Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Student home>Support and advice>International students>Living in York

Settle into your life in York with information about day to day basics like finance, shopping, postage, healthcare and schools, and pointers for socialising and overcoming culture shock.

Shopping for foodSchools and childcareHealthcare

Your wellbeing

'Culture shock', moving to an unfamiliar culture, can affect anyone and is quite normal. If you experience it, this does not mean you made a wrong choice in coming to York. UKCISA provide useful information about facing culture shock, and top tips to deal with it.

The demands of academic life, as well as living in a new country, can be stressful. Our health and wellbeing pages provide tips on dealing with common challenges you may face at University. 

You do not have to struggle alone. Sometimes all you need is to share your problems and feelings with someone else or you may feel you need something a bit more. If you are finding things difficult, our help and support page will direct you to people and organisations who can help you. 


Find a whole range of options including ways to get involved in societies, sports, events, representation and academic activities, as well as opportunities specific to international students:

Student life in YorkStudent eventsOpportunities for international students

We have two active students' unions at the University. YUSU offer societies, events, networks and representations for undergraduates, while the Graduate Students' Association (GSA) caters for postgraduates.

To discover and celebrate world cultures and religions, look at societies such as Christian Union, Islamic Society, Jewish SocietyAfrican Caribbean Society, Greek and Cypriot Society, or Russian-Speaking Society, to name just a few – they're open to all students. The International Students' Association (ISA) organises regular events for international and UK students to meet up. You can get informal language support, try different foods and meet people from all over the world! You can also join our YorWorld Community Facebook Group to meet other international students and receive updates and news. 

If you're keen to improve your conversational English, please join one of our International Conversations Afternoons.

Help with accommodation

If you have an issue or need help with your campus accommodation, our Accommodation Services can help; use the live chat, phone or email. For all other accommodation enquiries, the Student Hub can help. 

Help with finances

The UK uses the pound sterling (£) currency. Coins include (from left to right) 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2. 

The most commonly used notes are £5 (blue-green), £10 (orange) and £20 (purple) values. £50 notes (red) and higher values are available in some circumstances, but these are rare. More information on UK currency and exchange rates is on

Find information and advice on how to open a UK bank account:

Opening a UK bank account.

Cash or card?

Cash is always useful, but be careful to keep it safe and not to carry a large amount with you. In some places, including some of the cafes and restaurants on campus, you can't pay by cash. Make sure you have a payment card or payment app on your phone that you can use instead of cash.

Financial difficulties

If you find yourself in unexpected financial difficulties, you can apply for assistance funding including the Student Support Fund.

You need to apply as soon as possible as applications may take over four weeks to process.

The Student Support & Advice team at the Student Hub are also available for money advice and support accessing assistance funding.

Look out for scams

Financial scams can be very convincing. People can pretend to be your University, your bank, the police in the UK or in your home country to steal your personal information or to persuade you to give them money. They might even pretend to be in an online relationship with you and persuade you to send messages or photos that they then threaten to make public unless you pay them. Always be suspicious, and ask for advice if you're concerned.

Find out more about spotting and avoiding scams