International student visitors

This page contains advice to ensure your stay in Devon & Cornwall is safe and enjoyable. It will help you avoid some of the common problems international visiting students may encounter.


Laws in England may be different from those in your home country. Here are a few English laws that we would like you to take the time to read:

  • You must not carry drugs with you of any kind (unless prescribed by a doctor), or use any illegal drugs including cannabis, ecstasy, LSD or amphetamines.
  • You must be 18 to buy cigarettes or tobacco.
  • It is illegal to carry weapons, including self-defence sprays.
  • Alcohol - you must be 18 to buy alcohol - most English pubs don't welcome under 18's.
  • Stealing - is illegal, you will be arrested and probably sent home. 
  • Vehicles in England drive on the left. Do not walk straight into the road - remember to look right when you cross the road.

Stay safe when you're going out:

Devon and Cornwall are among the safest places to visit in the country, but it's worth reading the following tips on local customs and how to stay safe when you're going out.

  • Find out where you're going and let your host family know, and tell them when to expect you back.
  • Plan ahead - how are you going to get there? How are you going to get back?
  • Always go out with people you know and trust.
  • Always use will lit, busy roads and avoid shortcuts through dark quiet areas.
  • Walk confidently.
  • Walk with friends and never walk alone at night - use a taxi.
  • Don't speak to people you don't know, or go up to their cars - even if they speak to you first.
  • Never take money or gifts from people you don't know.
  • Consider carrying a personal attack alarm but not a self defence spray as these are illegal in England.
  • Put litter in the bin or take it home with you.
  • It is usual to join the back of a queue in England - don't push in, it will make people angry.
  • Don't block paths - if you need to group together, find an area with plenty of space.
  • Never carry all of your money or passport with you and try to carry your valuables, such as cameras, out of view. 
  • Never leave your bag unattended in public places. It may be stolen or treated as suspicious.
  • Be quiet on your way home at night

What if something happens?

If you are assaulted, followed or threatened, go to a shop, a police station or any public building and ask for help. Ask somebody to contact the police for you. Do not worry about language difficulties, we will find someone who speaks your language free of charge. If anything happens to you, do not keep it to yourself, tell your tutor, your host family or someone you can trust.


Crime Reduction Officer
Devon & Cornwall Police, Crime Reduction Dept
Police Headquarters
Middlemoor, Exeter

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

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