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.

Tupperware & paperwork, some pre-departure tips

Author: Bea

I recall having quite a few friendly arguments with my mother when I left my hometown
(Düsseldorf, Germany) to come and study at King’s back in 2014. The subject of our disagreement: what to pack. Which brings me to my first pre-departure tip – listen to your mama! I know, I know, some strange advice coming from a twenty-something… but hear me out! It is all rather hilarious looking back. If I remember it correctly I wanted to bring a little stack of books, classics, my favourites that truly represented who I was (or wanted to be) at the time. That and other things to create the right decor and feel to my new dorm room – knick-knack and sentimentals galore! And whilst I still do agree with the idea of bringing things that will make you feel at home in a new space, I don’t think they should weigh down your luggage significantly.
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This is the stuff that my mum believed I should focus my Tetris-like packing skills on: tupperware. Yes, tupperware. I wasn’t that thrilled about her suggestions and tried to ignore them best I could, but little did I know that she had stuffed lots of kitchen supplies that I had rendered unnecessary into my second suitcase – including tupperware. And boy, was I thankful for that later! Turns out a lunch box and that extra frying pan are way more useful than having a copy of The Catcher in The Rye on your shelf, and yes, I am rolling my eyes at past-me too, it’s okay!
Long story short, rethink your packing priorities and do listen to your parents when it comes to this, they tend to be right such matters! Essentials should be at the top of your list, like a warm winter coat (even if it isn’t your most stylish possession), because you will most definitely need it in London. And of course, tupperware! :)

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Another little thing I would recommend paying some attention to before leaving for university is sorting out all the paperwork you might need.This includes writing down important information like your student number, some phone numbers perhaps, and dates for induction sessions etc. I’d say it’s better to have it all in one place than having to look through your email inbox frantically when you are unsure about something. Next to writing some things down, make a folder for the documents you want to bring (high school certificate, student loan letter, medical paperwork, you name it) – have it all nice and neat, and as I said, in one place. Additionally, I reckon it can’t hurt to back up some of your documents digitally, like a scanned in copy of your passport on a USB, for
example. You never know, you might need it.
What it basically comes down to is playing personal assistant for yourself for a day or so to organise everything. I am aware it sounds like a pretty dry task to tackle, but it will put your mind at ease and you will be able to fully enjoy all the new and exciting experiences that will come flooding in! Trust me, there’s better things to worry about than struggling to remember your King’s email password!

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Living in London: Accommodation

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Where you live when you’re at university has a great impact on your experience – all the more if you’re an international student. Before I matriculated at King’s, I was particularly eager to find out more about the types of accommodation offered because halls were to be my first ever home away from home. Hopefully reading about my time in King’s residences and my experiences in different private accommodations help you gain a better understanding of where you might want to spend your three years in London. Continue reading

The Finale

Author: Maria

The final days are here. Today I finished and submitted my dissertation. How happy am I? I am ecstatic, but in need of sleep, sleep, and sleep. These past three months have been hectic with work, stress and getting into the idea that I will graduate. How was I able to cope with this semester? Here are my tricks to help you with.

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Firstly, it is important to make yourself a timetable. A kind of daily routine in order to get you going (especially if you only happen to have 6 hours of class per week). Therefore, every day I told myself I would spend 4 hours min at the library, either from 9:00 am until 13:00pm, or during the evenings (And what better place to study than good, beautiful old Maughan?). I seriously think I have never adored a library more than this one, and trust me I visited several: from Senate House, to UCLs, to Waterloo’s and Guy’s. Continue reading

Being a mature student – interview with Manjot

Author: Anwar

The student body at King’s is extremely diverse, Anwar blog post - pictureculturally and age-wise, which creates the incredibly eclectic and international quality we are lucky to have. However, at undergraduate level, where the majority of students are 18, it can be a bit daunting to start a degree at an older age. This is something I know I was worried about when I started at King’s this year at the age of 20.
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Conference trip to France

Author: Diana

One of the best things about studying in London is that travelling around Europe is fast and inexpensive. So every time I have an opportunity to go to a different city, I don’t even think about it, I just go. For me travelling means so much more than just to visit a different country. I think that when you travel you also learn a lot about yourself. You get to know what it is that you are capable of, and you mature in so many ways. Estrasburgo Continue reading

Adapting to my new life

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Author: Diana

Recuerdo lo emocionada que estaba al saber que iba a estudiar en King’s College London y que iba a vivir en Londres. Wao! Simplemente estaba sin palabras, y es que pensar en lo maravilloso que es esta ciudad, me llena de muchísima alegría. El proceso de adaptación a una nueva vida es como una aventura. Te tienes que adaptar a todo, y todo es nuevo, desde el lugar en donde vives y con quien vives, a tu escuela, incluyendo clases y compañeros, a tu nuevo lugar de trabajo, al medio de transporte y hasta a la diferente zona horaria. Parece mucho, y la realidad es que es mucho, pero el proceso no tiene que ser todo al mismo tiempo.

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Making your dreams come true in London

Author: Diana

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Around three years ago when I was starting my third year of undergrad in the University of Texas Pan-American, I made my second study abroad program. This time I travelled to Spain. The program itself was fantastic, but after a month of studying in Salamanca, Spain, my friend and I decided to travel another month around Europe. We had the opportunity to go to Brussels, Norway, Italy, France, Poland, Ireland and we made a stop in London. Our experience in every country was very unique and amazing, but as soon as we arrived in London, I just felt in love with this incredible city. Continue reading

My Study Abroad experience

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Author: Anuthida

When I was applying for undergraduate programmes, something that really attracted me to King’s was the emphasis it placed on the study abroad programme it offers. I know, I know – being from Singapore, wasn’t attending university overseas already studying abroad? Indeed it is, but who wouldn’t jump at the chance to experience living and studying in two vastly different cities? Continue reading