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Being an international student in London

Posted: January 13 2022

Fiona, International Arbitration and Commercial Law

Being an international student coming to London to study can be a bit overwhelming – especially if it's your first time outside of your country or at university.

When deciding where to start your study abroad journey, London should be top of your list as London has been ranked No.1 for three consecutive years for the best student city in the world. With international students from all over the world choosing London as their home, you'll be meeting a diverse community here. 

Settling into London

When it comes to settling into London life, it is better to come prepared. Making sure that your accommodation is sorted, have packed for the weather and all of your required documents are ready will make your life much easier. In terms of meeting students like you, you can join groups on Facebook, WhatsApp group chats run by the university, join a sports club and much more! Make sure to attend Fresher’s Week!

When I first came to London, I did not know much about different cultures but living in London has made me understand different cultures and traditions. During your university life, you will be able to make friends from all over the world! London has this unique exposure to diverse cultures which enhances a student’s personal development, as well as professional development.

Managing expenses and being independent

As you can tell, London can be quite expensive as it is generally known to be overpriced! If you like living in your comfort zone, then that is going to drastically change. The tension rises when you get out of your comfort zone, and so does your ability to deal with it. You learn to look after yourself instead of relying on others. It can be intimidating at first, but like most things in life, it becomes natural and easy. I learnt the simplest of skills, such as doing my own laundry, grocery budgeting, and weekly spending, as well as how to cook. I never thought I'd learn to cook, but it ended up saving me a lot of money.

Moreover, as a student, you can do part-time jobs to earn you some money for your daily expenses. This has helped me substantially over the past three years. Getting a Totum student card or a UNiDAYS account will give you access to exclusive offers.

Nightlife deals

London is renowned for its never-ending nightlife, with thousands of trendy venues to explore. Every night of the week, there are a number of events to choose from, many of which are free or heavily discounted for students. London is also known for its musicals and theatre shows. Make sure to join your university’s clubs and societies as they do organise events, pub crawls, parties, karaoke nights and much more!

If you're going on a ticketed night out, try to plan ahead of time because first-release tickets are frequently far less expensive. Check out voucher sites like Groupon or Livingsocial for dining out deals.

Understand London transport services

Even an experienced Londoner might easily become lost in the capital. It's a solid sign that you're a Londoner if you know your way around the Underground. It's also a good idea to have your contactless card or Oyster ready to swipe at the gate.

When you initially arrive and whenever you explore a new part of the city, a simple navigation tool like Citymapper or Google maps will come in handy. As for returning home late, there are lots of night buses, so that’s another option, but it’s always worth setting aside a bit of money for an Uber or taxi just in case.

As an international student in London, there are many exciting avenues to explore as well as many challenges to overcome. I would suggest you make the most of your time and student life.