Students hugging and smiling

Advice and support every step of the way

Travelling anywhere to study should be exciting, and there’s nowhere more exciting to visit than the UK. But it can be daunting too. Getting settled in a new country with different customs, languages, food and currency is a challenge, but we’re more than used to making students from all over the world feel at home. 

Last year 493,000 students from 200 countries were welcomed to the UK, most of them making use of the excellent additional advice and support we offer to make their journey as easy as possible. This support is called ‘pastoral care’ and is available from any university or college that welcomes students from overseas. 

What is 'pastoral care'?

  • ‘Pastoral care’ is a range of special resources created by universities to give students any additional assistance they need. Lots of this advice and support is tailored specifically to the needs of international students.
  • It can range from making sure you get a warm welcome when you arrive, to helping you apply for your student visa, planning your journey and giving you English language support throughout your studies. Basically, anything you need to prepare and feel ready.
  • Pastoral care is designed to take away any nerves you have before you travel. So you can concentrate on preparing for your studies and the exciting opportunity you have to immerse yourself in British culture. After all, there’s a lot to get excited about! 
  • Once you know you want to study in the UK, there is still a lot to consider before you actually travel. We want to help in any way we can, and one of those ways is through a pre-departure briefing.

What are pre-departure briefings?

  • British Council pre-departure briefings are sessions designed to answer your questions and help you prepare for your move to the UK. These events are run by the British Council in many countries worldwide, specifically for any students planning to study in the UK.
  • They are usually held over a day or half-day, and include talks and workshops that give you the advice you need to start your studies with confidence.
  • Check your local British Council website for more information by selecting it from the 'Choose your country' drop-down menu.

Where are pre-departure briefings held?

  • The events are tailored to your country and held in locations that are easy for lots of people to get to.
  • They may include talks and workshops by British Council experts, sessions with UK immigration officials, sessions with former students from your country, exhibition stalls from employers, lunches and other opportunities to socialise with fellow students so you can make friends before you get to the UK.

What do they cover?

  • Information sessions cover the essential information you need to start settling in when you arrive, including accepting your offer, visa applications, arranging accommodation, opening a bank account and health and wellbeing.
  • Your university or college may also run their own pre-departure briefings and introductory sessions. Get in touch with their international office to see if there are any events you can attend.

Download one of our guides

If you can’t attend a pre-departure briefing, you can still find out the essential info you need to know by downloading our pre-departure guide PDFs below. Each document is designed to take you through the same advice on travel and settling into student life in the UK that you would get at the event.