London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and is a perfect choice for any student wishing to study abroad. The city is home to 45 of the UK’s 145 universities and many prestigious institutions.
If you are planning on studying on London this year, follow our top tips to help you on your arrival in the capital.
- Get an Oyster Card – London is a well connected city and you can quickly get from one end to the other using trains, tubes, buses and the DLR. Conveniently enough, you only need one card to access any public transport in the city.
Oyster Cards can be purchased at all underground stations, most Overground stations and online. All you have to do to get going is get your Oyster Card topped up with funds, using an Oyster machine at a station or at a news agents, and you’ll be ready to travel the city.
One top tip, always remember to touch in and touch out; this will prevent you from being charged an excessive amount for your journey.
- Join your institution’s international society – these societies are there to help and offer advice with anything that you may need during your time in the city. They will also help you to connect with other overseas students who will be just as excited to explore London as you are.
- Show student ID – in London your student card holds the power to save you money. Many restaurants and shops provide students with a discount if they’re able to show a valid student card. So remember, before you hand over the cash always check to see if the establishment provides a discount.
- Buy experiences not things – souvenirs are brilliant, but when it comes paying the hefty price to post them home their appeal soon lessens. London is full to the brim with lots of opportunities such as excursions and sightseeing trips, which will allow you to submerse yourself in British culture and history. Just remember to take lots of photos, these memories will last a life time and are much easier to transport home!
- The Tube closes early – London is a busy city both day and night, however, unfortunately after 12pm the Tube system shuts down for the night, leaving the hustle and bustle above ground.
If you are planning a night on the town, make sure that you have planned your way home using night buses, or splash the cash by jumping in a Black cab. Should you find yourself caught short whilst enjoying yourself and miss the last Tube, make sure that you have downloaded City Mapper. This app will show you the best way home no matter what time of the day or night it is, making sure you end up back in bed before the morning rush hour.
- The best nights to go out are week days –the majority of students in the capital take advantage of cut price drinks deals which happen during the week. So if you fancy a boogie, take a look at which venues play your favourite type of music in the week and head on over – just don’t forget to set your alarm for your morning lecture!
- Ask locals for tips – despite the stereotype, Londoners are pretty friendly people. If you are looking to find some hidden gems and an opportunity to get away from the tourist track, ask a London resident to recommend the best places to go.
- Buy a new SIM card – this will help you save money both when calling home and when calling local numbers. It is also wise to download messaging apps such as Viber and Whatsapp that will allow you to keep in contact with home for free.
- Find accommodation before you leave – try looking for exclusive student accommodation. Not only will your rent be inclusive of all utilities, but most will also include 24 hour security, housekeeping services and onsite laundry facilities. Not to mention you will get the chance to meet and live with lots of students from universities across the capital.
- Take plenty of day trips – London is a magical city and once you’re there, it’s hard to see why anyone would ever want to leave. But England is a country rich in culture and heritage, which can be readily explored using the country’s transport links.
Take a trip up to Manchester to visit the birthplace of Brit Pop, or catch a train across to Cornwall to see some of England’s breathtaking countryside. Complete your British experience with a jaunt to the bright and quirky seaside town of Brighton – don’t forget to treat yourself to a bag of fish and chips on the promenade.
London is the perfect choice for any student seeking a rich and cultural experience during their time studying abroad. With so much to see and do, make sure you take the opportunity to submerse yourself in the London way of life and take home as many memories of your time in this fantastic city as possible.
Ashleigh Harman writes for Pure Student Living who provide exclusive student accommodation in five different areas across London.