Health and Wellbeing

Looking after yourself at university, both physically and mentally, is really important. These pages give you some practical information about what vaccinations you need before you arrive, and where you can find help and support if you need it

Medical care: UK students

New students starting university are considered to be at risk of meningitis and septicaemia so you should make sure you have received your Men ACWY vaccine before coming to Kent. Be informed - know the signs and symptoms.

Make sure your other vaccinations are up to date

You should check with your doctor that your measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccinations are up to date. See NHS vaccinations

Medical care: international students

National Health Service (NHS)

Full-time international students in the UK are entitled to medical care through the National Health Service (NHS). Information for international students on the use of the NHS, the United Kingdom’s state health service is available here.

Immigration Health Surcharge

If you are applying for a student visa for six months or longer, you are required to pay the immigration health surcharge as part of your visa application fee. This fee is mandatory, with the exception of certain exemptions, and you cannot submit your visa application without making payment. Your application may be delayed if you pay an incorrect amount for your stay as the Home Office will suspend your application until they receive the full amount payable.  If the Home Office request a further payment and this is not received within the deadline, then your visa application will be rejected.

Studying for six months or more?

You can get treatment from the NHS from the beginning of your stay. You will not have to pay to see a doctor or other health professional and all investigations (for example, blood tests and x-rays) and procedures are free. You may have to pay for some dental treatment and for medicines prescribed by a doctor, depending on your income. This also applies to your spouse or civil partner and children. Children under 16, or under 19 and in full-time education, do not normally have to pay for any treatment.

Studying for six months or less?

If you are on a course lasting six months or less, you can be seen as a temporary patient at the Medical Centre (Canterbury campus) and a local doctor (Medway campus) but you will be unable to register as a patient. You may not be entitled to further NHS treatment (for example onward referral to hospital services, if required), so you should arrange private medical insurance.

Register with a doctor

You should register with a doctor close to your term-time accommodation. We recommend doing this as soon as you have your term-time address rather than waiting until you become unwell. 

Canterbury campus: Register with the Medical Centre

If you're living on, or within six miles of, the Canterbury campus you should register with the University's Medical Centre, which also has a Psychological Therapies department. 

The Canterbury campus also has a 24-hour (term-time) Nursing Service which offers a confidential drop in service, providing support and advice, treatment of minor illnesses and minor injuries.

Medway campus

If you're studying in Medway, you can register with St Mary’s Island Surgery, local to the Medway campus.

You'll need to complete a registration form to register as a patient and so that the practice can retrieve your medical information. Some practices will allow you to complete part of your registration online, but it is likely that you will need to complete your registration in person.

Support for mental health, neurodiversity, chronic conditions and disabilities

It's important to let us know about any conditions you have, even if you feel you don't need any help just yet. The earlier you register with the Student Support and Wellbeing service, the quicker we can get support in place now, or when you need it in the future.

Boost your mental health

It's ok to feel out of place, especially in a different environment with people you’ve never met before, in very unusual circumstances. You might feel homesick or lonely at first, but these feelings are likely to pass as you adjust to university life and start establishing a routine. 

At Kent there are lots of opportunities to enhance your wellbeing throughout the year, and you can follow @UniKentSSW on Instagram for wellbeing tips, events and and resources. You can also get support from the students' union advice centre. 

If you are finding things tough, you might find it helpful to talk things through with someone from our mental health team, which includes counsellors, advisers and mentors. Seeking help will never be viewed as a weakness, and we have experienced and specially trained advisers who understand the pressures of student life and have helped many people to thrive at university.  

Staying active

Keeping active is a great way to look after yourself, physically and mentally. We have a 'sport for all' philosophy at Kent which means whether you're a complete beginner or an elite athlete, you can benefit from all the activities we have available. 

Free Kent Sport membership

Canterbury: All first-year students and all residential students are offered free Premium Plus membership with Kent Sport. This includes all undergraduate and postgraduate students living on the Canterbury campus and those commuting from Medway. Visit the Kent Sport website for details.

Medway: All first year student and students living in Pier Quays who booked through the University of Kent will have the choice of either a free Premium Plus membership with Kent Sport or a Premier Membership with Medway Park. Details are on the Kent Sport website.

Sports clubs from your students' unions

Remember to check out the Kent Union and The Hub websites for all the sports clubs you can join!

Staying well

It's easy to get run-down during the first term so get organised and make up your own first aid/survival kit: paracetamol, ibuprofen, antibacterial hand gel, plasters, tissues, and any other comfort items that may help, such as a hot water bottle, heat pad or instant ice packs.

Make sure you're eating a balanced diet. Your KentOne student ID card can be used to buy food on campus, and each time you use it you receive a 10% discount. You can keep it topped up online, or you could even ask (nicely!) your mum or dad to add credit.

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