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 in London has also greatly increased, with a record breaking estimate of around 44,700 students coming from outside the U.K. So, it’s fair to say that international students studying in London will never really be alone. So, join the multitude of students getting the most out of this truly remarkable city and study abroad in London!
Here are the study abroad in London tips you NEED to know:
Learn the Language
Wait, don’t they speak English there? Yes, they do – along with over 300 other languages! If English is your first language, then it will be easy to immerse yourself in the city and culture, but you'll need to polish up your grammar skills and learn the local lingo. They speak English in London, but there are many words and terms that will be different to you, unless your from a country that speaks traditional British English.
If English is not your first language, there are lots of language schools across London where you can improve your language skills on your own time, but for now, an English dictionary is a good place to start! Or you could just start watching lots of BBC and Britain's Got Talent.
At the end of the day, remember that 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.
Pack a Raincoat & an 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 summers are a bit brighter! Brits are always armed with a few rainy day plans, since there tend to be a lot of rainy days, so the weather never really has much of an impact on their day; you should take their lead as an international student in London.
Another important study abroad in London tip is to pack warm clothing, as this can help keep heating bills down, although some student housing in London does 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 from your "friends" (aka. study abroad advisor, program director, classmates, program provider, or Mum and Dad). However, for real emergencies, why not keep an address book with the numbers for the police, fire department, and hospital? We're sure your host university or program provider can provide you with these essential numbers, but it is up to you to keep track of them! It can also be a good idea to register with a local doctor, so that you can get an appointment if you ever fall ill while studying in London.
Join an International Student Society
Most universities in London will have a high number of international students, and they usually have their own society so they can easily get together, share their experiences, and do activities on a weekly or monthly basis. Joining an international student society is a great London study abroad tip because when you’re in a new country it is nice to meet people who are in the same boat as you. These groups instantly create a sturdy support system for international students in London.
Embrace British Culture
London is a fantastic city, especially in terms of its culture; it is the city's selling point that makes up for its constant rainy weather. Try to experience British culture to the fullest as an international student in London!
If you are living with other students – especially those from the U.K. – share more about your life experiences and different lifestyles, and ask for their advice on what things you should do and see while studying in London. Study abroad in London tips from local students can be some of the best ones out there! Never underestimate the power of the Internet though 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 in London (and you might find websites that highlight student offers or cheap things to do too).
See the Sights
This goes hand-in-hand with embracing British culture, since the culture is exemplified through London's many sights! When you arrive, 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, and then tick them off as you go. Be sure to take lots of photos along the way! You could also make it a bit more of a fun, interactive project with your new local and international friends, by determining actions that must be completed at each one, such as: attempt to make a Palace Guard giggle or make a phone call from one the iconic red telephone boxes. If you get a group together to complete them all, it would make for quite a memorable experience. Studying in London doesn't have to be all about hitting the books; there is much to learn about all around the city!
You're Officially Armed with the Best Study Abroad in London Tips
Now it is time to plan your study abroad trip to London! Don't waste anytime, because everyone knows that London is one of the best cities for study abroad in the world. Not to mention, if you study abroad in England outside of London, there will always be time and transport to make a day trip (this is a MUST!).
If you are looking for more London study abroad tips, check out these helpful articles:
- 10 Unexpected Joys of Studying Abroad in England
- How to Embrace Your Study Abroad Experience in England