We understand you may be feeling many emotions when deciding to study at a UK university. The excitement for this amazing new adventure, the happiness at the independence you’ll get (finally!) and even the eagerness to make new friends. Although, we also understand that it’s really easy to be nervous and a little worried about your safety.
You really have no reason to worry, especially if you study in a well-known safe student city like Newcastle. These 11 tips on how to stay safe at university in the UK are good advice to follow in any city you’re in.
- Get to know your new city
- Keep your ID safe
- Don’t show off expensive items
- Insure anything valuable
- Download useful apps on your phone
- Don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to
- Take responsibility for yourself and don’t always rely on others
- Be careful with your money
- Install security software on your laptop
- Save all of your important contact numbers
- What to do if you’re staying out late with friends
1. Get to know your new city
It’s completely normal to want to explore your new city the moment you unpack your bags. Your first few days will be both exciting and busy so it’s easy to forget the little things.
As soon as you can, write down your accommodation details on your phone or on a piece of paper so you don’t forget them while you’re experiencing your new city. Set reminders for trains or buses and even download the timetables so you know where to go and at what times.
Alternatively, you could download an app like Uber to make getting around the city even easier or view live times and timetables through Traveline or Northern Rail.
Before you know it, you’ll know the different times you can catch public transport without always needing to use a timetable.
2. Keep your ID safe
Driving licenses, bank cards, statements, your PIN, university ID, official university paperwork - these are all examples of sensitive information you want to make sure you keep safe.
Don’t leave these lying around in public as you don’t want to risk this personal information falling into the wrong hands. It’s also good to keep it with you at all times in case you ever need to use it for student discount deals!
3. Don’t show off expensive items
Whether you’ve bought a new laptop, clothing or you’re just carrying around a lot of cash, keep them secure and discreet when you’re out. Don’t show them off. You don’t want to risk losing them if they’re hanging out of your pockets or have someone take something without you knowing.
But don’t worry, Newcastle is a safe city and on the Newcastle University campus, security regularly patrols the residences. Plus, you can contact them 24 hours a day should you have any concerns.
4. Insure anything valuable
Speaking of those valuable items we mentioned, it’s a good idea to register and insure them. Mark your possessions with a UV pen with your student details such as your name and phone number. This makes it easier to get anything back from the police when your items are handed in (if you lose it in the first place).
By insuring your expensive items, it means you won’t have to pay too much to get your possessions replaced or spend even more to buy new things.
5. Download useful apps on your phone
For an extra level of security, there are plenty of useful apps you can download onto your phone to keep you safe. Some of the apps include:
- Circle of 6: two taps lets your circle of friends know where you are and how they can help
- Guardly: activate the safety app to connect to security, public authorities and a list of emergency contacts
- StreetSafe: accurately lets your friends and family locate you on a map with real-time updates
- Kitestring: let the app know when to check in on you and the app will send you a text message at the appropriate time
- Safezone: a free app which will connect you directly to the Newcastle University security team. If you raise an alarm or call for help, on-campus security will be alerted so that can help you quickly and effectively
There are so many apps out there when it comes to student safety at university. Just look at the App or Play Store to see which one suits you the best. Even though you’ll quickly realise that you have nothing to worry about - especially in a city like Newcastle - it’s good to feel reassured.
6. Don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to
It’s easy to follow what your roommates or people you meet on your course are doing. Although it’s a good way to make new friends and settle in, don’t feel like you have to say yes to everything. There’s really no pressure.
You’ll find that the lifelong friends you make at university will be asking you to participate in activities and events you actually enjoy, not something you’ve been pressured into doing.
7. Take responsibility for yourself and don’t always rely on others
Moving to the UK to study means you’ll learn to become more responsible. This can be anything from making sure your mobile phone is charged to having enough money on you so you can get around the city when exploring.
It’s better to look out for your own best interests rather than leaving others to make your decisions. Plus, you’ll never really learn to be responsible if you keep relying on somebody else!
8. Be careful with your money
Make sure the ATMs or cash machines you use to withdraw money have no signs of interference before using it. If you do spot something suspicious, make sure you report it to the university security team. Another beneficial tip is to hide your PIN when you’re entering it.
Be careful when shopping online as well. Any website which begins with ‘https’ before it means that it’s secure. This applies anywhere in the world, not just Newcastle or any city in the UK. If you don’t see it, then don’t enter your bank details and shop on a different website instead. Be careful not to overspend either and stick to your budget!
9. Install security software on your laptop
Although the university network you connect to will be secure, make sure you install security software on your personal devices. You never know which website could be dangerous or you might even accidentally click on an email intended to download a virus on your laptop.
This can potentially stop you from using your device which isn’t good if you have deadlines coming up! So, it’s better to be safe than sorry and install software like an antivirus as soon as possible so you can browse without worry.
10. Save all of your important contact numbers
Friends, family, taxis and university contact information - make sure you save all of these on your phone should you ever need to contact somebody in an emergency. In fact, check in with your university’s Students’ Union to see which taxi companies they recommend and save their details.
11. What to do if you’re staying out late with friends
Whether you’re seeing what the UK has to offer, dining with friends or you’re going to the theatre and will arrive on campus later than usual, it’s important to think about some other safety aspects to make sure you arrive home safe.
- Make sure you have your keys, money phone and a plan to get back to your accommodation
- Pre-book a taxi or be aware of the last train times and know how you’ll get home
- Look out for your friends and decide on a safe meeting place in case you get separated
- Be aware of your surroundings and only take the routes you’re comfortable with
Remember, don’t feel like you need to handle safety entirely on your own. At Newcastle University, we have services such as Student Wellbeing, Student Progress, the Student Advice Centre and other support systems available for you - should you ever need them.
Now that you have some useful tips on how to stay safe at university in the UK and any other city, it’s the perfect time to receive even more helpful guidance on making your university experience in the UK the best time of your life
Make sure you’re ready to study in the UK with your all-in-one guide
Budgeting, travelling, accommodation and visas are just some of the things you need to think about before moving to the UK to study. We understand you’re excited and these things can often be forgotten about, as important as they are.
To help, we’ve created an all-in-one guide to help make your move as easy as possible. To get your free copy, click on the link below.