We believe that every one of you, upon arrival, will be both excited to start your university life, and preoccupied with all sorts of worries, especially under current circumstances. Culture shock, homesickness, loneliness and anxiety are all common feelings that one might experience when first coming to Cambridge.
So don’t hesitate to contact our International Students’ Officer by email (HUSemail@example.com), or facebook (Zixin Zhang). Her priorities would be to help you through the long dark winter nights of Michaelmas, and to make you feel as comfortable at Cambridge as at home!
Some links you might find useful:
- For all students: [https://www.cambridgestudents.cam.ac.uk]
- For international students especially: [https://www.internationalstudents.cam.ac.uk/?]
- It always helps to join cultural groups from your home countries! (e.g Cambridge Pakistan Society on FB)
Please take a look at the international student guide, as it contains a lot of questions that you might want to ask!
- Travel inside of the UK
- International travel
- Rooms during vacations
- Visas, fees and other info
- Internationals in Cambridge
Travel inside of the UK
By Train or Coach (bus)
Train and coach tickets can be booked online. Generally speaking, trains tend to be more expensive but also more flexible, both in terms of time of travel and stations available. Coaches from Cambridge to London (Victoria Coach Station, no return) can be booked starting at £5. The train station is closer to Homerton, however, than the Cambridge coach station at Parker’s Piece. If you travel by train more often it might be worth considering a Railcard.
Train tickets will have to be picked up at the station before travel or can alternatively be sent to your address (in this case, make sure to leave enough time for them to arrive in the post). Coach tickets will probably need to be printed out and shown to the driver when boarding.
Eurostar (from continental Europe to London): The train arrives at St Pancras International Station. You can then either walk over to King’s Cross and purchase a direct train ticket to Cambridge Station or purchase a direct train ticket to Cambridge Station from St Pancras. The train journey should take about 1.5 hours.
From Heathrow: Take the Piccadilly line from Heathrow Terminals to King’s Cross Station. From King’s Cross, you can purchase a direct train ticket to Cambridge Station. The train journey should take about 2 to 2.5 hours in total.
From Stansted: The closest airport to Cambridge, you can purchase a direct train ticket to Cambridge Station. The train journey should take about 0.5 hours.
From Gatwick: While the furthest airport from Cambridge, there are now direct train services available to Cambridge from Gatwick. You can purchase a direct train ticket to Cambridge Station. The train journey should take about 2 hours.
Homerton is about a 5-10 mins walk away from the train station, however, if you are bringing a lot of luggage, it is advisable to take a taxi – you may book one via Panther Taxi (01223 715715 / www.panthertaxis.co.uk) or CamCab (01223704704 / www.camcab.co.uk).
By Coach (Bus)
Coach (National Express) services are available to Cambridge from Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick airports, and are recommended if you have a lot of luggage and want a more cost-effective journey (coach tickets are cheaper than rail tickets). However, the coach journey is generally longer than the train journeys (especially if you’re travelling from Stansted), and the coach stops at Parker’s Piece (i.e. the city centre), which is further from Homerton than the train station.
Stansted Airport (on map): Closest to Cambridge and the easiest to get to, both by train and coach. Not all airlines fly here, though.
Heathrow Airport (on map): By far the largest airport of the three. You will find most airlines and international flights here.
Gatwick Airport (on map): Furthest away of these three airports and smaller than Heathrow. However, sometimes some interesting flights are offered from/to this airport. When comparing flight prices also keep in mind that travel costs to get from Cambridge to the airport in the first place will most likely be higher than to Stansted, for instance.
To cross over to the UK you can either take a ferry (see below) or the Eurotunnel. Remember, different than in most other European countries, the traffic in the UK is on the left hand side! The adjustment to suddenly driving on the opposite side can be challenging; if in doubt, perhaps consider choosing another means of transport instead of driving yourself.
There are several ferries which commute between the UK and mainland. The most common and probably cheapest choice is Calais (France) – Dover. Other routes tend to take longer, are serviced less frequently and generally cost more.
However, if you are coming by car, from somewhere east of Rotterdam, for instance, a there is a ferry between Hoek van Holland (Rotterdam, Netherlands) and Harwich (which is a lot closer to Cambridge than Dover and potentially helps to avoid heavy traffic around London).
Depending on where you are driving from, there might be other convenient ferry services as well. Sometimes these can turn out to be cheaper than driving the entire distance to Calais by car, so it is worth having a look at.
As an international student you might find yourself with too many things at the end of term to take on a plane. There are a few options in terms of storage.
The HUS offers limited vacation storage in College, making it the most convenient option for many students. It is usually open for a few days before travel day at the end of term, and a few days after travel day at the start of term. It is priced fairly, usually at around £10 per box. There are discounts available for those storing more items. Full pricings are available from the HUS Office or the Services Officer. For more information, contact the Services Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are also companies offering storage, some of whom often advertise themselves when the end of term is nearing. Make sure to check whether a company has a student option, as it might be cheaper than the normal one. These companies can still be quite expensive, however, especially if only storing a few items, so make sure to check with them in advance if you are thinking of using one.
To store your things you will probably need boxes of some sort. If you don’t have any or enough yet, there a number of places you can get some. Sometimes shops will have empty boxes they want to throw out – it can be worth asking staff members about it, as they might give those to you for free (if they have any). Alternatively you can buy boxes and other packing material from Pickfords, which is just behind Leisure Park beside the railway bridge. Sometimes fellow students might also have boxes to give away, so keep an eye out. The HUS usually also has boxes for sale in the weeks leading up to the end of term.
Rooms During Vacations
Students can book extra nights to stay up or return early at least 7 days before the first extra night using the Homerton Nexus.
Visas, Fees and Other Info
You need to bring your visa to the Tutorial office and register at the start of each term since it’s the college’s responsibility to keep track of your stats.
For those whose visa requires registration with the police, please have it done as early as possible. If you are not required to come to any specific police station, please ask the Porters for directions to the local one.
Internationals in Cambridge
There is a huge international student community in Cambridge, with international CUSU (iCUSU) being the umbrella. More information can be found here: http://www.international.cusu.cam.ac.uk/
Below is the links of some large international societies:
- Cambridge University Hong Kong and China Affairs Association (http://www.cuhkcas.org/)
- Cambridge University Malaysia & Singapore Association (http://cumsa.org/)
- Cambridge University Chinese Society (http://cuchin.soc.srcf.net/)
- Cambridge University Korean Society (http://www.cuks.org.uk/xe/)
- Cambridge University India Society (http://indiasoc.soc.srcf.net/)
- Cambridge University Pakistan Society (http://www.cupaksoc.co.uk/)
- Cambridge University African and Caribbean Society (http://www.cambridgeacs.org/)
All international student societies’ website can be found in http://www.cusu.cam.ac.uk/directory/categories/international/