5 General Tips for International Students

If you’ve read my previous blog post, you would hopefully have become an absolute pro at socialising by now. In this article, I’ll divulge some general tips and life hacks that I’ve gathered at university so far, so read on if you’re curious to see what they are!

One of the first things that you should do after arriving is to set up a bank account if you don’t already have one. I would advise you to do this ASAP, as banks are typically very busy this time of the year and it might be trickier to get an early appointment. Furthermore, having your bank details at the ready is crucial when it comes to identity inspections, particularly for students pursuing healthcare courses who might need to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check later. It would be wise to consult with Student Services (formerly called ‘The Compass’) in the libraries prior to making a bank appointment, as they’ll be able print off any official documents required for this procedure.

Being such a huge and bustling city, London might seem slightly overwhelming to new inhabitants especially if you’re more accustomed to the tranquility of the countryside. Nevertheless, with the proliferation of smartphones in this age, one can navigate the city quite effortlessly with apps such as Google Maps and Citymapper. In fact, one of my favourite things about London is the ease at which you can roam the city, and with the assistance of such apps, literally nowhere is off bounds.

London also has one of the most well-connected and efficient public transport networks in the world, so whether you’re commuting from the city centre to the outskirts of London or just hopping between King’s campuses, travelling is an absolute breeze. I recommend linking your 18+ Student Oyster photocard to your 16-25 railcard if you have one, as that’ll give you a substantial discount during off-peak hours. If you travel frequently, you could set your card on auto-top which will then spare you the constant worry of your balance running out.

You’ll also be relieved to know that King’s has its own dedicated National Health Service (NHS) centre. In case you’re unsure of what the NHS is, it basically entitles you to free consultations with a registered GP and free primary care as well as emergency treatments. However, as there might be a short wait before an appointment can be made, it is advisable to visit one of the many pharmacies scattered around London for minor ailments such as cold and flu – as a Pharmacy student myself, I can attest to this! Having said that, you should definitely still make it your first priority to register with the NHS before it gets buried amongst your growing pile of chores later on.

Shopping on a budget can be rather tough, but with the help of your student ID and NUS card, everything will seem a lot more affordable! Eateries that currently offer such discounts include Leon, GBK, Itsu (after 3pm) and Pizza Express (on certain days), but just bear in mind that these are only accurate at the time of writing. If you happen to be at the Waterloo campus, I recommend trying out Lord Nelson (near Southwark station) which offers discounts for its award-winning burgers, as well as the Lower Marsh Market for a wide array of international street food. In terms of shopping, you can save some cash in the long run by opting for stores that reward you on your accumulated points such as Boots, Tesco and Sainsbury’s. Most of my shopping is done at Co-Op as my NUS card gives me a nifty discount every single time!

There will undoubtedly be many other life hacks that you’ll discover along the way as you navigate through life at King’s. My parting advice to you would be to just go with whatever life throws at you, be open about accepting new cultures and ways of life, and most importantly, appreciate every moment that you spend here. A few years might seem like a lifetime for now, but before you know it, you’ll be sitting contentedly amongst your best mates in the graduation ceremony, reflecting back on what must have been some of the best years of your life.

Facebook / Weibo Live Streaming of the Strand Campus Open Day on Saturday 24th June

Author: International Team at King’s

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Unable to make it to our upcoming open days? Not to worry! Our #Kingslive livestreams will transport you there!

Starting Saturday 24th June at the Strand Campus, subjects taught by the faculties of Arts & Humanities, Law, Natural & Mathematical Sciences, Social Science & Public Policy and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience will be covered in talks, as well as the opportunity to talk with our academics, admissions, careers, residences & student life teams and have a tour of the campus.

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Making your dreams come true in 2017!

notebook-1194456_960_720Author: Andreea

As the year has come to an end, everyone gets overexcited to dash all that happened in 2016, forget about it, bury it and pretend it never happened. Now people start talking about their new year resolutions, that normally sound something like, “I’ll start that diet, go to the gym every day and really focus on my studies.” Continue reading

Free London: A student’s guide

Emma and Amber did their work experience at King’s and as young Londoners, they shared some valuable advice for future Londoners!

A student budget can make it difficult to experience all that London has to offer. To make sure that you’re not missing out, we’ve compiled a list of the greatest and quirkiest ways to enjoy the city this summer, all for free! Whether you’re walking, skating or cycling, there’s ways for everyone to create memorable experiences that you just can’t put a price on.

  1. Notting Hill Carnival http://thenottinghillcarnival.com/

With over 30 sound systems and 50,000 performers, this major event has been titled the second biggest street carnival in the world after the Rio carnival. In 2016, it commences on the 28th of August with the grand finale taking place on the following day. The carnival celebrates London’s multicultural diversity and promises to be the biggest party you’re likely to find in London this year!

  1. Gods Own Junkyard http://godsownjunkyard.co.uk/

Discover neon heaven in East London. Submerge yourself into the indie atmosphere whilst becoming a spectatGod's own junkyardor of the beautiful neon signs hanging overhead whilst you relax below. Chris Bracey, the artist behind the lights, spent 40 years of his life dedicated to the quirky and upcoming market of modern alternative art, of which the likes of Jamie Oliver and Johnny Depp have invested in.

 

  1. London Skate http://www.londonskate.com/essential-info/

Bring your skates and immerse yourself amongst fellow Londoners with a community skate throughout the city. View London on wheels, from a new perspective, as you speed past the iconic landmarks with the sun setting behind them. The 2 hour tour begins at the corner of Hyde Park and takes place every Wednesday night of the summer months, broaden your social horizons by making new friends along the way!

  1. Vauxhall one Summer Screen http://www.vauxhallone.co.uk/summerscreen

The recently discovered concept of an outdoor cinema has struck our nation, so where better to enjoy a film under the stars than in the world’s greatest city! Held on every Tuesday of July at Vauxhall’s pleasure Gardens, the free cinema promises to be a blast.

  1. Hyde Park

Covering a whopping 350 acres of land, this stunning scenery hosts for cyclists, walkers and rowers all year round. Go swimming in the serpentine or speak your mind at Speakers corner, the Royal Park has much more to offer than at first meets the eye.

  1. The festival of Love http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/festival-of-love

Based along the infamous River Thames, this yefestival of lovear the Southbank centre hosts a festival that encourages you to reach out to your friends, family and loved ones in what is set to be one of the most heart-warming events of the year. It opens with a party on the 9th of July and continues until the end of August. With a combination of arts, music and performance, there’s bound to be something for you to share with those around you.

  1. Top Secret Comedy Club http://www.thetopsecretcomedyclub.co.uk/free-comedy-club-in-london/

Share a chuckle with fellow comedy lovers at this top secret trendy club where the likes of Jack Whitehall and Seann Walsh have previously performed. Look to the website for the latest free gigs, we promise it’s bound to be a barrel of laughs!

  1. The Tate Modern http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-moderntate

Explore Britain’s growing contemporary culture by viewing the modern arts it has to offer. With the newly opened building, there’s never been a better time to visit the Tate. Be inspired by the captivating artwork with a broad range of interpretations of what art is considered to be today.

Budgeting & Accommodation

Author: LeeAnn

As an international student, there are a number of things you need to think about before even arriving in the UK. First, it is important to think about finances and funding. If you are from the USA and you need to take out loans, you might start with FAFSA and decide to apply for GradPLUS loans through the government. However, you may want to look elsewhere because GradPLUS loans tend to have relatively high interest rates. Therefore you might want to consider private banks, such as Sallie Mae, if you have someone who is willing to co-sign your loans for you. Just keep in mind that some US banks will only let you use their loans for schools within the US. If you are from another country, please research other relevant funding options. Make sure to create a budget for yourself that includes tuition (can be found for your course on the KCL website), accommodation and set up, food, transportation, and “fun money.” Fun money can include any club fees, travel, gym memberships, clothes shopping, etc. I would recommend budgeting for a little more than you think you will need since, more likely than not, you’ll spend more than you expect to.

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Next, you should consider accommodation. Living on campus is a good option because it is very simple. After applying, you wait a few weeks and then are told which accommodation you have been allocated. All relevant information, including cost for your budget, is online and relatively easy to locate (more info here) On campus housing takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation and provides you with a cost that includes everything so you won’t need to worry about additional bills. If you decide you want to live off campus, KCL has a number of advisors and links that can help you to get in touch with potential roommates and landlords.(more info here)

It can be overwhelming to deal with all of these things, especially when you are so far away from KCL. However, the information on budgeting and accommodation is all online and there is contact information for advisors if you ever feel lost. As long as you are diligent and take each piece step by step, you should feel confident that you will budget well and find housing suitable for you.