Starting Uni Student-made

The International Student’s Guide to Self-Isolation

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Welcome back to Manchester everyone!

I’m finally back in Manchester after 6 months and I’ve honestly missed our grey skies and perpetual rain. However, I’ll be starting this new academic year unlike any other before; in my two-week government mandated self-isolation.

This can be daunting, especially if you’re coming to Manchester for the first time. I’ve almost completed my own fourteen days and got lots of advice that I’m going to share. Keep reading to find out my top tips for self-isolation as an international student!

Tip #1: Arrive Prepared

Sort out your accommodation arrangements before you arrive. You don’t want to be worrying about it while you’re jetlagged and sleep deprived.

A few essential forms to fill:

  1.  Complete the government pre-arrival form no earlier than 48 hours before you’re expected to arrive in the UK. This needs to be completed online and bring a printed copy with you.
  2. The University also has a separate form to fill out before arriving.
  3. If you’re staying in Halls of Residence, you’ll be able to arrive 2 weeks before your tenancy starts to self-isolate free of charge so make sure you book your slot here.

You should also contact your accommodation and find out if you can get anything delivered there before you arrive such as a food box that lasts from 3-4 days or some room and kitchen essentials.

Try and sort out your bank account online. Don’t forget to email university and ask for a proof of address if you need one. If this isn’t possible make sure you have appropriate funds for the first 2 weeks. Have all your documents prepared so you can book a bank appointment as soon as you’re out of self-isolation!    

You’ll need a working sim card as the Home Office may contact you to make sure you’re staying in self isolation. You’ll have to write this number on your prearrival form so make sure that number is going to be active. If you change this number you MUST contact the Home Office to update your details.

Tip #2: Sort out a Support System

Self-Isolation can be incredibly…… isolating.

That was terrible I know but the point still stands! Let people know that you’re going to be self-isolating and that you’ll need a little extra emotional support over the next 2 weeks.

Make sure friends and family back home know the time difference so you can arrange group video calls and check ins. Give everyone the phone number for your accommodation so people know how to reach you in case of an emergency.

It’s also important to find support in Manchester, find out what services halls can offer you such as a buddy service. Reach out to the International Society or the society of your home country. You might find friends who aren’t isolating who can provide some support and it’s always good to build connections early! You can also reach out to the NHS Volunteer Responder service.

Tip #3: Plan out your day

It’s pretty easy to fall into the following self-isolation routine:

In my experience having a varied routine and a schedule helped with my homesickness, jet lag and general depressed mood due to being inside all day. It’s also very satisfying to make a checklist and cross things off. I also decided to try out a few new things while I had the time!

Here are a few suggestions:

Lastly, it’s important to keep up with the University guidelines on COVID-19 and what to do if you develop symptoms. You can read the guidance here. Also be sure to monitor your mental health during this time, if you feel like you need extra support make sure to visit the website for more information.

I hope you’ve found my tips useful, stay safe!

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