and will be happy to

explain things to you.

Get to know other international students in college. Most of them will have similar backgrounds

and experiences that’ll link you together. You’ll quickly find that you ‘click’ better with some

people than with others, so hang out with those you feel most comfortable around! Don’t forget

making friends is an ongoing process. Always keep an open mind!

Trinity is huge, hence most international students manage to find others of their nationality early

on. If that’s not the case for you, don’t forget the national societies, which you can join during

Freshers’ Week! Chances are you’ll be able to relate to people from your own country who have

been through similar experiences. Be sure to explore people from other backgrounds as well to

not miss out!

Flowers blossom along the Trinity backs in spring

33


Language

Language can often be a barrier for those who come to live in an English-speaking country for

the first time. You may find it will take you time to be able to express complex thoughts in a

language you’re not used to, but don’t give up! People here are understanding and will do their

best to get what you’re trying to say.

The main problem you may find is the wide variety of English accents. Don’t be put off –

understanding people’s accents takes time. Sometimes this goes both ways, British people may

not understand your accent just as you may not understand theirs.

Thankfully, language is unlikely to be an obstacle in your academic life unless your subject is

heavily essay-based. Bear in mind you wouldn’t have passed your interview had you not been

able to convey your ideas clearly. Have confidence in your abilities! Throughout the year your

academic vocabulary will grow tremendously. Remember your English-speaking peers will have

as much trouble figuring out new terminology as you.

There are some constructions used in British English that aren’t found in other versions of

English. British English can be very polite. Try to use structures like ‘I would like to’ or ‘would

it be at all possible’ rather than ‘I want’ or ‘Can I’ which can be seen as rude. Colloquial English

can sometimes be tricky, and understanding only comes with observation and practice. In time

you’ll also be able to use colloquial phrases correctly, but if you aren’t sure you can easily find

the answers on Google or simply ask a friend.

There’s no right way to settle into life at Trinity but be confident that you will! Although it’s an

advantage if you know the language, your personality is what is important. Stay positive, be

friendly and be yourself – there’s nothing that can stop you from enjoying one of the most

beautiful places in the world.

Trinity Chapel

34


WEATHER

The most significant thing about Cambridge weather, much like the rest of the UK, is the rain -

it rains throughout the year. Along with that, the city can get very windy, especially during the

winter months.

Michaelmas Term, overall, starts off fairly warm with an average of around 16°C, up to 20°C

during October. From there it’s downhill as it becomes colder, windier, and wetter - November

and December go down to averages of 4-6°C and are among the wettest months of the year. Bring

lots of warm clothing, scarves, gloves, and probably a hat to keep your ears warm while cycling!

Lent term is the reverse. January is the coldest month of the year with an average of just 3°C.

From then on it steadily improves, reaching 6°C average temperature by March. February and

March are some of the driest months of the year - though this doesn’t mean much in a country

like England, where it’ll still rain consistently.

Easter Term is by far the most pleasant when it comes to weather, but you will enjoy the end of

it most after exams have finished! Temperatures average around 14°C, but it can go as high as

25°C some days - and even more during a heat wave. However, rain showers can still be expected.

Great Court on a foggy morning

35


OPTIONAL THINGS TO SET UP

This part of the guide is optional, but you may find it useful – especially if you are planning on

staying in the UK in the long-term.

National Insurance Number: If you’re planning on working in the UK while you are here, you

will absolutely need a National Insurance (NI) number. This will be needed for most summer

internships, and any actual jobs, of course. For some subjects (e.g. Engineering), having an

internship is a course requirement and hence it is recommended for you to try get this early on.

To find out how to set one up, go to the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number

Voting: EU and Commonwealth nationals have the right to vote in annual local elections, but

they must register beforehand. If you want to vote, which is completely optional, you can find

out how to register on the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Citizenship: Becoming a citizen of the UK could be a long-term plan for some of you. The

requirements vary slightly depending on whether you are from an EEA (European Economic

Area) country or not, but whatever the case, you can find the information here:

https://www.gov.uk/british-citizenship

Oh, and remember, your address while in Cambridge, which you will never get tired of writing

on envelopes and forms, will be as follows:

Trinity College

(Trinity Street)

Cambridge

CB2 1TQ

United Kingdom

Neville’s Court

36


CONTACTS

Name Role Number Email and info

Main Porters’ Lodge

01223

338400

This is a 24/7 number

Burrell’s Porters’

Lodge

01223

338592

This is a 24/7 number

Janice Chambers

Tutorial Administrator

- Sides A, C and G

01223

338404

side.a@trin.cam.ac.uk

side.c@trin.cam.ac.uk

side.g@trin.cam.ac.uk

Lynn Clift

Tutorial Administrator

- Sides B and E

01223

338417

side.b@trin.cam.ac.uk

side.e@trin.cam.ac.uk

Sarah Parkin

Tutorial Administrator

- Sides D, H and J

01223

338478

side.d@trin.cam.ac.uk

side.h@trin.cam.ac.uk

side.j@trin.cam.ac.uk

Pam Daish

Visa Registration

01223

338508

prd21@cam.ac.uk

Accommodation

Office

01223

338414

accommodation@trin.cam.ac.uk

Members Accounts

01223

338531

college.bills@trin.cam.ac.uk

Emergency

999 -or-

112

(999 is the official UK emergency services

number)

Urgent Care

Cambridge

For non-emergency

medical help

111 (Run by the NHS)

Nightline

Panther Taxis

Cam Cab

A confidential support

and information service

01223

744444

01223

715715

01223

704704

A1 Cabco Taxis

01223

313131

(Please note that the UK country code is +44 or 0044)

37


38

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