With one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, as an international student in the UK you will be looked after.
The health and wellbeing of international students, both mental and physical, is our number one priority and UK universities are working hard to ensure that they are safe and supported.
The UK’s NHS (National Health Service) is one of the world’s best healthcare systems in the world, offering first-class , safe, modern treatment and support.
International students do not need private medical insurance when studying in the UK, unless they are studying for less than six months, and therefore do not have a student visa.
If you need a visa to study in the UK, as part of your application you will pay an Immigration Health Surcharge to gain access to the NHS. It costs £470 per year and allows you, if you need it, to consult a doctor on any physical or mental health issue; accident and emergency services (excluding follow-up treatments and in-patient admissions), the diagnosis of any sexually transmitted diseases and access to the Covid-19 vaccine. It also offers reduced price dental care if provided through an NHS dentist.
Shortly after you arrive in the UK we recommend that you register with a GP (general practitioner), a doctor who deals with most general health problems, so that if you do end up needing medical assistance you will be able to access it easily. Most GP surgeries accommodate patients’ requests to see a doctor of a specific gender, if it makes them feel more comfortable.
To find out more visit the NHS website.
UK universities and colleges take student welfare seriously. If you feel stressed or have any problems, the best thing to do is to share it. You can talk to:
- your tutor, especially if you have concerns about your course or exams
- the student welfare officer or, if there is one, international student officer
- someone at your students’ union, which can provide general welfare support and often has officers who can help with disability, sexuality or gender related issues. Find out more about students' unions. Find out more about Students’ Unions.
Dora, a Croatian student studying Biomedicine at the University of Huddersfield, said:
‘Ever since I arrived in the UK, I was impressed by how much wellbeing support students receive. For example, at my university we have a peer listening service (which is amazing); the opportunity to book one-to-one wellbeing appointments with an advisor or short-term counselling sessions with a professional who can help us to understand ourselves and the problems we might be experiencing better.’
For more information on welfare visit our page on support and guidance.
The UK is one of the safest countries in the world, with low crime rates and a trustworthy police force. There are strict laws on gun ownership and gun crime is very rare.
Most universities and colleges employ private security services to patrol their campuses. Your institution will usually provide you with information on staying safe on campus, and in Welcome Week many of them run specific sessions for new students on being vigilant in all areas of their lives in the UK.