Welcome From Your Officer
My name is Agnieszka Pająk (she/her) and I’m your International Officer at Newnham College.
First of all, congratulations on meeting your offer – here at Newnham, we’re so excited to have you at our college and we can’t wait to meet you all!
Starting university is a big deal, especially to an international student – trust me, been there, done that. That’s why I’ll try my very best to provide as much useful and important information as possible. Hopefully, this way the whole experience of moving abroad will be a tad less daunting since you’ll have a guide to ease you in all matters international at Cambridge (this booklet) and to answer all your questions (this gal).
Of course, this guide is just one of the many you’ll receive from the Freshers’ President, Cambridge University Student Union and its International Students’ Campaign (respectively, CUSU and iCUSU), your parents, other students, etc. Because of that information overload, I’ll try to keep things short and sweet. Nevertheless, do pay attention to the Freshers’ Handbook as it’ll contain a vast amount of useful information pertaining to you as a brand-new Cambridge University student at Newnham College, and to the guide issued by iCUSU since it has tips on how to get to Cambridge from the airport and many others.
If there’s anything else you’d like to know that hasn’t been covered in any of the many sources of guidance, feel free to contact me either through Facebook or via email firstname.lastname@example.org! If there are any matters that you feel like I wouldn’t be the best person to talk to (for instance, being non-white, LGBT+, disabled, female or non-binary), the Junior Combination Room (or the JCR) has got you covered – there’s an officer suited for all and any of your needs. After all, you’re so much more than just an international student so you should expect your officers to reflect your multifacetedness.
And last but not least: welcome to Newnham, you’ll have a fantastic time!
The University has published an International Student Guide which provides practical advice on everything from opening a bank account to Cambridge-terminology. Advice on this page will be summarised and Newnham-specific.
Newnham accommodation offers two types of contract. For a 30 week license, rooms must be cleared of all belongings at the end of each term when you move out. For a continuous license, belongings may be stored in your room until the end of the academic year.
International students are allowed 5 boxes, weighing a maximum of 20kg, which are stored, depending on where in college you live, in the two JCRs (common rooms) or Holly Cottage.
There are several banks with branches in Cambridge such as Lloyd’s, Natwest, HSBC, Barclay’s, Metro Bank, Santander and TSB. In order to open a basic or student account, most banks will require you to have a meeting in the branch.
When setting up your bank account, banks will require you to bring your passport or visa and a letter from your college confirming your matriculation, which is attainable upon your arrival.
The account will be activated the same day as the meeting. You will receive a debit card by post and a PIN number in a separate letter.
The UK’s NHS (national health service) provides appointments with doctors, dental care and hospital treatment. You will need to register with a GP when you arrive; for Newnham, this will be Newnham Walk Surgery. You will need a passport and a letter from your college to do so.
EEA internationals are advised to obtain a European health insurance card before arrival.
Tier 4 visa students will have access to free health care as any UK citizen. You may need to pay for dental or optical care and medicine prescribed from a pharmacy will have a standard charge of £8.60.
For an emergency (i.e. if there is a risk of harm or damage to someone), call 999. For a non-emergency concern, call 101.
To report a crime, please consult the Cambridge constabulary website.
Travelling to and around Cambridge
Cambridge is accessible by five main airports: Luton, Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow and London City.
Cambridge has a train station located a 40-minute walk from Newnham, so it is recommended to get a taxi. A national railcard is available for anyone aged 16-25 which reduces the cost of train travel by 1/3.
Travelling in Cambridge is normally done by bike (purchasable at the fresher’s fair or bike shop) or on foot. It is illegal to cycle on pavements and it is a legal requirement to have bike lights. Please remember that in the UK, we drive on the left-hand side of the road.
The university provides a subsidised, universal bus service which has links to Addenbrookes, West Cambridge and the city centre.