Tips for Moving to London as an International Student
Have you ever gone on holiday and realised you forgot essential travel items, like your socks or toothbrush, but it’s too late to go back because you’re already at check-in? Or maybe you are an over-packer, bringing far too much that you never end up using. These are my tips and tricks that will make the move to London from abroad that little bit easier.
A SIM card
Make sure you stay connected! If you’re feeling a little lost and overwhelmed, staying connected to friends and family can definitely help ease the nerves. You can buy a local pay-as-you-go in a number of places at the airport when you arrive in London–even at vending machines! Once you’ve settled, you can then get a contract.
Once you’ve gotten your SIM card, had a little chat with your friends and family, you might be eager to head to your accommodation–I know I was. Make sure you have everything at hand to make your check-in as smooth as possible if you’re staying at a student accommodation.
Once you’ve arrived, do the following:
- Unpack your clothes and put up your decorations (to make your room feel a little more homely!)
- Grab groceries, snacks and drinks! Other people who have moved into the accommodation might need to do the same, so as shy as you may be, put yourself out there and ask if they want to join you. This is a great way to meet the people you may be living with for the next year and to make friends. Remember, everyone is in the same boat, so chances are they would be more than happy to join you.
The Local Area
Once you’ve found a friendly face or two, familiarise yourself with your local area; find a supermarket, grocery store, corner shops and pharmacies, as you never know what you might need. For example:
- A small medicine bag, containing: paracetamol, bandaids (plasters), tweezers, scissors and bandages.
- Cutlery and crockery
- Kitchen roll
- And don’t forget toilet paper!
Now that you’ve met a couple people, gotten some snacks and drinks and made your new room a little more comfortable, you should start to do the more tedious but equally important things:
- Familiarise yourself with public transport, figure out how to get to and from the university and other areas of London (after all, there are so many sights to see!)
- Do your research! Remember, now that you’re a student in London there are so many discounts, make sure you take advantage of them by downloading apps like StudentBeans and UniDays.
- Register with your local GP: You never know when you might need them, a really accessible and easy to use app is ‘Babylon at Hand’.
- Register for a student bank account and find out which one is the best for you. If you’re an international student, make sure you read about any extra transfer fees.
By now, you should feel like you’re practically at home in London. If you don’t, go and get yourself a pair of socks and a toothbrush because there’s no doubt that no matter how many things you check off a list or how prepared you are, you’ll always feel a little lost in the beginning and that is just part of the experience!
By Iman Wissanji