Aspire welcomes students both from within and outside the UK in a truly international community.
We understand that for students from overseas in particular, this is a major change – because you’re not only starting at university but also getting to grips with living in a different country. So we’ve taken the time to ensure that your transition is as smooth and pleasant as possible, giving you all the support you need from the moment you get here.
Arriving in Plymouth
We can arrange to be there to welcome you when you first arrive at the train station, coach station or airport and to take you to your accommodation.
We organise regular social events to help our tenants to get to know each other. We are keen to help build a friendly community so even if you have come to Plymouth independently, you’ll never feel isolated.
If your family and friends from home would like to visit you, perhaps during the holidays, we can arrange accommodation for their stay. Just let us know the details of their visit and we’ll do the rest.
Useful information when arriving in the UK
Setting up a UK bank account is not possible until you’re in the UK but we would recommend doing it soon after you’ve arrived – it’s an essential resource for organising your finances and keeping your money safe. You can open an account in one of the many bank branches in Plymouth city centre. Plymouth University’s International Student Advisory Service can offer further advice on banking and money management.
Travel discount cards
If you’re exploring the region while you’re here, there are a number of travel discounts available for students. Even if you’re only travelling back and forth to the airport between terms, a travel card can soon pay for itself. For train travel, a 16-25 Railcard costs £30 per year then provides a one-third reduction on fares. If travelling by coach, a Young Persons Coachcard costs £10 per year for a saving of one-third on journeys. Local bus travel companies Plymouth Citybus and Stagecoach offer generous discounts for students travelling in and around the city.
Getting a UK mobile phone
A mobile phone can be cheap to buy but calls can be expensive, particularly if you’re calling abroad. Getting the right contract will ensure that you don’t incur huge charges. Even if your current mobile works in the UK, we would advise that you get a new SIM to get a good deal. For a new phone contract, go to a local phone shop or look online. Pay-as-you-go deals avoid monthly bills and commitment but contracts can offer better value. Make sure you find out the price of international calls if that’s important – and remember that with free broadband at your accommodation, an free online option such as Skype can avoid having to spend any money at all on calls.