Welcome to Chichester International’s Online Preparation Guide

Your First Weeks

Your first weeks can be confusing, but it will get better as you get used to your new surroundings. It can be exhausting when everything is new – you will be getting used to a new education system, new culture and a new language. Be kind to yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are unsure about anything. You may find that the post-arrival checklist will help you through your first weeks, listing the most important tasks you need to do after your arrival. View Checklist.
You will hear references to SIZ a lot during your studies. SIZ is your first point of call for any questions you may have. If they can’t answer your question, they will tell you who you need to contact. You can find a SIZ desk on both campuses – Bognor Regis Campus and Bishop Otter Campus (Chichester). The SIZ desk is based in the Learning Resource Centre (library). You can find the SIZ opening hours and contact details on this help page.

Most undergraduate students start their studies on the 23rd of September 2024. Your start date might be different if you a PGCE,  postgraduate (MSc/MA/PhD), nursing, or a Musical Theatre student. To find out your start date, please visit the course and semester dates document on our website.

During the week beginning 23rd September, most students will be welcomed by their academic department, Accommodation team, Student Support and Wellbeing team and the Students’ Union. You are welcome to join these activities even if your start date is different.

Our accommodation team and the students’ union will welcome you to the halls of residence accommodation during the arrivals weekend, which will take place around the 21st -22nd September. Our accommodation team will communicate the arrival dates and times when you have been allocated your room. If your course starts at a different point, our accommodation team will let you move in earlier or later, if required.

Your academic department will invite you to attend a Welcome Week, which we sometimes call an “Induction Week”. The aim of this week is to introduce you to your academic studies, explain the course structure, timetables, grading/assessments and more. You will also learn about the Student Support and Wellbeing team and other teams, who are here to support you to make the most out of your time studying and living in the UK.
Fresher’s week takes place at the same time as the academic Welcome Week. This is a week of activities organised by the University of Chichester’s Students’ Union. During this week, the Students’ Union will organise lots of information sessions and fun activities for students to help them find out about non-academic side of student life. This is a great opportunity to find a club or a society that you can join and start making friends. The Students’ Union (SU) is also here to advocate for students, and you can contact the Union if you need independent advice for a study related issue. For more information on the Students Union and to find out about all the different things and activities they are involved with, please visit The University of Chichester SU has an elected International Students’ Officer, who is here to advocate and represent the interests of international students. You can find the full list and contact details on the website. You may find that the Students’ Union works differently or focuses on different things compared to what you are used to in your country. Or it might be very similar. If you would like to read more about the purpose of the SU and how they operate and help students, please visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

The International Orientation event is organised by Chichester International Advice at the beginning of your studies, and it aims to help you get information and practical support that is specifically tailored to students who have not lived in the UK before. The event consists of welcome talks, presentations and workshops on different topics and social activities. We understand that covering everything in one afternoon is an impossible task, especially is it is impossible to absorb a lot of information in one sitting, but we aim to guide you towards the most important steps to take at the beginning of your study journey and explain how to contact different teams and resources for further support. For more information on the Orientation event we are organising on Sunday the 22nd of September 2024, please visit the International Orientation section on this website.

Understanding Local Travel Options

So that you can make the most out of your time make sure you familiarise yourself with the local public transport options. This will help you get around and to get to know the local area.

U7/U8 bus service is free to students, and it can be used to travel between the Bognor Regis Campus and Bishop Otter Campus (Chichester). You can also use U7 service to travel to Fishbourne Halls and Tesco supermarket (Chichester).

U7/U8 service is not available during the weekend.

You will need to show evidence of your student status when you travel on U8/U7. You can do this by showing your student ID card or your “live” Chiview Student page on your smart device.

Students from Stockbridge Student Village studying at the Bognor Regis Campus are entitled to discounted bus tickets on the 700 bus. This bus leaves from the main bus station, which is about 5 minute walk from Stockbridge Student Village. These discounted tickets can be bought from Stockbridge Student Village reception. Alternatively, you can catch the free U7 service near Westgate/Chichester College, or walk to the Bishop Otter Campus and catch the free U7 or U8 bus from there.

Students from Fishbourne Halls can travel free on the U7/U8 bus to Chichester and Bognor Regis. The bus stop is just outside Tesco Extra cark park entrance.

Stagecoach is the local public bus service operator in Chichester and Bognor Regis. Most local bus services are organised by company. Stagecoach is taking part in the UK Government £2 bus fare cap scheme. This means that all bus fares are currently £2 per journey, whatever the destination in the local area. A £2 one-way journey is considered cheap in the local area and the offer is currently available until 31st October 2023. For more information on the bus fare cap, please visit the UK government website. Without this bus fare cap offer, or student discount options, bus tickets can cost up to £4-5 one way and £8 return.

The U7/U8 bus service does not operate during the weekend. You can travel between Chichester and Bognor Regis on the 700 bus for a discounted student price (£2 one way and £3 return) by showing your student card to the driver. You will get your student card during the induction/welcome week.

Stagecoach bus number 50 travels between Chichester campus and Chichester city centre. You can buy discounted tickets (£0.60 one way) from the Support and Information Zone on campus.
You can travel by train to many destinations, including London, Portsmouth, Southampton and Brighton. The only way to get a student discount on the train fare is to apply for a 16-25 rail card. You will need to pay an application fee, but the card will give you 33% off every time you travel on the train in the UK. You can also get group tickets at a discounted rate. You will need at least 3 people to travel together during off-peak hours to get this discount. More information on this option is available here.

To drive in the UK you must have a valid licence and adequate insurance. If you are from the European Economic Area (EEA), you can drive as long as your licence remains valid. If you are from outside the EEA, you can drive for up 12 months on your current driving licence. You can take a test to get a British licence once you have been in the UK for 6 months and must have done so within the 12 months to ensure you can continue to drive legally. Check requirements on the government website.

Useful Website:–Advice/Studying–living-in-the-UK/Driving

Chichester city centre is within a 10- minute walking distance from the Bishop Otter Campus (BOC). Bognor Regis seafront and high street is also within a 10-minute walking distance from the Bognor Regis campus. Walking is the healthiest and cheapest way of getting around in the city. If you combine walking with the free bus service, you won’t have to spend much money getting around in the local area.

Cycling within Chichester and Bognor Regis is easy, and there are some dedicated cycle paths around both cities. You are not allowed to cycle on pedestrian pavements, so getting used to riding your bike on the road with cars (and possibly on the wrong side of the road), can take some time.

Visit the West Sussex County Council website for more information on cycling and cycling routes here.

You can buy a second-hand or new bike when you arrive. New bikes are available online and at local shops. If you would like to find out about second-hand options, we can give you some information on local options. Make sure you also buy a good lock and a good cycling helmet.

Top tip from a previous international student: Different countries and different cities have different rules relating to public transport. In West Sussex, to get a bus to stop at your bus stop, you will need to “hail” it. That means raising your arm up and wait for the bus driver to notice you. When you want to get off the bus, you will need to ring a bell. It is polite to thank the driver when you leave the bus.

Wherever you choose to study, it will take some effort on your part to integrate with other students. You will find that, if you are open to others, they will also respond to you, and you will soon make friends. The University has a relatively small student population, so you will find a warm and welcoming community. This can make it easier to mix with other students, as you will be in smaller classes where everyone knows each other. We encourage you to join in the on-and off-campus activities available at the university and in the local communities. Remember that there is the local community too! You are not just restricted to experiencing university-based people and things to do.

Here are some suggestions:

• Attend the International orientation activities and events we have planned for you. As well as getting a lot of useful information and practical advice, attending these events will help you get to know other international students, who can be a great source of support during your studies in the UK.

• Join the official Facebook groups set up by the Students’ Union (SU) and the University to find out about useful information and connect with other students before you arrive. Check the Students’ Union website for the latest information.

• Try to join as many of the social events run by the SU as you can;

• Join clubs, sports teams, orchestras, drama and dance clubs;

• Work for the University as a student ambassador;

• Volunteer with the SU, University or the local community.

Getting to know your new home is an important part of adjusting to your life abroad. Try not to limit yourself to spending time on the University campuses only.

Chichester and Bognor Regis are in the county of West Sussex on the South Coast, which is famous for its beaches and hiking trails along the South Downs national park. You can take part in many outdoor activities such as surfing, windsurfing, canoeing, swimming, cycling, hiking, horse riding etc. You can find a high street lined with smaller shops in the centre of both towns as well as bigger retail parks with supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Aldi, Iceland, M&S etc.) on the outskirts. The U7 bus can be used to travel to the retail park area.

Explore what is outside in the city and the county. There are various local events, clubs and activities that you can join in. All these different options (and more ideas) can be found online, so we recommend that you start searching for things to do even before you travel to the UK.

Life as an international student can be an exciting and rewarding adventure. You’ll meet new people, experience a different way of life and experience learning in a new way.

However, adapting to a new country, with a different climate, culture, and language can be overwhelming, especially when you do not have your family, friends and familiar support networks around you.

International students and culture shock 

Culture shock describes the impact of moving from a familiar culture to one which is unfamiliar. It refers to the anxiety and feeliungs of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, and confusion felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown cultural or social environment.  

It is an experience describe by people who have travelled abroad to work, live or study; it can be felt to a certain extent even when abroad on holiday. It can affect anyone, including international students. 

Culture shock includes the shock of a new environment, meeting lots of new people and learning the ways of a different country. It also includes the shock of being separated from the important people in your life, family, friends, colleagues, teachers – people you would normally talk to at times of uncertainty, people who give you support and guidance. When familiar sights, sounds, smells, or tastes are no longer there you can miss them very much. If you are tired and jet-lagged when you arrive, small things can be upsetting and out of all proportion to their real significance. 

Some of the elements that contribute to culture shock include a dramatic change in:  

Climate, food, language, dress, social roles, rules of behaviour, social values. 

How to help yourself: 

  • Understand that culture shock is a normal experience. 
  • Stay connected with home. 
  • Have familiar things around you that have personal meaning. 
  • Find a supplier of familiar food, if you can.  
  • Eat a health and balanced diet. 
  • Take regular exercise. 
  • Make friends. 
  • Take advantage of all the help that is offered by your institution. 
  • Use the University services. 
  • You may find the lining with a faith community will put you touch with a familiar setting whichever place of worship that may be. 
  • Join the Students Union and make use of its societies. 
  • Volunteer or work locally. 
  • Explore Chichester and Bognor Regis towns and join in some community activities and events. 
  • Find someone to talk to who will listen uncritically and with understand ding, rather than isolating yourself.  


Read more about the stages of cultures shock on the UKCISA website.  

What should I do if I need help? 

There are lots of different people and services in the University who can offer help and support. Speak to your academic adviser or staff at the Support and Information Zone for more information of the support available to students. 

What kinds of help might I be offered? 

  • International Student Advice 
  • Wellbeing Advice 
  • Mental Health Advice 
  • Support Groups 

Anything that helps you find trusting relationships, gives you a sense that you belong and that you are valued will improve your mental health and wellbeing. 

And finally…. 

It is important to stress that culture shock is entirely normal, usually unavoidable, and not a sign that you have made a mistake that you will not manage. In fact, there are positive aspects of culture shock. The experience can be a significant learning experience, making you more aware of aspects of your own culture as well as the new culture you have entered. It will give you valuable skills that will service you in many ways now and in the future and which will be part of the benefit of an international education.  

Top tip: Volunteering or working locally can be a great way to get to know local people and local customs. We have a dedicated Careers and Employability team, and they can help you find local volunteering and work opportunities! Just remember that if you have a Student Route visa, your working rights are limited. You can find out more on our website.

Top tip from a previous international student: Be open to invitations from other students and be prepared to invite others to come along to things that you are interested in. The beginning of the academic year is a great time to be making friends, as everyone is in the same situation and is looking to connect with others. Making friends is rewarding, but it does need a bit of work.

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