Healthcare system (National Health System)
As students coming from countries of the European Union, in Britain you have free healthcare. The university in which you will eventually begin your studies will provide you with further information concerning all the necessary actions you should do, in order to have free access to the National Health System.
In Britain there is the family doctor (General Practitioner or GP in short), something similar to what we call “pathologos” (pathos is the ancient greek word for suffering/health issue and logos is the greek word for word, so “pathologos” is a doctor who examines any type of health issue), who has to do, in a first level, with all health incidents. For any kind of problem, one turns to him. If your family doctor thinks your problem needs specialized treatment then he will refer you accordingly
Information about how to choose a GP and register at his infirmary will be provided by the university which will accept you. Do not neglect it because when you eventually find yourself in need of a doctor and you are not registered at any infirmary, it might be difficult to find an available doctor to deal with your problem, while you, also, might need to pay. If, however, you are already registered with some GP, all your visits are free. All doctors in Britain take patients with appointments, excluding emergency incidents.
When you register with a GP you will be given a health card, on which you will find a unique number. This is the number with which you will be registered in the system. Keep the card in a safe place so that you don’t lose it.
Visits to opticians are not covered by the National Health System and you will have to pay the examination and any treatment you might need.
One of the first things you will need when you arrive in England is a cell phone. Usually, most of the students use the cell phones they used back in their country, back you should know that it’s very expensive to use it, since you pay even when others call you. It’s more preferable to subscribe with an English company. Some of the mobile service companies of Britain are Three, O2, BT, T-Mobile, Orange and Vodaphone. Some of them have special packages for students. Check their offers in detail and choose the one that best suits you.
To sign a contract with any of the fore mentioned companies you need the following:
- A letter that shows your address
- A bank statement (you need to have a bank account in England)
Another way to communicate with your family and friends back home is with prepaid cards. In Britain there are hundreds of such cards. Some of them have very good offers for calls to Cyprus. You can find them at most newsagents. In these stores there are brochures that list the prices per minute for all countries. Find which ones offer the best prices for your country and use them.
Finally, your accommodation or apartment might already have a fixed phone line.
One of the first things you must do right after your registration at the university is to open an account at a British bank. In Britain there are the famous banks: HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds, Natwest and Abbey. There are also Cypriot banks such as: Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Popular Bank.
At the beginning of the academic year, usually during the Orientation Week there are special kiosks from several banks for the students’ quick service. The employees working for the student services are specially trained to deal with foreign students.
To open an account in Britain you need the following:
- Letter of acceptance from the university you will study
- Proof of current address (address of accommodation /house in Britain)
- Proof of home address (address of Cyprus from bank accounts or phone/water/electricity bills)
- Proof of identity (passport or ID of the new type)
- Money for you first deposit.
Some days after your application, you will receive a cheque book and a debit card, which you should of course use wisely. The use of cheques in Britain is widely popular. You will definitely need a cheque book, since most of the universities demand from the students to pay their fees and the accommodation with cheques.
You can check your account through the internet (online banking) or with the monthly bank statement you will receive every month. If you want to withdraw money from the bank’s desk you have to show your debit card, on which your bank account details and your passport number are written.
British banks offer a service called overdraft. This means that the bank can provide you with credit and allow you to withdraw money from your account immediately up to a specific amount without any additional charges. Most banks set the overdraft around 200£, while others allow the student to take up to 2000£, after agreements with the employee in charge. For this reason, before you decide which bank to choose, make sure to read the terms concerning the overdraft, you might need it.
To entice students, most banks offer various gifts to those who open an account, from train tickets to mobile phones or money. See their bids and it might also be a factor that will lead you to the choice of bank.
In terms of residence, students have the choice of staying at the campus of a university, or in private homes or in apartments / houses. Before making your decision, it would be good to know the pros and cons of each choice.
Staying in a university campus is usually the cheapest option but students will have to share the toilet and bathroom, as well as the kitchen, except for a few exceptions. In some residences there is a meal with accommodation. The problems faced by students are that most of the residences are old and lack of the comforts of today’s demands. Also, some residences ask the students to take their things out during the Easter and Christmas holidays and immediately after the end of the examinations in early June. The good thing is that they are located usually near the University and there is a guaranteed stay for the first year of your studies. We advise you to stay at the university residences for the first year so that you make new friends.
For the following years, students have little chance of staying in the campus. They usually stay with friends in a house or apartment. However, they should take into account that finding such apartments is difficult and they should do enough research and be patient.
Universities usually supply the student with a list of available homes / apartments. But because this list is given to all students, it is possible that until the student gets it in his hands, most homes are not available anymore. You can also look through other students who have already have a house. If you finally find the right house, the rental process can prove to be very complicated and it would be good to have some help, perhaps from your parents.
We would advise you to contact Student Lettings in Cyprus, a unique service of its kind specializing in securing a stay for students either in private student rooms or in apartments / homes all over England in order to help you find the perfect home for you, easy and shortly, without hassle.
Finally, there is the choice for private student accommodation campuses for those who want the student environment but at the same time want a little luxury. Students can stay in these homes for all their years of study. Students who are interested can contact Student lettings in Cyprus at 22785027 or visit www.studentletsuk.com