London has always been the center of exemplary education. Since ages, people from across the globe have migrated into the city to avail of the richness of knowledge and experience which has few parallels. The student community in the city is large, diverse, and ever-growing. This means you can always find someone to assist you and who understands the culture and can help you adjust as a student here. However, you must not always rely on external help and should prepare for a few things beforehand.
As a foreign student, London might be challenging because it is a world in itself. But, some certain unwritten rules and guidelines can greatly ease the process of settling down. A few of these have been enumerated in this article and could be of great utility to you. So, let us take a look at what we have here.
- The Dilemma of Accommodation
One of the things which worry students greatly is accommodation. It is extremely important to find the right accommodation at the right price—and mind you, it is not easy, even in a city like London where students are nearly everywhere. So, what should you do? First, check whether your university offers accommodation facilities; if so, whether they are reasonable so far as your budget is concerned. Otherwise, you can look for halls, which come with common areas, dining facilities, and often with shared accommodation. If your budget allows, you can go for a flat.
- Set up a bank account in the city
You will lose a lot of money in the complicated billing systems and on foreign exchange charges unless you get a bank account here. For opening a bank account, you will have to provide proof of the address of your home and the present accommodation and a passport among many other things. Because you are a student, you will be asked to render proof of the same. Take advantage of your status as a student because English banks extend many offers to students such as reduced interest. However, make sure that the chosen bank extends these benefits to foreign students.
- Student discounts
Being a student-friendly city, it is unsurprising that student discounts are so widely popular here. Most places would explicitly mention about student discounts in their services, and in case there aren’t any mentions, you should ask about the same. There are many discounts on a variety of items, such as clothing which you can find in the stores of French Connection, New Look, and ASOS. You may want to get a card from the National Union of Students that gives special offers to students.
- Travel cards
If you want to save money on transportation, then you must get an Oyster Card. It is a contactless travel card that is used for various services and is available for underground and overground travel. You should consider adding to your card railcards which can allow you as much as 24 percent discount for traveling in tubes and most national trains in the city. These travel cards will significantly reduce the amount you would otherwise expend on transportation.
- Working while studying
Many international students prefer to work while studying so that they meet finances easily. However, whether or not you can work while studying depends on your visa. The Tier 4 student visa allows you to do it, but there are restrictions as to how many hours you can invest in work. The current limitation stands at 20 hours a week, but it is advised that you look up the regulations to be doubly sure.
- Manners are important
When in Rome, do what Romans do. This is a universally applicable adage, and it applies quite fittingly here in London. London is the capital and the root of English culture. There are etiquettes you are expected to maintain because they are firmly ingrained in the culture. Be polite and thank people for whatsoever assistance they extend and get used to formal vocabulary. For example, when intervening, always begin with an “excuse me”. I know these are obvious but let me tell you that the world is mostly about those who don’t care about manners—and don’t be one of them when in London.