Skip to main content

Living in the UK

Electricity

The British electricity supply works on 240 volts / 50 herts (Hz). If you bring any electrical goods from home you must be able to use them safely on this voltage, or else use an adaptor. Most buildings in the UK have sockets for 13 amp square pin fused plugs. A 3 amp fuse (red) is needed for stereo equipment, clocks, electric blankets etc and a 13 amp fuse (brown) for heavier domestic equipment such as kettles and hairdryers. Adaptors can be brought in local shops to adapt your plugs to fit British sockets.

Telephones

The international dialling code for the UK is +44. The area code for Coventry, which covers the University is 24, when dialling from outside the UK. Dial 024 when dialling from within the UK. If there is an emergency and your require either Fire, Police or Ambulance, then you can dial either 999 or 112.

Postal Services

Letters to destinations with the UK can be sent first or second class; first class usually arrives the next day, whereas second class usually takes 2-3 days to arrive. Post boxes are bright red and most have regular collections through the day. A sign on the post box will give you the time of the next collection. Stamps can be brought from post offices or from supermarkets and newsagents. Post offices can also give you details on overseas postal rates and parcels.

Religion

The UK is traditionally Christian, the main denomination being the Protestant Church of England. The two main public holidays celebrate the two Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter. However, nowadays almost every religion of the world is represented and there are large communities of other faiths. Synagogues and Roman Catholic churches are common place and most big cities have Islamic, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist centres of worship. Religious freedom and freedom to worship is a legal right in the UK.

Customs and conventions

There are relatively few customs and conventions that have to be observed and many British people are willing to chat casually to some one they have only just met. However, you should expect to form a queue when waiting for a bus or for service in a shop, for example, and you will find that people will say 'please' and 'thank you' a great deal.

Women in the UK are entitled to equal respect and status with men in all areas of life and tend to have more independence and responsibility than in some cultures. it is usual for women to go out and about on their own and to travel widely and there are few formalities about dress.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted in any public building.

Safety

You should feel happy to go anywhere in the UK in daylight in safety. People will generally assume you can look after yourself. However, as in most countries and particularly at night, you must use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings. At night you should take precautions such as avoiding badly lit streets. Do not accept a lift in a car from a stranger and always remember to lock your room and any ground floor windows when you leave.

You will find the police polite and helpful. It is advisable to insure your personal possessions as soon as you arrive.

Dates

If you come from outside of Europe, you may find that conventions for writing dates are different from your home country. To avoid any confusion when completing your documents or writing your first UK cheques, remember that dates are written as Date / Month / Year, such as, 1 January 2014.

Working in the UK

The Warwick IFP is a course that will demand your full attention. However, sometimes students do wish to find paid work.

If you are an EEA student you are allowed to work in the UK without restriction on the number of hours or the type of work that you undertake. It is important that the work does not disrupt your studies.

The majority of international students who come to the UK to study for longer than six months usually receive visas giving consent to work during their studies, and do not need to seek further permission. However, according to immigration rules, you should have sufficient funds to pay for your stay in the UK without needing to work. There are also conditions attached to the student permission to work; you may only work up to 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time in vacations. With these restrictions, you should not rely on income from working to fund your studies.

Back