Communicating with others

Living in Europe | Access to the culture of the host country/language courses | United Kingdom

When you come to the UK you will probably want to stay in close contact with friends and relatives from around the world. There are many ways of doing this, from calling directly via your computer, to posting an old-fashioned letter.

Mobile phones

Several large networks operate in the UK, and there are various types of phones and contract. There are two generic services you can receive:

  • Pay as you go is a top-up phone which will require you to add money to use.
  • A monthly contract is a pre-paid service of varying durations which entitles you to set amounts of free call minutes, texts and data allowance.

Be sure to assess which network provides a service that meets your needs. It is also advised to check which network works best in your area. Consult uSwitch for the latest information on mobile phones.

Internet service

The UK offers broadband connection throughout the UK. You can have bundled packages which include free off peak phone calls. Remember to check whether the download restrictions fit your requirements. Complete research on uSwitch for the latest information on internet providers.

Postal services in the UK

The primary postal service across the UK is provided by the Post Office and provides postal services across the UK. There are post office shops throughout the UK in most towns and cities. The post office allows you to pick up official application documents, exchange currency and even set up a bank account.

If you want to send letters or packages you can choose between using Royal Mail or an independent courier service. They also provide next day delivery services for many packages if needed urgently.

Postage costs will depend on the weight and size of the letter or parcel, and whether you are sending it to somewhere in the UK or abroad. For more information, visit your local post office, or find out more online.

Sending mail abroad

Airmail usually arrives within three days to Western Europe, four days to Eastern Europe and five days for the rest of the world, following the day of posting.

Surface mail is cheaper than airmail but it takes much longer to arrive: around two weeks to Western Europe, four weeks to Eastern Europe, and eight weeks to the rest of the world.

You cannot send letters to Europe using surface mail, but you can send packages. If you are sending heavy packages which are not urgent it may be worth using surface mail.