Young woman student stretching before exercise

Keeping healthy

For many students, starting university in the UK will be their first experience of living away from home, and it’s important to remember to look after your own well-being to help keep yourself happy and healthy


Eating the right food, and enough of it, is vital for keeping fit and healthy. If you are living in a hall of residence that provides meals, you will probably be offered a balanced diet, but you should still be careful to make sure that you eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables.

If you have special dietary requirements (eg, for religious or cultural reasons) make sure the catering staff know.

If you’re cooking for yourself and it’s new to you, eating healthily can initially require a bit of thought. Most big towns have stores or areas where you can buy food from different parts of the world, so you should be able to find food that is familiar. You’ll also be able to find a good range of ‘Free from’ foods such as dairy free or gluten free, in larger supermarkets.

A healthy diet is one that includes elements from all the main food groups (such as protein, fat, carbohydrates) and vitamins and minerals. You should try to eat something from each of the following groups every day:

  • Bread, rice, pasta or cereals
  • Milk, cheese, yoghurt
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Meat, fish, eggs, lentils, nuts or beans.

It can be fun experimenting with new and different types of food if you have the time, and cooking doesn’t have to be expensive.

As a rule, supermarkets will be cheaper than the corner shop and street markets will be cheaper than supermarkets. Supermarkets often run loyalty schemes that you can sign up to, which will give you discounts.

Vegetables that are in season (ie, grown locally and available without being stored or imported) are usually a cheaper source of food. Look out for recipe cards in supermarkets or on their websites, which will give you ideas for meals and will often use vegetables that are in season.

If you’re not used to cooking, look online for some easy recipes – there are loads of websites that will offer inspiration for cooking healthy meals on a budget.

Check out if your university has any cookery clubs where you can go along and master some new recipes and meet some new people at the same time.
Who knows, once you build up your confidence you might find your own signature dish and want to invite your new friends over for a meal!


Sport is very popular in the UK and the fitness industry is booming. There’s a huge number of exercise classes and clubs in universities and towns and cities.

From activities such as yoga, pilates, ballet and rambling to rugby, five-a-side football, fencing and tennis – you’re bound to find something you enjoy. There’s even a sport called foot golf – which (unsurprisingly) is a combination of football and golf, where you have to kick a football into a hole in as few shots as possible!

Why not check out what’s on offer in your area and try something new. There’ll be classes for beginners (and for those more experienced). What a great way to stay active and meet like-minded friends!

Sexual health

British attitudes to sex may be different from those in your own country. It is often accepted that people who are involved in a relationship may have sex together. Of course, the choice is a personal one. You are entirely free to live according to your personal standards and should not feel pressured to adopt those of your fellow students.

If you do become involved in a sexual relationship, you may wish to consider how you will avoid pregnancy. You can get advice on contraception from your doctor, or from a local Family Planning Clinic (FPC). Your institution’s welfare service will have details of where to go.

Using a condom as a form of contraception can also prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases between partners, including HIV. Condoms can easily be bought from chemists, public toilets, supermarkets and petrol stations.

Find out more about the UK’s National Health Service.

Image credit: Alena Ozerova