What to pack?

‘Don’t over pack!’ is one of the most common responses whenever we ask students for the advice they would give for those about to arrive on campus for the first time. 

It can be tricky to know what you might need and what you should bring with you, so this is definitely a decision that shouldn’t be based on ‘what more can I cram into the car/suitcase?’ So with this in mind, listen to the voice of experience as our students and staff share their top tips so you can save yourself the pain of trying to squeeze in a second food dehydrator… 

Aleena, Psychology student and Liane, English Language and Linguistics student – ‘make a packing list’ 

Aleena: ‘Making a list would be useful, as I found I missed out [packing] a lot of essentials and had to spend money buying things I already had at home.’ Fortunately, we have a packing list to help get you started but another piece of advice is to ‘pack boxes so items related are put together (e.g. kitchen, bedding, bathroom etc.)’ says Liane ‘this makes unpacking quicker and easier’. 

Student unpacking in bedroom

Laura, from our Accommodation Team – ‘check what’s already in your room’ 

‘Know what’s already included [in your room/accommodation] to avoid wasting valuable space by packing duplicates. You can check what is in your Canterbury or Medway bedroom online.’ 

Omar, Architecture student – ‘don’t forget the essentials but prioritise things you can’t easily buy’ 

‘Bring your chargers and double check on things that you need to use every day, such as soap, as it’s easy to forget. But don’t worry too much about these as you can literally get them from anywhere, just mainly bring the things that aren’t easily bought or replaced if you need them.’ 

Sam, from our Housekeeping Team – ‘know your bed sizes’ 

‘Aside from forgotten passports or driver’s licences, this is one of the most common mishaps for new students. There are different bed sizes across the rooms on campus (and in private accommodation) so don’t buy any bedding until you have accepted your room offer, and double checked the bed size online so you know which size sheets to buy. Some folks have trouble getting hold of sheets for the 7ft beds, but a king size flat sheet will fit.’ 

Bed sizes from standard single to XL double

You can find out what size bed is in your room online. 

Phil, from our Catering Team – ‘don’t pack the kitchen sink’ 

‘Just bring enough to get you started as you may want to go in with your flatmates for to buy some items. If you live in accommodation with a meal plan you shouldn’t need anything beyond your basic crockery and cutlery, as kettles are provided. If you’re going to live in self-catered accommodation we suggest just buying a set of crockery and cutlery for yourself, plus food storage containers and basic pots and pans.’ 

Student and parents unloading car

Beth, History and Social Anthropology student – ‘make it home’ 

‘The best bit of advice was to bring decorative items. Strings of lights, small potted plants for the windowsill or desk, photo frames with silly, happy photos, blankets and pillows, etc. It makes the room that bit more comforting and homely and can help with the homesickness.’ 

Ella, Wildlife Conservation student – ‘bring things that remind you of home’  

‘Bring as many things that remind you of your home. Bedroom ornaments or just things, and bring white tack and printed photos and put them up all over your room.’ 

Kent Union officers sitting on deckchairs chatting

Harry, Psychology with Clinical Psychology student – ‘someone else will have what you’re looking for’. 

‘Don’t stress about forgetting things and feeling like you need to pack every little thing – someone else will have what you’re looking for and will let you borrow it! Also, there is a shop on campus and everything you need can be found in Canterbury.’ 

Of course, there are also some things you should 100% not be bringing. You can probably guess these but anything with a naked flame, (such as candles, incense, joss sticks, oil burners, barbeques, or smoking paraphernalia) is one to avoid. Cars, mini-fridges, adhesive strip lights, heated airers, multi-way cube adaptors and pets are some of the other items featured on the prohibited items list. 

Our Canterbury Arrivals and Medway Arrivals pages are full of useful info to help get you ready to arrive at Kent including more info on what to bring (Canterbury and Medway editions). Plus we’ve got more advice from previous students coming your way, including tips for settling in, so keep an eye on the Accommodation Twitter and Facebook pages for all the latest blogs and useful information before you arrive. 

We look forward to welcoming you to Kent soon! 


Student presenting

Global Entrepreneurship Week: Celebrating our student entrepreneurs

What drives entrepreneurs and their ambitions, and the realities of starting a business were under the spotlight in ASPIRE as part of events marking Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2023 (13-17 November).

Students and graduate entrepreneurs came together to mark the worldwide event which had the theme ‘Entrepreneurs Thrive Here’ and promoting Inclusive Entrepreneurship, encapsulated by the GEW UK 2023 strapline: ‘Access All.’

On Wednesday 15 November, ASPIRE-supported students and graduate business owners took part in a dynamic panel discussion sharing their experiences.

The panel included Kent Business School graduates, Toufan Bracke and Rens Van Steenes, founders of Pomme de Frere, a street food business offering authentic Belgian frites.

They were joined by Munya Mwaijumba, a Journalism student and founder of the online beauty platform – Glimmer – which is connecting independent hairdressers with customers – and Ike Dhave, a KBS student and founder of the streetwear brand – Playhard.

ASPIRE Project Officer, Artur Slowinski, hosted the event, guiding entrepreneurs to share their stories and insights with the audience of fellow students. They delved into topics such as developing sustainable business ideas and turning them into reality.

Toufan emphasised the importance of entrepreneurial mindset, sharing how their venture was born out solving a gap in the market for evening food in St Andrews. He said: “There is nothing more rewarding than the feeling when we charged our first customer one pound”.

Munya advised aspiring entrepreneurs to start working on a business venture as early as possible, adding: “there is always something to do when you’re an entrepreneur, start as early as possible as you don’t have much on”.

Ike highlighted the importance of strong social media presence, explaining: “We launched our business without even having a physical product, thanks to the successful social media campaign”.

Following the panel discussion, ASPIRE hosted the weekly Business Start-Up Journey workshop. The ASPIRE’s programme is designed to grow and develop entrepreneurial skills. The journey ends with an exciting pitching competition on 20 March 2024. Discover more about the Business Start-Up journey.

Group of students by car on farm field with food they have gleaned

Right to Food Uni: how to get involved

Everyone has the right to healthy, affordable and sustainable food. It should be a universal right irrespective of who you are and what your circumstances are.

The University of Kent has committed to being a Right to Food University – the first in the world. It is a commitment to bring everything the University does – its research, teaching, our students and staff, catering and everything else we do – to support the Right to Food and to make a real difference, on our campus, in our communities, across our region, the UK and internationally.

How to get involved:
Students are central to this work and we would like to invite all students who might be interested in the Right to Food to come along to the following:

  • Gleaning event on Thursday 23 November at 17:00 in Woodys
    Get hands on with  Kent’s Right to Food initiative by joining the Kent Gleaning collective. As well as reducing food waste and helping distribute fresh produce to those in need, you’ll get some fresh air, meet new people and earn employability points through volunteering. Come along to this event to hear more about gleaning in general and how you can become a volunteer with the Kent Gleaning Collective!
  • Right to food info event on Tuesday 28 November in Templeman (TS1) at 16:00
    Hear about the initiative, find out how you can get involved and a free meal and drink in the Gulbenkian afterwards. To book your place email s.bloor@kent.ac.uk

Learn more about the Right to Food initiative.

Two students walking into the medical centre

Reminder: have you had your vaccines?

Infectious diseases can spread easily at unis so make sure you’re up to date with your vaccines and aware of the common signs and symptoms of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia.

If you have missed one or more vaccines, make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

After arriving at university it is important you register with the local GP surgery, who will also be able to advise regarding your vaccinations. We have a GP surgery on the Canterbury campus you can register with.

Advice and information is available on the NHS website:


Students, staff and alumni involved in the Disability History Month project

Introducing Disability History Month 2023

Disability History Month (16 November – 16 December 2023) is an annual event that aims to promote acceptance of disabilities (physical, mental, visible and hidden) and champion change to ensure that all people have fair and equitable access to opportunities and services. 

At Kent, we use the month as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the services we have available, ask students to tell us what is missing, and encourage open and honest conversation to raise awareness and challenge assumptions.  

The national theme for 2023 is Children and Young People, with a focus on the experience of disablement amongst children, young carers and young people in the past, now and what is needed for the future. For many of our students, this will be a recent experience and something that may have been positive, or negative. 

Barriers caused by society 

For a long time, society operated under the assumption that the barriers experienced by people with disabilities were caused by the limitations that their bodies and minds placed upon them (the Medical Model of Disability) and the only way to overcome these was to treat the person rather than consider how to remove the barrier.

The fact that society itself may pose a barrier for people with disabilities was not a concept that was widely considered until the Social Model of Disability was created. This model, first expressed by Kent Academic Mike Oliver, says that disability does not come from the physical or mental limitations imposed by a person’s body or mind, but rather by the limitations and barriers inflicted by society around it. These barriers could be physical (lack of drop curbs or ramps), institutional (jobs that do not adapt to the needs of people with disabilities), structural (lack of pathways for diagnosis at a young age), societal (attitudes towards mental health), or political (lack of investment in social care or individual welfare). All of these factors contribute to a society that puts barriers in place for people with disabilities. The model also supports the concept that if you remove barriers for people with disabilities, many other people also benefit (for example if you put a ramp in, a wheel chair user can easily access a building, but so can someone pushing a buggy, using a walking stick, or with a twisted ankle).

Another model is the Psychosocial Model which, like the Social Model, believes that society imposes restrictions on people but also acknowledges that some conditions do benefit from medical interventions and by adopting both approaches you offer people with disabilities the best opportunities to succeed. In short, making society more accessible for people with disabilities ensures that it is more accessible to all.

What’s on at Kent 

At Kent, Disability History Month is organised by both the University of Kent and Kent Union. Events are open for staff and students and the vast majority are free. See the full list of events. 

Key events include the virtual exhibition of Disability History at Kent, where you can see the evolution of support for people with disabilities from the earliest days of the University right up to present day. 

There is a bookmaking workshop being run by Stella Bolaki, British Sign Language lessons, the Accessibility at Kent: Empowering Students to Learn, Work and Grow workshop, run by Student Support and Wellbeing, Careers and Employability Services and Kent Union and is your one stop shop to finding out everything at Kent that can support you, and the Neuro-Insurgence Open Mic Night, plus more.  

Please check individual event listings for accessibility information. If you have any queries about the accessibility of any of our events for Disability History Month please email StudentEDI@kent.ac.uk.


We are committed to ensuring that all students and staff are supported at Kent, and are able to study and work to their fullest potential. We also take discrimination, harassment and bullying extremely seriously. If you feel that you have been subjected to any form of bullying or discrimination due to a disability, mental or physical, visible or invisible, please do report it via the Report and Support tool. This will trigger an investigation and support for you, although you can do report anonymously if you prefer.  

Look out for more blog posts and information over the course of the month, and we hope you enjoy Disability History Month. 

If you have any comments or feedback about this month’s activity, or any other History Month or equality, diversity or inclusion related activity, please do email EqualityandDiversity@kent.ac.uk 

Watch the latest iCSS cybersecurity video for online safety

The University of Kent’s Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS) is ramping up their efforts to keep everyone in the know about the growing risk of cyber security in our highly digitized world with their latest animated video above, “Why does cyber security matter for everyone?”

This is the second animated video in the series, following “How to be cyber superhero”, which was released earlier this year for Safer Internet Day. 

The new video was produced by iCSS Director Professor Shujun Li and Science Animated (SciAni), a company dedicated to scientific communication with the public. A team of iCSS researchers also contributed to the project.

As the UK Government recognized Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education with a Gold award, iCSS is committed to promoting cyber security and online safety for all students and staff at the University of Kent. They recently launched a Moodle e-learning space called “Cyber Security: Training, Awareness and Engagement for All Students” and the Kent & Medway Cyber Security Student Society (KMCS3), both aimed at educating students from all subjects about cyber security. More initiatives are in the works, so keep an eye out on iCSS’s website and social media accounts for updates.

Santander Scholarships

Not long left to enter! 10 chances to win £1,000

Register with the Santander Scholarships programme by 20 November for chance to win £1,000!

10 Kent students will win £1,000 for simply registering online with Santander’s Scholarship programme. Through the programme you can:

  • Apply for scholarships and grants
  • Gain work experience
  • Learn the skills graduate employers want

Register now! 

Students working at computer

Events roundup: 13-19 November

Find out what’s on this week.  Disability History Month starts on Thursday, and it’s also Transgender Awareness Week.

Monday 13 November: Support session and dodgeball

Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) are running a support session for students affected by the recent terrorist attacks in Israel and ongoing war and humanitarian crisis in Gaza. This is a drop-in session taking place from 13:00-14:00 on Monday, upstairs in Locke Building near the Coop, staffed by a mental health adviser and counsellor from SSW. All students are welcome.

On Monday afternoon you can join the ResLife Ambassadors for a fast-paced game of dodgeball in the Sports Centre. With the added inclusion of inflatables, it’s dodgeball with a difference!

Tuesday 14 November:  VC Question Time, navigating the job market as an international student and designing a good research proposal

Do you have a question for your Vice-Chancellor? Get your free student ticket for VC Question Time on Tuesday from 13:00-15:00 in the Colyer-Fergusson Hall in Canterbury.

Are you an international student? There’s lots of careers events for international students this week including a session around navigating the job market as an international student on Tuesday lunchtime.

If you’re a PG student and you are looking into writing a research proposal for a PhD project, join this workshop on how to design a good research proposal.

Wednesday 15 November: Therapy Dog, wild your wellbeing and PG Open Event

Take a break with Coco the therapy dog, a certified Pets as Therapy dog with Pause for Paws in Nexus, Templeman Library. Coco is very friendly, calm and loves to be fussed over.

Wild your wellbeing on Wednesday afternoon – join this seasonal crafting session at Kent Community Oasis that makes use of natural materials to create mindful creations. The session is complimented by guided discussions on a range of wellbeing topics.

Are you considering postgraduate study? Book a place at our Postgraduate Open Event to find out more about our courses, meet staff and postgraduate students and to find out how Kent can help you make your ambition count. Plus, you can find out about scholarships including some that are exclusively for Kent alumni!

Thursday 16 November: Spotting trends and relaxation session (both Medway)

Find out how to do market research and spot trends at this in-person Business Start-Up Journey session at the Medway campus. You can also enjoy free pizza at the session!

Treat yourself with a soothing 15-minute massage or a gel manicure at The Hub. These relaxation sessions are first come first served so be quick!

Friday 17 November: UV games (Medway) and board games evening

Have fun playing UV Games – badminton and table tennis edition at The Hub. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a casual enthusiast, the UV ambiance adds a fun twist.

Join your ResLife Ambassadors for an evening of board games and puzzles in Keynes. A wide range of games and puzzles are available to choose from.

See more student events.


  • There’s only one week left to sign-up with Santander’s Scholarships programme online for the chance to win £1,000! 10 Kent students will win so sign up now.
  • The Annual Student Success Expectations Survey is now open to all students. The Student Success Team want to understand what you hope to achieve during your time here and how we can best support you. There’s a chance to win a £300 amazon voucher if you complete the survey.
  • Kent 2030: Help us bring together our next five-year plan for the University. We’re looking into big changes (from 2025 academic year) which include making it easier to fit study around other activities and making sure we build in better links with industry in our courses. Find out more and give feedback
  • Flexible casual paid role – become a Umii ambassador. We’re partnered with Umii, an app to help you make friends with other students at Kent.

See more student opportunities.


Transgender Pride Flag

Transgender Awareness Week, 13-19 November

Did you know that one in every hundred students in our Kent community has said that they identify as transgender or gender non-conforming? However we suspect this number might be much higher.

13-19 November is Transgender Awareness Week, which aims to:

  • raise awareness of the experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming people
  • share stories of transgender people in our society
  • advance advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community.

Recent figures show that the number of UK students who define themselves as neither male nor female has more than doubled in the last two years. LGBTQ+ rights charity Stonewall explains that people are becoming increasingly confident to be themselves, thanks to more social acceptance and visibility of different sexual and gender identities.

The big impact of small actions

At Kent we hope to further our inclusive community, eradicate prejudice, and support one another.

On this subject, Lynne Regan, a senior member of the Student Support and Wellbeing team on the Medway campus, who also recently completed her Doctorate on the experiences of trans students at uni, explains how small actions of recognition and awareness of trans students can have a big impact:

“Rainbow lanyards are available for staff and students from most college and library receptions at Canterbury and Medway. Designed around the ‘Inclusion Flag’ which incorporates the Pride rainbow flag with pink, blue, brown and black representing the trans community and people of colour within the LGBT+ community. Wearing the lanyards shows students that they can ‘bring their whole selves’ to you without fear of judgement or an unsupportive reaction. One of the interview participants in my study stated “I love that many of the lecturers wear these lanyards with the rainbow pattern on them, which signals to the students that they are LGBTQ+ allies and can be approached… I like that I have someone I can actually turn to very visibly… It makes me feel very welcome.”

“Another thing you can do is to use inclusive language and respect pronouns. If someone has told you the pronouns that they use, then respect this. Use the pronouns they have asked you to use. Do not assume pronouns based on the way someone looks or sounds.”

Support for students at Kent

  • There is a support group in Canterbury that meets twice a month. It is open to trans, intersex and non-binary people at Kent. The group is run by trans/non-binary people for trans/non-binary people. Family and partners are welcome.
  • There are gender-neutral toilet facilities across our Canterbury and Medway campuses.
  • Student Support and Wellbeing offer free mental health support, counselling and peer support groups to all students and have an advisor with specialist LGBTQ+ support knowledge.
  • Check out our directory of LGBTQ+ self-help resources including details of free, confidential, specialist helplines and support group networks, such as Metro, The Be You Project, and Gendered Intelligence.
  • You can also update your gender and preferred name (which shows on your Microsoft Teams account) on KentVision.
  • Have you heard of the Gender Affirmation Fund? The fund supports students who identify as transgender, non binary or gender non-conforming with the purchase of gender affirming items such as binders, clothing, packers, makeup, hair extensions, pouches, Stand To Pee devices, gendered religious headwear or clothing and minor cosmetic procedures such as ear piercing or for managing body hair.

Experienced hate or discrimination because of your gender identity?

You can report incidents of assault, harassment, and hate via the REPORT + SUPPORT tool, with or without giving your name. Even if you don’t choose to request support, by reporting an incident you will help to make the University a safer place for all.

Help us create a university community which belongs to all students, and where all students feel they belong by sharing this information on transgender awareness. #InclusiveKent

Kent sign on campus

Israel and Gaza reflections

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Karen Cox

In recent weeks I have followed the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza with deepening horror and upset. Since the attacks on 7 October and ongoing war since, our thoughts first and foremost have been with our Israeli and Palestinian students and staff with family or direct ties to the area, along with all those affected by the escalating conflict and dealing with unimaginable terror and distress. They continue to be of great concern to all of us at the University.

I have also been listening to the testimonies of Palestinian and Jewish students and staff, as well as many others, and have been greatly moved and humbled by their experiences. The outrage, distress and anger is palpable. In listening to these, our first response has to be to affirm above all the humanity of all victims of violence, terrorism and war; in doing so, we uphold the sanctity of every life in the region and, like others, we call for the space for humanitarian aid and support and, more broadly, a fair and lasting peace.

In these conversations I have been greatly concerned that some students and staff are not feeling safe in the current climate. As part of a large and diverse learning community, we have so much that binds us together, including a commitment to peace, tolerance, freedom of expression within the law, the right to peaceful protest, democracy and of course our responsibilities towards one another. We want to be a place where people can talk openly about their experiences and about the things that matter to them, and be heard respectfully and attentively; these things lie at the heart of learning, scholarship and our lives together.

I am always aware that as a university we don’t have all the answers, but in listening we commit ourselves to learning, challenging ourselves, and to understanding and doing better. I hope this is a commitment we can all make at this time so that we can all have what we need and deserve – a sense of safety and security, the ability to speak out, to protest, to share experiences and demand change, combined with a sense of wellbeing and fulfilment – as we learn, teach and work in a difficult world and at a challenging time.

Finally, I want to underline that there is advice and support available to all staff and students and I would urge all those who feel they need help and support to reach out.

Advice and Support

If you are worried about the ongoing situation in the Middle East then please get in touch with our Student Welfare teams who will advise you on how we can support you at this difficult time. You can also check out our blogpost on coping with distressing events, which outlines support for Kent students, and some advice on ways to manage the intense feelings which can come with hearing about traumatic events.

Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW) are running support sessions every Monday from 13.00 – 14.00. These are drop-in sessions taking place upstairs in Locke Building near the Coop, staffed by a mental health adviser and counsellor from SSW. All students are welcome.

The UK Foreign Office also has advice on what to do if you have friends or family who are travelling to the region at the moment, along with guidance on who to contact if you need advice or support overseas.

We appreciate the strength of feeling generated in both staff and students across the university by recent events. We strive to be an organisation where all individuals feel welcome and supported and take a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination on campus. If you experience any discrimination, please use our Report + Support tool so that we can quickly connect you with appropriate support within the University.