International Student Hub

Top tips for arriving in Glasgow

  • The international dialling code in the UK is +44.
  • Train stations, transport services and some public buildings (including eateries), have free WiFi. Check inside the venue when you get there.
  • Consider the benefits of getting a local SIM card when you arrive in Glasgow. There are lots of phone shops in Glasgow that can provide you with a Pay As You Go SIM. Some of the biggest network providers in the UK are Three, Vodaphone, EE and o2. 


When you arrive in Glasgow, there will be several things you have to do. Some students may have to find a place to stay. Most students will have to register with a doctor, set up bank accounts in the UK and get to know where to buy groceries in their local community. These things can be surprisingly tiring and sometimes difficult when you’ve just moved to Glasgow and are studying a new course, although it can also be exciting!

Check out the headings below to find out some useful information about what you’re likely experience in the first few weeks of your stay.

Culture Shock

Some students are surprised and can’t always recognise the (often confusing) signs of culture shock. Culture shock is a very normal sensation when you’re settling in somewhere new. Read our handy guide for managing culture shock here. 

Healthcare in the UK 

This PDF offers some information on Healthcare in the UK , including the importance of registering with a GP once you have secured a place to stay. 

Opening a Bank Account and Student Status Letter Procedure

Most students choose to open a bank account in the UK as it can make it easier to access and transfer money while they’re living here. Banks will ask for proof of address, so here are tips on how to generate a proof of student status letter in the College which you will need for registering with any bank or doctors’ surgery. You can find out more about opening a bank account here.  

Council Tax

Some students, particularly studying shorter courses, may have to pay council tax as part of UK law. You can find out more information by clicking Council Tax Information. 

Local Hospitals

There are a number of hospitals in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde region. You can find out more about hospitals in Glasgow and their locations here.

Emergency Contact Numbers

Police Scotland; Scottish Fire & Rescue; Scottish Ambulance Service: 999 (101 for non-emergencies)

If you happen to lose any personal belongings, contact Police Scotland on 101 and report the item as being lost. You will also need to complete an online Lost Property form.

Local/UK Laws and Customs

Local/UK Laws and Customs might differ in Scotland from the laws of your home country. You can find out more about this on the UK Governments website. 


Religion in Scotland includes all forms of religious organisation and practice. In Glasgow there are many places of worship. City of Glasgow College provide a chaplaincy service which offers one to one support for the diverse spiritual and non-spiritual needs of our students. To find out more email:

City and Riverside campuses also offer a space for people of any or no religion. The Quiet Reflection Space can be used for contemplation, prayer and meditation. For information on how to use these spaces respectfully please refer to available guides on arrival.

Traditions & Culture

Cultural festivals and traditions vary depending on regions and local communities.

Some comprehensive information about general tradition and culture in the UK can be found on the UK Council for International Students' website.


The College has two libraries; one based at City Campus and one at Riverside. Printing facilities, book lending, photocopying, chartwork and quiet study spaces can all be found in each library. More info can be found on the College's website.

Glasgow has some great reference and community libraries which are free to enter and to register with, provided you have proof of a Glasgow based address and postcode. The Mitchell Library is one of the largest public referencing libraries in Europe, and many libraries offer beautiful and peaceful places in the community to get some quiet study time. More info can be found on the Glasgow Life website.

Post Offices

Local post offices have varying opening and closing times. Most are open between 9-5pm on weekdays, with some open during the evening and on Saturdays. Post offices are situated in some supermarkets and local convenience shops as well as stand-alone branches. Postage rates are calculated based on weight, size and the service you require. Find out more on the Royal Mail's website

Cost of living

The average cost of living or students (shopping, rent, entertainment etc) is so variable it’s hard to keep up. Prices in Glasgow are, on average, cheaper than living somewhere like London. But rent and shopping varies depending on where you live and where you choose to spend your money.

Check out UK Council for International Students and Save the Student for money saving tips for students for groceries, supermarket tips, and tips on how to manage your money effectively.

City Campus

Students’ Association
City of Glasgow College
Second Floor
190 Cathedral Street
G4 0RF
t: 0141 375 5322

Riverside Campus

Students’ Association
City of Glasgow College
Ground Floor
21 Thistle Street
G5 9XB
t: 0141 375 5600

City of Glasgow College

Registered Charity No: SC036198

Powered by MSL