In 2005, of the total number of 15,780 post graduate researchers registered in their final year, 6,135 were non-UK residents. Of these, 4,070 were not from the EU. There is therefore a large community of overseas students in the UK.
Studying and living in another country can be extremely challenging as well as rewarding. This is especially true if you are working in a second language or if your doctorate is the first time you have studied outside of your own country. You are likely to find a mix of social, cultural and academic challenges to overcome. Thankfully there are a number of ways that you can access help and support.
Many institutions offer international student clubs or associations, either for international students generally or by country of origin. As a PGR you are entitled to join these. Building a support network is likely to be key to your success in your doctorate. There are practical barriers to overcome such as the English language, opening bank and phone accounts and possibly getting the correct visas. Travel overseas to conferences etc. may take more organisation than it would for British students because of visa requirements. Make sure you check on this well in advance. Again your institution is likely to offer advice on these issues through an international or welfare adviser.
You will also need to spend time getting used to the British academic culture if you have not worked here before. Try and notice differences and ask questions whenever anything seems strange. You supervisor and colleagues may never have worked outside of the UK and may be unaware that other cultures do things differently.