Useful Information

Daily life in the UK

When you go to a new country, you must learn about the laws and rules to avoid problems. Some things might be different from your country in the UK.

Drugs, cigarettes and alcohol

It is illegal to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol under 18 years. Please do not buy cigarettes or alcohol for anyone else. In the UK, it is illegal to take drugs. Please do not take, sell or buy drugs while you are in the UK.

Alcohol is common and many people drink to relax. You can buy alcohol in pubs, bars and many shops.

It is illegal to smoke inside a public building in the UK. You must not smoke in the inlingua Leeds building or in any of our accommodation.

Please only smoke in smoking areas and please put your cigarette butts in the bin. If you drop them on the floor, you can get a fine.

Driving laws

We drive on the left in the UK.

If you want to drive in the UK, you must first see if your driving license is accepted in the UK. Please check with your embassy.

You must have insurance to drive in the UK. If you will bring your own car, you must get insurance for the UK.

In the UK, it is illegal to use a mobile phone while you are driving a car. This includes when you are stopped at traffic lights or in a traffic jam. If you want to use your phone in the car, you must a hands-free set or park at the side of the road first.

It is illegal to smoke in the car with someone under 18 with you.

You must wear a seatbelt at all times while you are driving. If you are driving, then you must check that all passengers under 14 years old are wearing a seatbelt. Small children and babies must be in a car seat.

You can find more rules about driving in the UK here.

Freedom of expression

It is illegal to be rude to someone because of their nationality, race, age, gender, sexuality, religion or opinions in the UK. If someone does this to you, you must tell us, and you must not do this to anyone else.

The UK is a liberal country and open to different opinions. People in the UK are often open about their political ideas, and it is OK to say you are against the government. People in the UK are often happy to talk about politics, so if you are interested in the subject, you can ask.

Family and friends

People in the UK may seem unfriendly compared to people in your country, but this is not true! English people are generally friendly, but we are not very open with people we do not know. For example, it is not common to talk to someone you do not on the bus or in a shop. It is not common to invite someone you do not know to your house. If someone invites you to their house, please do not go if you do not feel safe.

English people are very close to their friends and family. We like to spend time with them after work and at the weekend.

In UK law, anyone under 18 is a child.

It is common for people in the UK to live with their friends.

Housing in the UK

Most people in the UK prefer to live in houses outside the city centre. Because they live outside the city centre, most people travel to work or school by bus or by car. It is normal for people to spend one hour everyday travelling from work to home.

It is not common for houses to have more than one bathroom, so usually all the people in one house share a bathroom.

It is safe to drink the water from the taps in the UK and many people prefer to do this instead of drinking bottled water.

It is not common for houses in the UK to have air conditioning, but all houses have heating.

Everyone in the UK pays council tax when they live in a house. This tax pays for the local community services (like rubbish collection and schools) and facilities (like parks and public areas). If you are a full time student (studying 21 hours per week for 1 year), you do not need to pay council tax.

If you want to rent a house in the UK, you will need to sign a contract. You can choose between ‘furnished’ (with furniture) or ‘unfurnished’ (without furniture). You can find more information on our Accommodation page or speak to us.

Food and drink in the UK

Food and drink are very important in the UK! Like many countries, English people love to eat and drink together.

Tea is a very important drink in the UK. We drink black tea with milk. Some people put sugar in their tea. We drink tea all day and all night, but the most famous time to drink tea is in the afternoon, for a traditional afternoon tea. An afternoon tea is usually around 4pm, and we drink tea and eat sandwiches and cakes. Not many people do this now, because of our busy, modern lives.

Alcohol is also an important drink in the UK. Most people in the UK drink alcohol with their friends as a way to relax. The most common time to drink alcohol is in the evening and at the weekend. All restaurants and bars have non-alcoholic drinks too if you don’t drink.

The main meal in the UK is in the evening at around 6pm. Lunch is usually a small meal and people do not have a long break for lunch.

The UK is very open to different diets and it is easy to find halal, kosher, vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free food in all supermarkets. In Leeds, we have supermarkets from all over the world (the Middle East, Turkey, China, Thailand, Eastern European and so on) so you can find food from home.

Some traditional English food you should try:

  • A Victoria Sponge
  • Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • A mince pie (this is special for Christmas!)
  • Fish and chips (this is best by the sea!)
  • A Ploughman’s lunch
  • A Cornish pasty
  • Scones with clotted cream and jam

Police in the UK

Police officers in the UK can be male or female, and they often work in pairs. Most police officers do not carry guns in the UK.

If you need help from the police, you can call them on 999 in an emergency (for example, if the crime is happening now). If it is not an emergency, you can call the police on 101.

If the police arrest you, you do not need to answer the police officer’s questions. The police should organise a translator for you. The translator must be a police translator, it cannot be one of your friends or family. The police should also organise a lawyer for you.

If the police arrest you, you must not give them money and they must not ask you for money. They must not hurt you or be rude to you. If they hurt you, you must tell your lawyer.