Studying in the UK

Before you arrive in Manchester, it’s really important to prepare yourself for life in a new country. Read on for helpful tips and information on studying, living and working in the UK.


As a new student, you can choose to live in Sir Charles Groves Hall of Residence, right next door to the College.

Our students occupy the majority of its 612 rooms, which means you can be part of the community and make friends as soon as you arrive. You’ll also have the benefit of being able to practise in your room between 9am and 9pm, and pianists can request a loan piano if required.

Managed by Liberty Living, all standard en-suite rooms in the Hall are grouped in four, with a shared fully-equipped kitchen/lounge. There are also two senior residents and one member of staff on hand to provide support and assistance if needed.

Alternatively, you may wish to rent a flat or share a house privately. Manchester has a huge selection of affordable accommodation within easy distance of the RNCM. Many of these are available via Manchester Student Homes, an agency owned and managed by the city’s universities.

Click here for more information.

Healthcare in the UK

National Health Service (NHS)

The NHS is a healthcare system in the UK that provides emergency and healthcare treatment as well as subsidised dental and optical treatments.

EU/EEA Citizens

Students from EU/EEA countries can access NHS services for free providing they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Students from outside of EU/EEA coming to the UK after 6 April 2015 have to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge.

You are eligible to apply for EHIC from your home country.

Students from Outside EU/EEA

Students coming to the UK from countries outside of European Union/European Economic Area countries will need to pay Immigration Health Surcharge. Paying this surcharge will entitle you to use of NHS services on the same basis as UK nationals.

Citizens of New Zealand and Australia do not have to pay the health surcharge because a reciprocal healthcare agreement exists with the UK.

Students on exchanges and courses that last less than six months will have to pay for their medical treatment.

We strongly advise you to have appropriate health and travel insurance in case you will need medical care as you will be charged for it.

Further information on services offered by NHS can be found here.

Even if you are entitled to free NHS treatment whilst in the UK, you could consider taking out insurance which covers other medical-related costs.  An insurance policy may cover, for example:

  • Lost fees if you are unable to complete your course
  • Costs of returning home if a relative is ill
  • Costs of a relative visiting you in the UK if you fall ill
  • Cost of returning to your home country for treatment
  • Or in the worst possible situation, returning a body home for burial

An insurance policy which gives you access to private medical care could give you quicker access to the treatment you need.

If you already have medical insurance in your home country, check whether you can extend it to cover your stay in the UK, as well as looking at options available from UK insurers.

Registering with a Doctor

We recommend that you register with a doctor (GP) as soon as you register at the College, rather than waiting until you are ill. You can find a list of local doctors here.

To register with a doctor you should go to the surgery during opening hours and take with you a letter from the College confirming that you are a student and your passport. Please request to be added to the list of NHS patients. Under NHS doctors consultations are free but there are some services you will need to pay for such as prescriptions. To find out more, visit the NHS website.

It is recommended that you also register with a dentist. When registering, ask for NHS treatment. Note that there is a charge for dental treatment. You can find a list of local dentists here.


It is recommended that you get vaccinations for Meningitis C and MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella). If these vaccinations are not easily available in your home country, you can get them at your GP in the UK. It may be necessary to get a certificate confirming that you are free from infectious Tuberculosis before you apply for your visa. More information can be found here.


We would like our international students to have a rewarding and positive experience when living in Manchester and studying with us. The UK is generally a safe place, but you should take practical steps to take care of your personal safety and health. For many of you, coming to Manchester may be the first time being out of own country. It is important you look after yourself.

For emergencies or to report a crime, see the list of contacts below:


In case of emergency you can call these 24 hour services:

Police/Fire/Ambulance (emergency only): 999

Manchester Police (non-emergency): 0161 856 3129 or 101

NHS direct (for health advice): 111

Manchester Royal Infirmary (The nearest hospital to the College with an emergency service): 0161 276 1234

RNCM Reception: 0161 907 5300 (open from 8am until 6pm Monday-Saturday)

Top Tips for Staying Safe

  • Take special care of your passport and any important documents
  • Protect your identity as if information about it is stolen the criminals can use your personal details to open bank accounts, take out loans or credit cards
  • Avoid displaying expensive items such as watches, jewellery, mobile phones in busy public places
  • When crossing the road remember that cars in the UK drive on the left
  • If you are travelling late at night, walk in a group or use public transport or a taxi. Do not walk in dark alleyways or parks
  • Do not carry large sums of cash when you are out
  • Be aware of others around you when using a cash machine. Try not to use them at night or poorly lit areas
  • Memorise your PIN (personal identification number) to draw your money from a cash machine. Do not write it down or share with anyone
  • Keep your bag, coat and personal possessions with you when you are out
  • More useful tips on staying safe at home and when out can be found in the Creating Confidence Booklet, which you can download from the menu on the right hand side


There are different types of insurance to cover any types of situations – health, travel, personal possessions and instrument. It is wise to obtain several quotes from insurance companies to compare their prices before buying insurance.

Medical Insurance

The NHS (National Health Service) treatment students are entitled to varies according to the length of course and whether you are from within the EU (European Union) EEA (European Economic Area) or not.

If you are not entitled to NHS services you need to get private medical insurance as medical treatment can be costly.

Personal Possessions Insurance

It is worth considering insuring any valuable items you decide to bring with you to the UK such as iPads, computers, mobile phones, jewellery, etc. Whether you live in the student halls or private accommodation these items need to be insured for loss, theft, fire or accidental damage. If you have already got insurance from your home country, you need to check whether the insurance policy you hold covers your possessions abroad.

In case of theft of loss of your valuable possessions you will need to inform the police before your claim can be processed. It is illegal to make a false insurance claim or police report.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance usually depending on the package you get covers most situations. It is advisable to have travel insurance to cover your luggage, personal possessions, money and medical costs for your journey and first few days here. When buying insurance consider the length of your course. Most travel insurance is only for a few weeks, although there are some that cover you for up to a year.

Instrument Insurance

Your instrument is one of your most valuable possessions. It is essential that if the worst happened to your instrument such as damage or theft you need to be sure you are covered.

Further Information

Please be sure to check the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website for further practical advice on living in the UK.