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International Students


Arriving in Cambridge and starting here as a student will have some costs. It’s worthwhile planning for these in advance, so they don’t come as a surprise or cause financial problems.

Some charges are set by the UK government as part of the student visa application, though they will vary depending on the duration of stay. The charges are for the visa application fee and immigration health surcharge.

However, other arrival costs will depend on a number of things like where you are living in Cambridge, where you’ve travelled from and your own lifestyle and preferences. The information on this page aims to help you think about what costs might arise for you. Though each is relatively small, they will add up and are likely to come to at least the low hundreds of pounds.

For undergraduate students, more general information on living costs after arrival in Cambridge is available here. Postgraduate students may also find this useful, as well as the additional information here (postgraduate students should note that additional costs of arriving in Cambridge are not included in your calculated ‘maintenance’ costs).


When it comes to transport, you may have a good idea of the cost of getting from where you are living to the UK, but you should also think about getting to Cambridge once you first arrive. It’s possible that a cheap flight to an airport more distant from Cambridge may end up costing you more.

You may wish to use the ‘Finding your way to Cambridge’ guide which provides an overview of the different ways to get to Cambridge from the main London airports used by students travelling to the UK. Websites such as National Rail Enquiries, for trains, can help you plan and cost your journey. Travelling from Heathrow to Cambridge station, for example, is likely to cost you at least £50. You can also buy tickets in advance online, which are likely to be cheaper than buying on the day. Such websites also provide information about railcards, such as the 16-25 railcard, which might save some students money in the long term.

Coach might be the most cost effective way to travel from some airports to Cambridge. Prices vary depending on which airport you will be flying into with tickets around £10 - £30.

If you need to travel across London to make a connection, a ticket on London Underground costs about £7 between central stations but longer journeys cost more. It can be difficult to get around the escalators and stairs of the underground with large luggage. If you’re in a group and making a short journey you might think about sharing a taxi. You may also need a taxi to your accommodation once you arrive in Cambridge, especially if you have luggage (a taxi to the centre of town is likely to be between £5 and £10 but you may need to pay more if your accommodation is further from the station).


If you’re arriving by plane then you’ll find it hard to bring heavier or bulky items. Sometimes these can be shipped separately but that can be more expensive than buying replacements.The relatively short terms at Cambridge also mean that, if you are on a taught course, you may well want to keep some items at your permanent residence.

Many international students buy new clothes on arrival in Cambridge, at the least a winter coat. This may be because of limits on what they can bring with them or because they need a different wardrobe for the Cambridge climate. You can see prices in the larger UK shops online, but you can also buy from independent and second-hand clothes shops in Cambridge. There is a guide to shopping in Cambridge here.

Similarly, you are likely to need to buy some essential items for your accommodation, whether that’s in College or elsewhere. Things which you may have to pay for include:
•    duvet
•    towels
•    iron and Ironing board
•    cutlery and crockery
•    frying pans and saucepans.

Again, the websites of UK stores will give you an idea of prices.

If you play sport, you might also want to think about the cost of necessary equipment, such as rackets, which may be hard to bring with you.

Lots of students use a bicycle to get around Cambridge, especially if their accommodation is some way from teaching or research facilities or from the centre of town. A cheaper second-hand bike is likely to cost around £100 and some brands and models are a lot more.


You might want extras which help you study. While most students bring a laptop with them, some also like to work with a larger, separate monitor, or their own printer, and buy these on arrival in the UK. You may also want to buy a desk lamp and perhaps a fan/fan heater.


You may need to transfer money on arrival, especially if you are paying your tuition fees. International money transfers through UK banks will often come with a fee at each end, generally in the range of £6 to £10. Some internet-based financial services companies do not make a charge, but may not offer services in relation to all countries or with limits on the amount transferred.


You will need an academic gown to matriculate at the University and probably if you want to attend formal hall or some other functions at your College. A new gown is likely to cost a minimum of £40, but you may be able to get a gown second hand (or borrow one).

On top of your tuition and College fees, or University Composition Fee for postgraduates, there may also be some smaller additional charges associated with your College, such as a kitchen charge. As these costs vary from place to place, you should check with your own College. 

There may be a small cost if you want to join any University societies.