London is one of the most prominent cities across the globe and studying in London can be a dream come true for many international students. But living and studying in a foreign country can be as difficult as it is exciting. Studying in London certainly broadens ones horizon and knowledge. Most students may not find communication a big problem here as English is commonly spoken in London. This vibrant city is an exciting place for a student to acquire global education.
To make your stay memorable, you can adapt to its culture and customs and follow local rules and regulations. But to make your experience here more enjoyable you need to take care of a few points before you leave for London. The important points to be kept in mind are:
Student visa: You need to apply for a student visa well in advance as it is a time consuming process. Also keep yourself updated with the latest immigration procedures as they change from time to time. Contact the university where you plan to study to get answers to queries with them you might have.
Accommodation: Once you receive offer letter from the university request them to give you the accommodation options available for foreign students. Some of the options available are on-campus accommodation, rented flats, hostel, guest-house and paying guest accommodation. Most international students prefer on-campus accommodation, though it is a little costly but you get all the facilities within the campus and you tend to make a lot of friends.
Documentation: If you are thinking of working part time in London while studying, you have to register for a National Insurance number. This will give you the right to work in London. Also check if you need to register with local police as you will be part of the international student community.
Transportation: You need to know the different transportation options available in the city and also the various-routes. The public transportation system in UK is very good so getting from one place to another may not be a big problem but you have to know the cost of commuting, where you can buy the tickets and the different tube and bus routes. Check the Oyster cards which are an electronic smartcard ticket for cost-effective way to pay for single journeys on the bus, Tube, DLR, tram, Thames Clippers, the Emirates Airline and most National Rail services.
Foreign Exchange: You should have some money in pounds when you depart for London and also note down the address of the foreign exchange office nearest to your place or university.
Sign up for classes: As many of the programs offered in UK are seasonal, you need to check with your university well in advance about the commencement of the batches and dates to apply for them. You need to sign up for your classes before you leave for London.
Health Care: The National Health Services (NHS) is the UK’s public health system and provides free medical treatment to British residents. In case you need medical treatment you have to be registered with a general practitioner (GP) in the UK. So register yourself with a GP by giving your name, UK address, nationality and a mention of any health condition that you suffer from (or have suffered).
London Tube etiquette: The Tube is a major presence in London and at the last count the tube consisted of 275 stations with 3,988 tube carriages carrying around 2.5 million passengers a day on 12 tube lines. Firstly you’ll need to remember to stand to the right on the escalators (walkers to the left). Once on the train 'stand clear of the closing doors', they can give you a pretty decent knock if they hit you. When getting on or off the train make sure you mind the gap as this varies from a few inches to a foot at some of the stations.