Tips for International Students Studying in London

by Laura Barns

Regardless of whereabouts on the globe you call “home,” as soon as you move to London, it will no doubt very quickly have a special place in your heart. London’s population is forecast to exceed 9 million by 2021 and to be almost 10 million by 2031, according to the census of 2011. The population of international students has also greatly increased, with a record breaking estimate of 44,700 of London students coming from outside of the U.K. So it’s fair to say that you’re never really alone in London.

Join the multitude of people getting the most out of this truly remarkable city and study abroad in London.

Big Ben, London, England

Iconic Big Ben stands behind the British flag

Learn the Language

Wait, don’t they speak English there? Yes, they do – along with over 300 other languages! London is a hugely diverse city so you will most likely not be far away from someone from your native country, should you need any help or just want someone to talk to. If English is not your first language, there will be easy to immerse yourself into the city/culture and polish up your skills and learn the local lingo. They speak English, but there are many words and terms that will be different to you. There are lots of language schools across London where you can learn in your own time, but for now, an English dictionary is a good place to start! 

Pack a Coat & Umbrella

You’ve more than likely heard that the U.K. isn’t exactly known for its amazing, sunny weather, so pack lots of warm clothing to help you adjust to the varying temperatures. Be sure to look up the seasons, and know what the weather will be like when you arrive. The winters are typically cold and grey, though our summers are a bit brighter! Brits are always armed with a few rainy day plans, so the weather never really has much of an impact on their day. Packing warm clothing can help keep heating bills down, though some student houses to rent in London do come with bills included in the rent.

Know Important Contacts

Knowing useful contacts is a really good idea, should you ever need a little help. Why not keep an address book with the numbers for the police, fire department, and hospital? It can be a good idea to register with a local surgical institute so that you can get an appointment if you ever fall ill.

Join an International Student Society

Most universities will have a high number of international students and they usually have their own society where they get together and do activities each week. This is a great idea if you’re new to the country as you will meet people who are all in the same boat as you, and you will instantly have a sturdy support system.

Red phone booth in England

Iconic red telephone booth in London, England

Embrace the Culture

London is a fantastic city in terms of its culture; it is the selling point that makes up for the bad weather. Try to experience it to the fullest! If you are living with other students – especially those from the U.K. – share the experiences of your different lifestyles, and ask their advice on what things you should do and see. Never underestimate the power of the Internet too, as you can find great sites that do all the hard work for you in terms of helping you decide what things to see and do (they also highlight offers and cheap things to do).

See the Sights

You could make a list of all the iconic landmarks that you want to see like Big Ben, the Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace, then tick them off as you go which would make for a fun project - be sure to take lots of photos along the way! You could also make it a bit more of a fun, interactive project by setting yourself little tasks at each one, such as: attempt to make a Palace Guard giggle or make a phone call from one the iconic red telephone boxes. You could get a group together to complete them all which would be a great experience!

Now it is time to plan your study abroad trip to London!