Life in the UK


The University of South Wales is committed to providing a quality residential environment for students to enjoy. Accommodation Services are a great first point of contact in your search for accommodation.

In the various student halls, there are en-suite rooms and traditional rooms with shared facilities to choose from, with a catered option if you wish. The halls are either based on the campus, or close by, with easy access to all other facilities. A fast internet connection is in each room and included in the rent. A team of Resident Tutors oversee the welfare and discipline of residents, ensuring student halls are a safe and pleasant environment to live in.

Many students live in properties owned by private landlords. Accommodation Services can help you find somewhere to live and, if necessary, help you with any accommodation-related problems during your time here. The student population is our main client group and we have your welfare at heart, regardless of whether you live in halls or private accommodation.

Please contact the Treforest based International Accommodation Officer if you have not made accommodation arrangements or if you need advice, or even if you simply want to discuss your living arrangements – they are there to help. Treforest Accommodation Services are located in Glamorgan Court and are open all day on workdays for general queries. For a few weeks prior to the start of the academic year the office is open on weekends as well.

The International Accommodation Officer is available from 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 4.30pm on Friday.

Tel: +44 (0)1443 482040 (plus a 24 hour answer machine)

E-mail: Accommodation Services
Find out more on the Accommodation Services page

UK climate

The British Climate is unpredictable and it can be very wet and cold for much of the year. You will therefore need to ensure that you have adequate clothing: a warm coat or jacket which is weatherproof, T-shirts or shirts to be worn under warm jumpers, trousers or jeans, warm socks, strong shoes and an umbrella.

All University Halls of Residence are centrally heated so you should not feel the cold whilst in your room but, if you do, you can request extra blankets.

For up to date weather information please visit the BBC Website.

UK cost of living

The cost in the UK can vary greatly. As a guide to what things cost in the UK please visit the British Council website

Lots of tips on how to keep your expenses down are available on the Unilife Managing Your Money Page.

Electrical goods

The electricity supply in the UK is 240VAC + 6% and – 10%. You will need to check if any electrical goods you bring can work at this voltage (otherwise you will need to buy a transformer).

Plugs in the UK may be different from those in your country; you may need to buy an adapter plug when you get here.

We would however advise that you try not to bring heavy items with you as you can usually buy these things in the UK.

Telephones / landlines

There are two types of public telephones, one where you put money in and the other where you can use a telephone card. You can buy telephone cards in many shops, at the post office and at the Students’ Union shop on campus.

There are two different rates, one, which is full rate, and one which is “off-peak”. It would probably be advisable to make international calls during off-peak times (usually after 6pm and on weekends), as this will be cheaper. You can check charges with the international operator by dialling 155 before you call.

International Telephone Discount Cards are also widely available, and it’s a good idea to talk to other students to find out which ones they use.

For an introduction to telephones in the UK, information on buying a mobile phone and minimising the cost of international telephone calls, visit the UK Student Life website.

Mobile phones

Many students find mobile phones a convenient way of keeping in touch with family and friends. There are many different companies offering a wide variety of deals, so you will need to shop around.

In order to buy a mobile you will need documents to show that you are a student at the University plus proof of your local address.

The main mobile telephone networks in the UK are:
Virgin Mobile

Please visit the individual provider’s website for further information.

Television licences

If you buy or rent a television, you must obtain a television licence even if you are a student in halls of residence. A television licence can be bought from any post office, and the current cost is £147.00.

The use of a television without a licence carries a large fine. The official TV Licensing website offers a range of information about TV licensing in the UK including methods of payment, moving house and details of television licence regulations.

Personal Safety

By international standards the UK is a safe country, with low levels of violence and street crime. The British Council, the Home Office and the police are working together to make all students less vulnerable to crime while they are studying at school, college or university in the UK and have prepared a guide to staying safe and looking after your health while you are in the UK for international students coming to the UK, containing useful advice and information on personal safety.

You may also wish to visit the Personal Safety section of our site.

Food and grocery shopping

It is very important that in order to keep fit and healthy you eat a balanced diet. The University has a number of places on campus where you can eat, which cater for different diets and tastes. If you are cooking for yourself there are shops and supermarkets nearby where you will be able to buy a wide range of foods suitable for your individual taste. Local supermarkets Asda and Tesco provide a weekly free bus from the Treforest campus.

On Campus

Students’ Union Shop: There is a shop on campus, which sells the basic essentials such as milk, bread and various ready prepared meals.

Supermarkets- Treforest

There are several supermarkets near to the University:

There is a free weekly bus, which you can catch from Trefforest to Tesco and back on Tuesdays. The timetable and pick up / drop off stops are as follows:

  • Wood Road (junction between Wood Rd & Tower St)11.32am
  • Queen Street (spar shop)11.33am
  • King Street (bus stop)11.34am
  • Brook Street (outside University gates)11.36am
  • The bus will arrive at Tesco at approximately 11.45am and will return at 2.15pm

Tesco Express
There is a small branch of Tesco within walking distance of the University campus, on Broadway between Treforest and Pontypridd.

There is a free weekly bus to Asda supermarket from Treforest on Thursdays.

The bus departs from the bus stop adjacent to the Otley pub on Forest Road.

The bus is scheduled to depart by 5pm, but will depart as soon as it is full (arrive early to avoid disappointment). The bus returns at 7.00pm.

There is a large Sainsburys supermarket located on the outskirts of Pontypridd (Treforest side). Please see this local google map

There is an Aldi supermarket close to the large Tesco in Upper Boat which is good value and also stocks a range of German products.

There is a Lidl supermarket just the other side of Pontypridd (walk under the railway bridge and you will find it on your left)

Supermarkets- Cardiff

As Cardiff is the capital city of Wales, students who live here will be close to branches of virtually every major supermarket in the UK (and if not, will be able to travel to one by bus); all of those listed above, plus Morrisons and more. Visit the relevant websites for details of the branches that are closest to you and the Cardiff Bus company website if you will need to use public transport to get there.


Pontypridd Market
Pontypridd is well known as a market town. There is an indoor market every day with stalls offering fresh fruits, vegetables meat and fish. There are also outdoor markets held on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the centre of town (Taff Street) with plenty of stalls offering cheap clothes, materials and all sorts of gifts, hardware and crafts.

Cardiff Market
Cardiff indoor Market is located in a central location on St Mary Street. There are various stalls selling a range of produce from fresh fish, meats, fruit and vegetables, crafts, materials and second hand records.

Riverside and Roath Real Food Markets
The Riverside Real Food Market takes place on Fitzhammon Embankment, over the river from the Millennium Stadium, each Sunday, 10am-2pm. The Roath Real Food Market takes place every Saturday 9.30am-1pm on Keppoch Street, right beside The Gate, near Albany Road. Further information can be obtained from the Riverside Real Food Market website.

Specialist Foods

There are a number of specialist food stores available locally. For your convenience we have detailed there contact details below.

International Delicatessens

Wally’s Delicatessen
38-46 Royal Arcade , Cardiff , CF10 1AE
Tel: 029 2022 9265
International delicatessen from around the world. Their website gives a fair idea of products they stock.

Continental Delicatessan
160 City Road, Roath, Cardiff
Tel: 02920 452540
Open 9am-5pm Mon- Sat
Stocks Halal meat and chicken, Middle Eastern, Turkish & Iranian products including Turkish sweets and spices. There is also a halal bakery next door.

Mediterranean Sweets
141 City Road, Roath, Cardiff
Open 10am – 6pm Tue-Sat
Sells Mediterranean sweets, breads and falafel.

The New York Deli
20 High Street Arcade, Cardiff
Tel: 029 2038 8388
Open 9am – 5pm every day
The New York Deli serves a variety of (large!) American style food and savoury items as well as sandwiches, cakes, pastries and cold drinks. Pavement seating is also provided.

Halal Food

Zem Zem Continental Market
12-14 Wyverne Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF4 4BH
Tel: 029 2066 4594
Open 10am- 8pm every day
Large shop which stocks Arabic, Asian, African & Mediterranean Foods.

Al Sheemal
15 Salisbury Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF2 4AA
Tel: 029 2034 5866
Open 10am- 8pm every day
Stocks Middle Eastern foods, all types of lentils and spices, Asian & African products. Fresh halal meat is delivered daily.

Shop Right
28-30 City road, Cardiff
Tel: 029 2048 0003
Open 8am-11pm Mon- Sat, 9am-10.30pm Sun
Stocks a large selection of Asian spices, rice, and other products. Also contains a halal butchers.

Al-Islah Food Company
52 Tudor Street, Riverside, Cardiff, CF11 6AJ
Tel: 029 2038 8311
Open 10am- 6pm every day
Halal meats and poultry and frozen fish from Bangladesh, Pakistan Burma and Thailand. Indian spices, fruit & vegetables

Halal Takeaways

Forest Takeaway
63 Park Street, Treforest
Tel: 01443 404440
Open 5pm- 11pm every day
Fast Food- Pizzas*, kebabs, burgers & fried chicken *Certain Pizza toppings are not halal- please ask staff for details
Free home delivery in the Treforest area

Uni Takeaway
102 Wood Road, Pontypridd
Tel: 01443 405999
Open 4pm – 2am every day
Halal fastfood and takeaway, open till late with home delivery available in the Treforest area

There are also numerous other takeaways in Cardiff- many of which are on City Road in Roath or in and around St Mary’s Street in the city centre. Some examples are:

Italiano’s Pizzeria
152 City Road, Roath, Cardiff
Tel: 029 2046 4600
Open 1pm till late every day
Fast, fresh and free home delivery service in the Cardiff area (* subject to a minimum order of £10.00)
Pizzas, burgers, kebabs, fried chicken
Offers a 10% student discount

Chicken Cottage
108 St Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1DX
Tel: 029 2034 4597
Open 11am- 12 midnight every day
Fast Food – several different chicken meals offered

Suppliers of European Food and Products

Madame Fromage
21-25 Castle Arcade, Cardiff City Centre, CF10 1BU
Tel/ Fax: 029 2064 4888
Open Monday- Fridays: 10-5.30, Saturdays: 9.30-5.30 and Sundays: 12-5

A specialist delicatessen and cheese shop providing preserved produce which has been imported directly from France. You can choose from a wide range of regional French cheeses (including Raclette, Reblochon, Brie do Meaux, Comte, Ossau Iratsy, Eppoise, Munster, Foume D’ambert), French style breads, tartiflette, cassoulet, a selection of rilletes, saussicon sec, French vinaigrettes, ciders, wines, liquers and syrups. A complete product list can be downloaded from their website.

There is also a café which offers a wide ranging menu, including classic French dishes such as cassoulet, fougasse, homemade tartlettes and soups, galletes, crepes, and a grilled French goats cheese salad.

15 Splott Road, Cardiff
Tel: 029 2049 5070
Open 10am-9pm Mon & Wed–Sat, CLOSED TUESDAY
Suppliers of gourmet foods and fine wines from around the world, Portuguese fayre a speciality.

Inmas Continental Stores
152 Penarth Road, Grangetown, Cardiff, CF11 6NJ
Tel: 029 2038 8303
Open 9am-6pm Mon- Sat
Family run delicatessen specializing in Spanish food such as paella, Spanish omelettes and fabada (stew from Northern Spain). Also stocks tinned and dried foods and fresh hot and cold drinks.

Polski Sklep
87 City Road Road, Cardiff
Stockists of a good selection of Polish and Eastern European foods and other products. Also contains a noticeboard where you can advertise to other Polish people frequenting the shop.

Specialised Indian Vegetarian food

57/59 Lower Cathedral Road, Riverside, Cardiff
Tel: 029 2037 2947
Open 11am-8pm every day
Specialised store for spices, pickles, fresh fruit and vegetables, rices, lentils, papadums and lots more, plus restaurant selling snacks and drinks

Vegetarian Food Studio
115-117 Penarth Road, Cardiff, CF11 6JT
Tel: 029 2023 8222
Open Tues to Sun 10.30am to 10pm
The Vegetarian Food Studio have developed over the years a reputation for serving high quality vegetarian food (eat in or takeaway) at value for money prices. All cooked meals can be adjusted to meet your tastes, whether you like your food mild or hot, with onions and garlic or without.

Suppliers of African food and products

Afro-Ethnic Continental Ltd
209 City Road, Roath, Cardiff
Tel: 029 2046 1914
Open 10am-7pm Monday- Saturday
Ethnic Continental foods, African books, music and films, fabric designs, Afro/ European hair pieces, international phone cards, and much more!

Lambe Stores Ltd
98- 100 City Road, Roath, Cardiff
Open 8am- 10pm Monday- Sunday
Telephone 029 2048 0779
African and continental fresh and packaged foods.

Suppliers of Chinese food and products

Eastern Chinese Supermarket
26 Tudor Street, Riverside, Cardiff
Tel: 029 2039 7148
Open 10am- 6pm every day

China Supermarket
26 Tudor Street, Riverside, Cardiff
Tel: 029 2037 7599
Open 10am- 6pm every day

If you find out of any other suppliers of food from around the world that are not already included on this page please contact us so that we can add to this list.

Tips about eating/ drinking in the UK

  • It is safe to drink water from the taps in this country
  • Foods will be labeled if they are suitable for vegetarians/ vegans
  • Many foods will contain nuts. If this is the case then it will be mentioned on the product label

Tips on how to spend less money on your food shop

Some ideas about possible ways to reduce the amount of money you spend on eating and drinking:

  • Eating in school or university canteens will usually be cheaper than commercial cafes or restaurants
  • Cooking for yourself will be cheaper than buying ready-made meals
  • When travelling, consider taking some snacks or a picnic with you
  • Eating local and seasonal food is cheaper; it may be more expensive if you try to eat in the same way as in your home country
  • It is usually cheapest to buy food from a large supermarket
  • When you pay for your shopping in a supermarket and pay using a debit card (such as Switch), you may be asked, “Would you like some cash back?” Cash back is just a way of obtaining money, equivalent to using a cash machine.

Some ideas about ways to save money for regular food shopping:

  • If you use the same supermarket regularly, you should apply for its loyalty card; show this each time you shop to collect “points” which can later be used to buy things.
  • Check “best before” or “use by” dates to make sure that you don’t waste food.
  • Supermarkets may sell fresh food cheaply if it is close to its “use by” date, especially just before a day on which the shop is closed.
  • Goods sold using the supermarket’s own label may be cheaper than branded goods, and the quality is often similar.
  • Supermarkets often have special offers such as “two for the price of one”. You can find details on their websites.
  • It is often cheaper to buy larger packs than individual portions. You may want to shop together with a friend and split larger packs between you.
  • Fruit and vegetables are usually cheaper and fresher if bought from a market or at a greengrocer rather than from a supermarket.