Navigating London as an International Student

Written by Anushri Ganguly

While moving away from home to a new country is challenging, it is also a very exciting experience. Its normal to feel a little nervous initially about how you are going to settle down, find friends and balance academics but there is so much to look forward to! As an international student who moved from India, I would love to share my experiences to better help you navigate your journey. And with London being ranked as the best student city, there’s nowhere better to begin right?

  1. London’s an incredibly diverse city

One of the greatest things about London is its thriving multiculturalism. You will find people from different countries, ethnicities, cultures and speaking different languages all around. King’s too has a hugely diverse international student body which means you will invariably be able to connect with people not only from your home country but also get lots of opportunities to interact with peers from different countries and cultures.

Moreover, there’s nowhere better than London to be if you are a foodie!

London’s diverse food scene means that you can try out a whole lot of different cuisines and there’s literally a host of options to choose from – from amazing street food to independent coffee shops to afternoon tea spots!

Top view table full of food Sharing dinner with friends
  • Balancing academic life

Of course being a student means academics will be an important part of your life, its after all the reason you’ve moved to London. While you may be worried about the different teaching or assessment styles, remember you are not the only one who’s moved to a different country, so everyone will be experiencing the same initial nervousness!

I would definitely recommend attending your programme inductions as you will get a chance to meet your course instructors who will take you through their teaching and assessment expectations. Its okay if you don’t follow everything presented in the lectures, you will have the chance to attend office hours or seminar tutorials where you can review lecture content and ask questions – something that I have found incredibly useful. You may also have some group activities where you can discuss ideas with your classmates!

  • There’s so much to explore in London

One of the best things I love about London is never running out of things to do! There are a lot of tourist attractions and museums located all throughout the capital – including the London Eye, the Tower of London, the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Imperial War Museum. London is of course famous for its parks and sprawling green spaces. When the weather is warm and sunny, there’s nothing better than to go for a picnic at Hyde Park or stroll around Regent’s Park.

And while London is known to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be if you are mindful of your budget. Most of the museums and other attractions are free and have great student prices, so you don’t have to worry about missing out. If you live in one of King’s Residences like me, there will be a number of fun social events and trips planned throughout the year to explore London as well.

London also has a lively nightlife and live music gigs throughout the year.

Not only that, you can also check out famous West End shows or go explore the numerous shopping centres throughout the city! No matter what your interests are, London has something to offer for everyone.

  • Travelling around the city

London’s extensive tube network means that it is very well connected. They are the easiest and quickest way to get around London. I would definitely suggest you get an Oyster card as soon possible as this will allow you to get 30% off on your travel.

It may take you a few days to get familiar with the different lines, so make sure you keep a tube map handy. CityMapper will definitely become your best friend as it tells you which transport options and routes you can take to travel around! Also since most of the Underground stations don’t have internet make sure to download your route before getting on a train.

Apart from tubes, buses are another convenient option and they run throughout Central London. Even if you don’t live in Central London, you will always find a number of transport options so commuting will never be a hassle. Remember London’s buses are cashless so you would either have to pay via an Oyster card or a contactless card. You can also hire bikes – they are a great way to explore the city!

London’s buzzing atmosphere means you will always find lots of fun things to do! Staying in a King’s residence like me will also mean you have access to an incredible support network and opportunities to interact with fellow students, especially during the initial months after moving here. You will be surprised by how quickly you begin settling down and I hope you’re excited to be moving to this amazing city!

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