Tips for international students studying in London

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Rachel Yohe is an American student studying Marketing Communications and Spanish in New York. As part of her degree, she did an internship in London. Here are Rachel’s top tips for international students coming to the capital.   

“Start budgeting ahead of time. Sort out what you’re willing to spend on rent, groceries, and living expenses before you get to London. If you have friends coming with you, decide on roommates and work with their budgets as well.
 
If you want to do a work placement or internship, you may also have to spend a bit of money for a work visa. London is an expensive place to live, so check out what areas are cheapest and closest to your classes. 
 
Here is an alternative tube map that shows weekly rent by tube station. There are usually deals for short-term students throughout the city, so keep an eye out as they will usually be half the amount you’d normally be spending.
 
My roommates and I managed to find a four-person flat for around £190 a week in Kensington, which is still significantly cheaper than my on-campus university accommodation in the United States. 
 
This is a great opportunity to take advantage of some of the cheap travel options offered throughout Europe. If you plan on traveling, create a separate fund to cover flights, hostels, and food. During the year leading up to London, I started putting all my spare change in a jar. It added up to $700 (around £525) at the end of the term, so a little goes a long way!
 
Brush up on cultural differences before you travel. Don’t embarrass yourself like I did. In addition, don’t let the folks at immigration checkpoints intimidate you, just answer questions directly and honestly and you won’t have any issues.
 
Be aware of your new surroundings. Adjusting to a new city in a new country can be difficult, particularly when they have different rules of the road. There are different cultural norms as well, so don’t be thrown off when someone goes for a kiss on each cheek when they greet you. Crossing the street will be a challenge, especially when you first arrived and are jetlagged beyond belief!
 
Look for student deals and discounts ahead of time. If you are a student studying at a university in the UK or on a placement, you can get a special type of Oyster card that gets you 1/3 off all journeys. You’re eligible if you’re a student over the age of 18, and can get one by applying here.
 
In addition to the student Oyster, some restaurant chains throughout London and Europe have discounts for students and people under the age of 25.”