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International Students

Pre-Arrival Information

Information for International offer holders about when to arrive, visas, orientation, induction and more.

Congratulations on holding an offer to study at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen! We look forward to welcoming you to the University.

We hope to help provide you with some useful information to help you prepare for your departure, and your first few weeks as an RGU student here in the UK.

Supporting your Transition to RGU

We have put together a PDF that highlights many key areas that international students should consider prior to travelling to Aberdeen, in addition to the guidance on this webpage.

Before you leave home

Visa Information

Our Student Admissions Service are dedicated to supporting you throughout your visa application process.

We have a specialist team in Immigration that can help you with your Student Visa application.

Read more on the visa application process and important information to help guide you along this journey:

Study Equipment and Technology

Whilst it is easy to pick up notebooks and pens to help with your studies when you arrive in Aberdeen, you may wish to bring with you a laptop or personal computer. This will allow you the independence to study wherever and whenever you want, and can be used for watching online lectures, learning online, completing assignments and also note taking during classes.

A laptop or personal computer is recommended to fully access all RGU’s systems and networks, as joining via a phone or tablet can offer a limited functionality.

Suggested minimum specification:

Windows laptop

  • Operating System: Windows 10.
  • Minimum Screen Size: 10 inches
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Hard Drive Size: 250 Gb, preferably more
  • Wireless connectivity
  • At least 1 USB Port
  • Camera, microphone and speaker
  • Anti-virus/anti-malware protection

Apple Mac OS

  • Operating System: Apple iOS 11.x (2017) or later ^
  • Minimum Screen Size: 10 inches
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Hard Drive Size: 250 Gb, preferably more
  • Wireless connectivity
  • At least 1 USB port
  • Camera, microphone and speaker
  • Anti-virus/Anti-malware software

Get prepared – helpful research

We recommend that you visit the British Council’s Study in the UK website, as this has lots of helpful advice to prepare ahead of your departure from your home country. 

Before you start packing, please familiarise yourself with the UK Government’s rules on what you can bring into the country. There are several food stuffs you are not allowed to enter the country with, as well as there being a limit on the volume of alcohol and cigarettes you can carry with you.

Don’t worry about packing items you think you will not find here. Aberdeen is a multi-cultural welcoming city with many international supermarkets which cater for a variety of cuisines.

Travelling to join us in Aberdeen 

Travel By Air 

If you are planning to travel to Aberdeen by air, many of the major airline carriers will allow international  students a complimentary extra baggage allowance with proof of study, such as your Unconditional offer letter or student visa. This must be arranged in advance of travel so please speak to your airline at the point of booking your ticket.

Aberdeen International Airport (ABZ) is a small, single terminal airport, with several international connections from London, Amsterdam and Paris each day. If Aberdeen is your first point of landing in the UK, you will travel through UK Border Control here. If you transit via other UK airports, such as Heathrow, Manchester or Glasgow, you will pass through UK Border Control there.

Options for onward travel from Aberdeen airport to your student accommodation include:


There is a regulated taxi rank outside the terminal of the airport, which has taxis 24 hours a day. It will cost approx. £30 to travel to Garthdee campus from the airport. Unregulated taxis are not allowed into the grounds of the airport.


There is a regular bus service, Jet 727, which runs 24 hours a day from outside the airport terminal and takes you to the bus station in the city centre. A ticket costs around £3.50. 

Travel By Rail/Bus/Coach 

Aberdeen has both a train station and a bus station located in the city centre, both with regular services to other UK cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. 

There is a taxi rank located at the train station, which runs 24 hours a day. It will cost approximately £18 for a taxi to the Garthdee campus from the city centre. There is also a very regular local bus service which operates from a short distance away from the train and bus stations, on Union Street. This bus service connects the city of Aberdeen, with many different routes offered. If travelling to campus, please take First Bus, Route 1 or Route 2.

Money Matters

Travelling and Arrival

We advise all international students to travel with a small amount of cash with them, to cover your expenses for the first few days until your new bank account is set up. Ideally you want to bring this cash in £GBP, £250-£500 should be enough.

Setting up your bank account

As it will take you a short while to set up your UK bank account, you may wish to consider a pre-paid credit card from your home country which will allow you to make withdrawals with ease in the UK. Some example companies which offer this are WeSwap and Revolut.

Information about how to set up your UK bank account is included in the Welcome Toolkit you will have access to on Moodle, once you have enrolled online. Please note, some banks will require a bank support letter and proof of address to set up your bank account, which you can request from the Student Help Point, or via AskRGU. Once you are enrolled you can self-serve a bank letter for some banks including TSB and HSBC via the MyRGU App. For other banks you can request from the Student Help Point, or via AskRGU. Please note, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays do not need an RGU bank letter but will require other documents.

More information about this is included in the ‘Finance and Banking Advice’ section of the Welcome Toolkit on Moodle:

Paying your tuition fees

RGU offers a flexible payment plan for your balance of tuition fees

Cost of living and budgeting 

As the cost of living may be quite different from your home country, the key to financial success is researching your costs and budgeting. When you apply for your visa, the UKVI asks you to show that you have £9,270 to cover your living expenses (plus £6,120 per dependant) for each year of study. This will cover your core costs such as accommodation, food, and expenses like telephone bills, transport and clothing. We recommend you set a budget each month to ensure that all your core costs are covered from your financial requirement funds. You should not expect part time employment to cover your core costs.

If you are bringing your family with you, it is essential that you research additional costs such as family sized accommodation and childcare as these may be considerably more expensive than in your home country.

Living expenses are the responsibility of the student with very limited additional support available from the University or other sources, which is why budgeting is a key tool we recommend all students use.

For more information about the cost of living and students with families

Part Time Working

For all students, your first priority is to your education so before deciding if you wish to get a part time job, you should consider the time you have available once your study commitments are fulfilled. The result of your studies will last a lifetime, and therefore is far more valuable than earning a small amount of extra money in the short term. Your visa may allow you to work a maximum of 20 hours per week, but to achieve a balance of study, part time work, and enjoying your life in Aberdeen most students find 11 to 16 hours more suitable.

Our Careers and Employability team offers all students support and guidance on part time work and balancing your studies.

Enrolling and commencing your studies with RGU 

You will begin to receive communication from our Student Admissions Service regarding enrolment processes around early August. Please check your inbox for this notification.

Dates for your diary

  • Arrival on campus, enrolment and course inductions begin 09 September 2024
  • Start of teaching - 16 September 2024
  • Final date to enrol - 24 September 2024
  • For new students on campus, Student Records will be in the Student Union, Riverside Building 09-20 September 2024 between 10:00 - 13:00 to help with any enrolment questions you may have

Welcome Toolkit

Our guide for new International students provides essential information about visa and immigration support, as well as lots of useful advice to help you settle into life in Aberdeen and the UK. Students can access this online through Moodle once you have enrolled.

Freshers Events

You can also find out about Freshers (New Student) events and activities through the Welcome area of Moodle, or on the Students' Union's website:

Pre-Arrival Events

Before each intake, we run a range of pre-arrival events for our new international students. These are a great opportunity to get your last minute questions answered as well as pick up some helpful tips on preparing to join us.

We also have a series of virtual events held throughout the summer to help you with any questions or plans ahead of arriving in the city.

Don’t forget, you can chat to some of our current students who are an excellent source of advice and guidance.



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