International Summer School

Frequently Asked Questions

Living in the UK
What should I expect about living in the UK?

Living abroad and immersing yourself in another culture takes courage and may seem rather daunting, but remember that all ISS students are in the same position, and this tends to make for good bonding and camaraderie. You may feel lonely or disconcerted. We would like to reassure you that these feelings are very common and do generally pass quickly. To help you cope with this, we advise you to ensure that you arrive on time and participate in the social activities that we have organised for students, such as the welcome dinner or the social programme trips.

The British are famously rather reserved, and it may take a little longer to establish friendships but there is a general tolerance in attitudes. Women are independent and accustomed to going out unaccompanied. Smoking in many public places is banned and is generally less tolerated nowadays; alcohol is widely available to over 18s. The International Summer School Student Handbook gives detailed advice on life on campus, going out and keeping safe.

What clothes should I pack?

Campus has self-service laundry facilities and students are responsible for all their own laundry. Smart/casual style clothes with non-sneaker style footwear is acceptable at most clubs and restaurants in town. Remember to bring a jacket/fleece for evenings and light outer layers to cover up as the weather can change rapidly! The UK has varied weather patterns, especially on the coast, so there might be a range of temperatures within a short time. Generally temperatures in the area are around 65°F, 18°C, but British summers are variable so a fleece and wet weather clothes are advisable. Good footwear may be particularly important if you are taking one of our outdoor modules which may require a lot of walking over uneven ground. If you are planning on outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking etc. remember to pack suitable items also. Brighton has an excellent shopping centre for any forgotten items.

What other important items should I bring?

You will need to bring any medication and prescriptions, spare contact lenses, glasses and contact lens cleaning fluid, and evidence of insurance. Before leaving home please check whether electrical devices (laptops, hair dryers, etc,) will only work on the voltage from your country. If it can auto switch, then all you need is a physical adapter to convert the plug socket on your appliance to a UK one. If the device works only on the voltage for your country, it will need a transformer as well as an adapter.

What should I do if I become ill?

The University Health Centre (Phone +44 (0)1273 249049) provides doctors and nurses administering general medical care. It is open Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm. In the event of an emergency when the surgery is closed there is a recorded message to put students in touch with a doctor, or for emergency help they should dial 3333 (on campus) or 999 (off-campus). The Health Centre website, www.unisussexhc.nhs.uk, provides information on symptoms of illnesses, health insurance, late-opening pharmacies and many other links.

As most Summer School students will be in the UK for only a short period, they will not be covered by the NHS unless they are from the EEA or a country with a reciprocal arrangement. The NHS will only provide free emergency treatment to nationals of countries with reciprocal arrangements with the UK, and students are advised to carry appropriate insurance for any other treatment needed. Students who are not covered by the NHS must ensure that they have adequate and appropriate insurance for the whole of their stay in the UK. They will not be permitted to register unless they have proof of insurance. At the campus health centre they will be expected to pay for any treatment, and reclaim it from their own insurer.

How safe is the UK?

As a simple guideline, we would encourage you to read the detailed information in the handbook on safety and looking after yourself when travelling. Some essential guidelines are:

• Keep essential phone numbers with you.
• Don’t carry unnecessary / lots of cash and keep all valuables out of sight.
• If you lose credit cards cancel them at once.
• Don’t carry your passport with you unless you need it. Leave it in your locked room.
• Keep a photocopy of your passport, airline tickets and ID in your room.
• When travelling never leave your bags unattended or ask others to watch them for you.
• Be sensible, read the handbook on alcohol and going out.

How much money will I need?

You will require some cash for immediate needs on arrival and travellers’ cheques could be useful too. It is difficult to predict how much money to bring in total as it depends on your lifestyle and other factors such as how much independent travel will be undertaken, but £100 per week is a rough guide, to cover costs of food, local travel, books and supplies and laundry. The International Summer School also organises additional local trips and social activities at an extra cost. Our Going Out guide lists the cost of each trip. We recommend that you bring cash in small value notes (£5, £10, £20) and travellers’ cheques.

Cards from major credit card companies can usually be used to draw cash in the UK. You can also send an International Money Order to be cashed at a Post office, providing the Money Order is Canadian or US Citibank with the £ Sterling equivalent shown. Money can also be sent by bank draft, electronic and telegraphic transfer to a UK bank account.

Is there WiFi on campus?

Free wireless internet is available on campus and in Northfield residences courtesy of Eduroam. As the university is situated within a national park, we unfortunately cannot promise a consistent Wi-Fi connection. All Northfield residences are installed with Ethernet connections for wired internet which is both faster and more reliable.

Please note that some newer laptops do not have Ethernet ports. Please check your device before coming to England as you may need an adaptor to be able to connect to the wired internet. If you don't wish to bring your laptop with you, there are computer clusters throughout campus, several of which are open 24 hours.

Where can I buy an adaptor or other electrical goods?

Before you leave home please check whether your devices (laptops, hair dryers, curling irons, etc, anything that runs off electricity) will only work on the voltage from your country. If it can auto switch, then all you need is a physical adapter to convert the plug socket on your appliance to a UK one. If the device works only on the voltage for your country, it will need a transformer as well as an adapter. Ideally transformers should not be used for anything that draws a lot of electricity. You can buy miscellaneous electrical goods at a variety of stores in Brighton. Some include, but are not limited to, Boots, Robert Dyas, Dixons, and Argos.

Campus life
What is the campus like?

Sussex has a large, exciting campus with plenty of facilities, including gyms which are free to Summer School students. As the campus is situated in a national park, students from cities have noted that it feels very rural with an abundance of wildlife. It is easy to leave the countryside behind however, and get into Brighton on the bus, which takes about 30 minutes, or the train, which takes about 10 minutes. Brighton is a huge attraction as it is one of the most exciting, cosmopolitan and beautiful cities in the UK.

What can I expect in terms of accommodation?

All Summer School students living on-campus will be housed in the Northfield site in single en-suite rooms, the newest accommodation available on campus. This means that each room has its own bathroom. You can also live off campus in privately rented accommodation but be aware that Brighton is a tourist centre, and prices rise in the summer months. All campus accommodation is mixed sex, though there is the option for female-only flats, if requested prior to arrival.

All campus accommodation is self-catering although meal plans are available. Kitchens are fully equipped with a cooker, fridge and all equipment needed. Bedrooms have a bed, cupboards, desk, chairs and phone. The price of accommodation includes all utilities. All students are provided with a mattress, mattress protector, pillow, sheet, pillowcase, duvet, duvet cover, and towel. Students are expected to launder their own linen and other laundry. Student bedrooms are cleaned once a week and communal areas twice a week. Please note that cleaners will not tidy bedrooms or wash up after meals.

Students often make their own breakfast and get into groups to prepare an evening meal together or go out. There is a small supermarket on campus, or students can take the bus to larger supermarkets in town. There are plenty of cafés on campus for eating lunch. Brighton has a huge range of restaurants and cafés and is easy to get to by bus or train. Buses are frequent and come onto the campus.

How do I connect to the WiFi on campus?

There is a free Wi-Fi service called Eduroam available in your residences and most of the campus buildings. Instructions on how to connect can be found at www.sussex.ac.uk/its/services/networkandstorage/networkandinternet.

When will I get my ID card?

During the registration process, you will need to upload a photo of yourself online. Once this has been done we will be able to produce your student ID card. You will receive your card in your welcome pack which you will collect upon your arrival at Sussex. If your ID card is not in your welcome pack, please come to the ISS office; this will most likely be because you have not completed registration.

Can I have friends or relatives stay with me?

You are allowed to have guests overnight in your room on an intermittent basis. This should be for no more than three nights in any one week. However, please ensure that you inform the Building Manager or Porter for your area when you plan to have someone to stay so that numbers can be accounted for in the unlikely event of a fire. You are responsible at all times for the conduct of your guests.

Can I get mail sent to me?

Students are given an address when registering (between 29 May and 23 June), but occasionally this address changes before the programme start. If it changes, they will be notified. Mail is delivered to locked mailboxes, and mailbox keys are issued alongside room keys. If mail is likely to arrive before the student, it’s best to send it via the International Summer School Office, Jubilee Building, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9SL, UK. The residence address will look like this:

Student name
Northfield (Flat x, Room x)
University of Sussex
Brighton
BN1 9BJ
UK

Does the university off a meal plan?

Each ISS student will receive £25 per session on a pre-paid card to use in the cafes and restaurants around campus. On top of this, students are able to purchase a meal plan which ensures that the cards are pre-loaded with a daily spend, allowing you to buy breakfast, lunch and dinner and drinks throughout your time here.

The plan offers complete freedom and flexibility. You can buy food when you like, where you like and access exclusive promotions. Details on how to buy the meal plan will be available nearer the summer. For more information on the food available on campus, please go to www.sussex.ac.uk/catering.

Academic Issues
What classes am I signed up for?

You will receive confirmation of your module allocation by email by May; after 29 May, you can check online and also access your schedule. If you wish to change your module choice before you arrive, or have any questions about it, please email us at issoffice@sussex.ac.uk.

We will honour module change requests if there is space in the class you wish to switch into; otherwise you will be put on a waiting list.

When does my class meet?

The only way to find out when your class meets (and any associated labs, field trips, movies, or other class events) is by using Sussex Direct after 29 May. First you will need to have received your offer letter and candidate number. Between 29 May and 23 June, you should register online using this candidate number - this process will issue you with a Sussex username and password, which you can then use to login to Sussex Direct and see your timetable for both sessions. There will be instructions on how to do this sent in your offer package, which you will receive soon after accepting our offer of a place. We cannot give out information on class timetables before then as the schedule is subject to change.

How often will my class meet?

This will vary depending on the class. In general, science classes will have more contact hours than classes in the humanities and social sciences. Some classes will meet twice per week, between two to three hours per class, while other classes meet three or four times per week. Some science classes have associated labs, and many other classes have field trips and required movie nights.

What do I do if I miss a submission deadline?

Exceptional Circumstances is the University's description of conditions which are sudden, unforeseen and temporarily prevent a student from submitting on time. The Late Submission Policy will apply to ISS students enabling students to submit up to 7 days late for a penalty. Students will be able to submit an Exceptional Circumstances Claim in relation to late submissions only. No claims may be submitted in relation to a non-submission, absence from an in-person assessment, impairment on submitted work and non-marks. There is a no re-sit policy for any modules.

All claims and supporting evidence must be submitted online via Sussex Direct and be supported by robust evidence which corresponds to the assessment deadlines or scheduled examination. Claims should be submitted within 7 days of the first assessment deadline and the evidence should be submitted within 21 days of the first assessment deadline.

What do my grades mean?

Assessment is a source of anxiety to many students, as the system here is rather different from that in other countries. Marks for particular exercises are usually given as percentages but these may be quite different from the marks you would get for the same work at home. In humanities or social sciences at Sussex, most students receive marks in the range of 45 to 75 per cent (science marks may cover a broader range). This is particularly disconcerting for North American students who are used to numeric marks in the 65 to 95 per cent range.When you get your transcript at the end of the summer, it will show the Sussex numerical mark. For North American students we convert this into a letter grade to guide your home institution, and a conversion table (we use the BUTEX scheme) might allay some concerns.

Conversion Table

Contacting Home
How can my family contact me once I have arrived in the UK?

You will have a lot to take in when they arrive, so please do not worry too much if you do not contact home straight away. However, if they are expecting to have heard from you, they can contact us either by email on issoffice@sussex.ac.uk or by calling us on +44 (0) 1273 877556, and we will ask a residential advisor to check that you have arrived safely, and ask you to get in touch with them.

Email: There are computer clusters throughout campus where you can check your email. Some are open 24 hours. Residences are wired for internet access, and there is a campus-wide WiFi network, so you can use their own laptops.

By phone: You will have a phone in their room and your family should be able to call you as soon as you tell them your number. You can choose to buy a mobile phone while you are here; ‘pay-as-you-go’ options, which do not require a monthly contract, are very popular among students. We provide information on this in the Student Handbook.

By mail: You will be given an address when registering, but occasionally this address changes before the programme start. If it changes, you will be notified. Mail is delivered to locked mailboxes, and mailbox keys are issued alongside room keys. If mail is likely to arrive in Sussex before you do, it’s best to send it via the International Summer School Office, Jubilee Building, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9SL, UK. The residence address will look like this:

Student name
Northfield (Flat x, Room x)
University of Sussex
Brighton
BN1 9BJ
UK

Who should I contact about problems?

The International Summer School Office in the Jubilee building, in the heart of campus, should be the first port of call. The University offers a range of support services to students. See the Student Handbook for details.

Travelling to England and Europe
Can you store my luggage?

Sorry, for a number of reasons we cannot do this. We do not have secure space nor are we insured for possible damage. Additionally we cannot accept luggage because of security implications.

What do I do if I lose my luggage during my travels to Sussex?

If you should lose your luggage during your travels, it is best to leave the university's contact details with the airport, train or coach station. Please use the 24-hour reception desk telephone number and address below to ensure someone will be able to receive it once it arrives.

York House Reception
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton
BN1 9QR
UK

T +44 (0)1273 678234

Do I need a visa for England or Europe?

If you are unsure whether or not you need a visa to enter the country, you can find out at www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa.

If you are a non-visa national (this includes students from Mexico, USA, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong amongst other places), you do not need to apply for a visa; you can apply to enter the UK as a short-term student on arrival at the port of entry for no charge (unless you have a criminal record or have previously been refused entry into the UK). You will need your offer letter and financial evidence (see below) in order to gain entry to the UK.

If you do require a visa to enter the country, you will have to apply for a ‘short-term study visa’ at your nearest British Embassy or High Commission, before you travel to the UK. The fee for this will be £93.

When applying for a short-term study visa you may be asked to provide details of the accommodation officer. Please use the following name and address:

Mrs. Charlene Lade,
Jubilee Building,
154b University of Sussex,
Falmer,
BN1 9SL,
UK

T +44 (0)1273 876822

To find out how to obtain a ‘short-term study visa’, please see the International Student Support office advice at www.sussex.ac.uk/internationalsupport/immigration/shorttermstudy or visit the UK Home Office website at www.gov.uk/study-visit-visa. You will need your offer letter and financial evidence (see below) in order to gain entry to the UK.

Please note that you should not apply for a Tier 4 visa to attend the summer school.

How do I get from the airport to campus?

If possible, we recommend that you fly into Gatwick Airport, which is much closer to the University than Heathrow or Stansted. Here are instructions for getting to Brighton from all of these airports. Please note that the campus is located in the village of Falmer, the final destination for train tickets is Falmer station.

From London Gatwick by train
The train station at Gatwick is located in the South Terminal. The journey to Brighton takes between 25 and 40 minutes, depending on the route, and an additional 10 minutes from Brighton to Falmer. Trains run approximately every 15 minutes during the day, with a less frequent service operating at other times. When you buy your ticket at Gatwick you can select a ticket to Falmer station, but you will still need to change trains at Brighton train station. To find out train times, visit www.nationalrail.co.uk.

From London Gatwick by coach
National Express coaches run from both Gatwick South and North Terminals to Pool Valley coach station in Brighton and takes about 1 hour. For more information or to book tickets in advance visit www.nationalexpress.com.

When booking tickets in advance remember to book a coach which departs the terminal in plenty of time after your planned landing time. Passport control and luggage reclaim might take up to an hour or longer at busy times. You might want to consider getting an ‘Amendable and refundable’ ticket, and adding ‘Flexible airport journey’ option under the ‘Add Extras’ tab. This will allow you to amend your ticket at the airport, in case your flight is delayed. If this is the case, you will need to change your ticket at one of the National Express ticket offices located inside North Terminal at International Arrivals or in Arrivals and the lower forecourt area of the South Terminal.

The coach will take you to Brighton’s Pool Valley coach station, near Brighton Pier. Our ‘meet and greet service’ will be available on 23 June between 9.30am-7.30pm, or 22 July between 10am-5:30pm. If you arrive outside of these times we advise that you take a taxi to the University of Sussex, York House. This is where you will collect your keys outside of ‘meet and greet service’ operating times. Taxi ranks are nearby at the Old Steine and East Street.

From London Heathrow by coach
Take the National Express coach to Brighton which takes about two hours. Coaches usually run every hour. The Central Bus Station serves Terminals 1, 2 and 3, and is situated between Terminals 1 and 2; Terminals 4 and 5 are served by their own bus stations. For more information or to book advance tickets visit www.nationalexpress.com.

When booking tickets in advance remember to book a coach which departs the terminal in plenty of time after your planned landing time. Passport control and luggage reclaim might take up to an hour or longer at busy times. You might want to consider getting an ‘Amendable and refundable’ ticket, and adding ‘Flexible airport journey’ option under the ‘Add Extras’ tab. This will allow you to amend your ticket at the airport, in case your flight is delayed. If this is the case, you will need to amend your ticket at one of the National Express ticket offices located in Central Bus Station, and in Terminals 4 and 5.

The coach will take you to Brighton’s Pool Valley coach station, near Brighton Pier. Our ‘meet and greet service’ will be available on 23 June between 9.30am-7.30pm, or 22 July between 10am-5:30pm. If you arrive outside of these times we advise that you take a taxi to the University of Sussex, York House. This is where you will collect your keys outside of ‘meet and greet service’ operating times. Taxi ranks are nearby at the Old Steine and East Street.

From London Stansted by coach
Take the National Express coach (the coach station is located in front of the Terminal building), which takes about four hours. For more information or to book advance tickets visit www.nationalexpress.com.

When booking tickets in advance remember to book a coach which departs the terminal in plenty of time after your planned landing time. Passport control and luggage reclaim might take up to an hour or longer at busy times. You might want to consider getting an ‘Amendable and refundable’ ticket, and adding ‘Flexible airport journey’ option under the ‘Add Extras’ tab. This will allow you to amend your ticket at the airport, in case your flight is delayed. If this is the case, you will need to go to the National Express ticket office located inside the terminal.

The coach will take you to Brighton’s Pool Valley coach station, near Brighton Pier. Our ‘meet and greet service’ will be available on 23 June between 9.30am-7.30pm, or 22 July between 10am-5:30pm. If you arrive outside of these times we advise that you take a taxi to the University of Sussex, York House. This is where you will collect your keys outside of ‘meet and greet service’ operating times. Taxi ranks are nearby at the Old Steine and East Street.

What should I do if I arrive in Brighton before 23 June or 22 July?

If you arrive in Brighton before 23 June or 22 July, you will need to organise you own place to stay in Brighton as the university will be unable to accommodate you. You may find the list of University-approved accommodation helpful.