Prepare for your stay

Improve your language skills

Before departure, spend as much time and effort as possible learning your host’s language and start as soon as you can.

You could enrol on one of the evening courses at the Language Centre. 

Find out about the country you will be staying in 

Find as much information as you can to prepare yourself, talk to other students and be aware of local issues. You will find very useful information on the following websites:

  • - Travel guides from ArrivalGuides. All travel guides are in pdf format, free to download, easy to print and bring along on your placement. These full colour travel guides include pictures and travel maps, information boxes with important phone numbers, taxi services and public transportation details.
  • Foreign travel advice on 
  • How to deal with a crisis overseas on

Passport and visa

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that their travel documents, including passport and visa, are in order and comply with immigration requirements of the host country.

Make sure you have a passport valid for the entirety of your planned time on exchange plus an additional six months after your planned return. If you hold a passport outside the European Union, you should check with your Embassy for student study visa requirements.

Insurance, health and safety

UAL Insurance

UAL has a basic insurance policy covering students going abroad but it is not comprehensive. Note in particular that students are not insured for any activity that is not related to their course or the University.

It is therefore recommended that students take their own insurance for the period they are abroad.

Prior to travel, all students must read the travel cover summary which outlines cover and procedures necessary to ensure all medical emergencies are handled smoothly. Remember to always retain invoices/receipts for all expenditure incurred. You will need to produce these to support your claim.

For more information on UAL Insurance

Health and safety

  • Consider if immunisation is necessary. The decision to get vaccinated is a personal decision and cannot be enforced, however deciding not to be vaccinated when recommended is likely to invalidate health insurance and may restrict travel.
  • Take advice from your GP. If you have to take any medication for any ongoing medical condition ensure that you have an ample supply for the entire duration of your trip. This should be split up between your hand luggage and checked-in luggage in case one of your bags is lost. It is recommended that if you have any preexisting medical conditions they should be disclosed to your host institution.
  • You are advised to have a dental check before you depart.

The foreign and commonwealth office strongly recommend photocopies of passports and other relevant documents are taken and kept separate from the originals.

Visit Fit For Travel for more information.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

The EHIC card is available to Individuals that are UK nationals or who have permanent residency within the UK.  Holders of the card are entitled to access state-provided healthcare in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland at a reduced cost or sometimes free of charge.

Visit the EHIC website for further details about the level of cover that is provided.

The EHIC is NOT an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or the cost of things such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, repatriation to the UK or lost or stolen property. You should also be aware that these cards expire – they are valid for five years so you should check that if you have one it is still valid.

Students who are not UK nationals or who do not have permanent residency but are from a country within the European Economic Area should consult with their embassies to see if they can obtain such a document.

Enrol at UAL 

It is very important that you enrol at UAL before you depart. This is particularly important if your work placement is in the autumn term and you leave before the start of your home college year.

Please consult with your College administration if you have any doubts on the enrolment procedure. Non enrolled students will not be covered by UAL insurance policy.