Starting university is one of the most exciting and daunting times in your life – even more so if you’re heading to the busy Capital for your studies.
Whilst London life can be fast, loud and pretty expensive, you can get one of the best student experiences in the city.
If you’re going to be moving to uni this September, get yourself ready for London life with our guide below.
- Got a place to live?
If you’re planning to come to London in September to start your degree (or you have a change of plans) make sure you pick the right accommodation for you.
See where your main uni buildings are, what’s nearby (shops, cafes, etc.) and where matches your budget. We have four villages in London, three of which welcome students from any university in the city.
- Figure out how to get around
First of all, get a good idea of how you’ll be getting about and to where with an app like Citymapper. You’ll be able to see how long your trips to-and-from uni will take you. What’s more, you’ll also be able to see exactly what bus and tube to get (and when they’re arriving).
You’ll definitely need to get your Oyster card. You’ll use it to travel on the bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services across London. If you’re a full-time student, or you’re on a work placement, save 30% of your travel with an 18+ Student Oyster photocard.
Make sure you’re familiar with the Night Tube before the craziness of Fresher’s Week kicks in (or you dive straight into late night library sessions). Information on the night tube, and bus, can be found on the TfL website. For a cleaner way to get around, use the city’s Santander Cycles for just £2 a day.
- Know where you to eat…
Eating out will be a student luxury wherever you live, but particularly in London. Good spots for some cheap eats include Borough Market, Brick Lane and Chinatown. The Londonist’s Cheap Eats list is a bible for student foodies.
- And where to drink!
Your union bar will probably sell a pint of beer for around £3. That’s a big annual saving when the average in the city is £5-7 a pint!
To branch out, popular student bars include Roxy in Fitzrovia, Bar Kick in Shoreditch (you’ll probably spend quite a few nights out here and in Dalston…) and a particularly fancy Wetherspoons on Chancery Lane…
- Getting to know the city (and not just its nightlife scene)
If you’re keen not to spend so many (or any!) evenings in a bar or club, check out what else you can do around the city. Make sure you don’t miss out on your university’s Fresher’s Week – it’s not just parties, you’ll also be on sightseeing bus tours, boat cruises and much more depending on where you’re heading – check out your union website!
- Keeping fit
Being a student and keeping fit may not typically go hand-in-hand, but staying healthy is important when working hard and living on a low budget when it comes to food. Those cheap jacket potatoes in the Union may taste night but an average of three a week is good for no one.
The University of London Union offers a six-month gym membership to all of their students at just £125. Find out more on their website. Although if you want a gym closer to home, check out where does free trials near you before signing up.
- Getting a part-time job
It might not be the first thing you want to think about. Especially if you’ve just escaped your summer job. But, a part-time job will save you a lot of financial stress. Take a look on Student Jobs and Save the Student for what’s around.
- The absolute golden rule: always stand to the right when using escalators on the tube – you walk on the left.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for directions! Londoners aren’t that scary.
- Never stop exploring the city, even when you call it home!
- Make friends from different universities – there’s a big mix of people and cultures to meet in the Capital.
Or are you already a Londoner? Send us photos of your favourite London spots (and top tips!) on Instagram.