Opening a bank account

You will need to open a bank account to help you manage your money for day-to-day expenses such as food, travel and entertainment, and also to keep an amount of money safe for emergencies. There are several different types of bank account, but most students choose a simple current account, which allows you to withdraw money from ATMs (usually known as ‘cashpoints’ in the UK) with a card issued by the bank. Some banks may charge to manage your account, so it is best to do some research before you decide which bank to choose. The staff in the International Office will be able to help you with this.

To open an account you will need to take your passport, and a letter from the college confirming that you are a full-time student on the University of Bath International Foundation Year. This letter will show the dates of the course, your local address and your address in your home country. This proves that you are a temporary resident in the UK and so eligible to open a bank account, even if you are under 18 years of age. Your college will provide you with the letter you need and will show you where the main banks are located in your city.

When you apply to open a bank account, it may take several days to complete the procedure, so you should make sure you have enough money for the first two weeks you are here. You could use a cash card, or a credit card, but it’s best not to bring a large amount of cash with you.

Cost of living in the UK

The UK Visas and Immigration recommends that international students allow for £1015 per month to cover living expenses. While living in the UK and studying on the International Foundation Year, you will need to learn a very useful skill, which is how to manage your money.


One of the main things to budget for is food. The college has a reasonably-priced coffee shop and cafeteria where you can buy healthy food, or you can buy the ingredients and cook for yourself or together with other students in the kitchens if you are in shared accommodation. There are several supermarkets within walking distance of the college, and smaller specialist food shops to meet the needs of most students.


You will not need to budget for a lot of text books as the main text books for the courses are provided. There is also an excellent library and study centre in the college.


Bath College is in the centre of Bath, and most accommodation is within walking distance or a short bus ride of the town centre. However, you may want to take trips at the weekend or during holidays so you should budget for occasional longer trips.

Social activities

Although you will be studying hard, you will also have time for relaxing, and for following your outside interests, whether it is sport, cinema, dancing or visiting other cities.

TV licence

You will need a TV licence (£145.50) if you watch live TV programmes (as they are being broadcast) and you are in your own accommodation, whether it is on a TV, mobile phone or a computer. If you are in homestay, the host will already have a TV licence for the house. If you watch live TV without a licence, you could be fined up to £1000. However, if you only watch programmes which you have downloaded or on ‘catch-up’ services, you don’t need a licence.

For more detailed practical financial advice, see the section on Money on the Education UK  website.

Here are some of the things you will need to budget for:- food
- toothpaste, soap, etc.
- laundry and housekeeping
- clothes
- local travel
- phone charges
- entertainment
- social activities
- travel during the holidays
- contents insurance