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6 Things you should know when studying and living in London as a student
London is a vast and sprawling metropolis with a great many things to see and do. Making the move to London to begin studying is understandably a hugely exciting time for students starting the next chapter of their lives in our great capital.
London is brimming with places to eat and drink, exciting things to do, a rich culture and history, a number of world-renowned Universities, famous landmarks and one of the best student lifestyles in the UK.
However, if you haven’t lived in London before, it is a good idea to do a little research before you move to make sure you are well prepared for life in the capital. Hopefully you will have visited the city beforehand, got to visit a few Universities, and maybe got the chance to explore the area where you will stay.
We have put together a list of 5 things you should know about London before you make the decision to live and study here.
1. It’s really quite expensive to live in London
London is revered for being one of the greatest city’s in the world. However, the huge demand to live in London has somewhat defined the greater higher cost of living compared to other cities across the country.
Travel and rent prices are higher than elsewhere as well, so you may end up paying more than you thought for your accommodation. For example, the average rent for students living in London is £110 per week, the cost of a single bus ticket to Uni is £2.40 and the average pint of lager is upwards of £3.60 – so, it can all really add-up.
Keep your eyes open for student discounts because they’re absolutely everywhere in the city, from exclusive student nights in bars and nightclubs to transports discounts, gyms, clothing, entertainment, accommodation and so much more.
Be savvy and make sure you set out a reasonable budget that you know you can stick to in order to cover costs. There are plenty of cheap places to shop, eat and drink too so do some research on those. Save some money before you arrive to make sure you are not caught short when you do.
2. Make sure you get yourself an Oyster Card.
The Oyster card is an absolute godsend for Londoners. It’s what we all use to get around so make sure you get one as soon as you arrive.
Oyster Cards are one of the best student travel discounts you can take advantage of during your years studying in the capital and will save you huge amounts of money from the word go. Without one London can be very expensive to travel around in – for example the price of a single ticket without an Oyster costs £2.40, whereas with an Oyster it’s £1.40!
They can be used on the underground as well as rail services, and busses too.
3. Get your student ID
Make sure you have your student ID sorted before you arrive, and show it whenever you can. A lot of students don’t realise how much money they can save if they use their student ID in participating stores. Many shops restaurants and clubs all offer a student discount so make sure you don’t miss out by showing your student ID.
Student IDs are also known as an ISIC (International Student Identity Card). What is an ISIC card? It’s an internationally-recognised student ID, which makes card holders part of a truly unique club.
Another one to go for would be the NUS Card from the National Union of Students. These cards basically give you daily, weekly and monthly offers on everything from your weekly shop to eating out, travel, clothing, going out and much more – definitely worth getting one of these!
4. Explore and download useful apps
There are loads of useful apps you can download to your smart phone that will make life in London so much easier.
Here are three apps that we have found useful:
- Viber – free messages and calls to anyone else using the App on any device, in any country. Need we say anymore?!
- CityMapper, also known as the ultimate pubic transport app, is great for helping you find your way around the city.
- Uber is also great for getting taxis at a moment’s notice, and you can set up an account so you don’t need to always carry cash on you to pay! Be careful though, the cashless effect of using Uber can run up expensive bills if used to excess.
We could go on and on because there are so many Apps out there to help with living in London as a student. Check them out!
5. Be safe
London is a wonderful city, but there are areas where crime is known to be a problem so try to avoid them, or at least take precautions if you don’t.
Keep an eye on all your belongings wherever you are – pickpocketing, unfortunately, is a common issue. Try to avoid walking alone at night, always let someone know where you are going to be and what time you will be back if you are heading out.
6. Explore the city like a tourist
London is for exploring and there is loads to see and do. Get out there and have fun by exploring all the sights and sounds of the city- and there are plenty of discounts for students! Tower Bridge, the O2, The London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace – the list goes on! Exploring all that London has to offer is what will really make you fall in love with the city. London has a rich and varied history, and there are so many attractions and arts and cultural sites that there really is something for everyone to enjoy.