Living in London
Choosing to live and study in London is a big decision and there are a number of things to consider. City, University of London is located at the heart of one of the most vibrant cities in the world. With so much to offer at your doorstep, find out how you can make London your affordable and comfortable home.
Named the fifth best city worldwide in which to study by QS Best Student Cities 2016, London is described as "a nerve-centre of global academia". But it’s not just all work and no play. However you like to spend your free time, life at City offers a huge range of opportunities for international students.
Reasons to study in London
- Live in the heart of London. City is located in central London, close to several Underground lines so it's easy to travel around. You're just a few stops away from London’s famous West End, including Oxford Street, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden.
- Connect with business. London is a major international hub for a wide range of industries - including finance, creative and media. City's location and links with the City make it the perfect place to build networks which will carry you through your career.
- Explore. London is the gateway to the rest of the UK, Europe and the world! International Students House runs a travel club that offers a range of subsidised trips in London and further afield. We are also members of HOST, which gives international and EU students the chance to spend a weekend with a British family outside London.
- Access to the world's knowledge. The British Library has 14 million books, 920,000 journal and newspaper titles and 3 million sound recordings. London is also home to some of Britain’s best-known museums including The British Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum and The Science Museum.
- Learn something new. Living away from home for the first time is the perfect time to try new things. Whether you want to take up a new sport or become a community volunteer, City has countless clubs and societies to join.
- Experience art, music, theatre and dance. Every week you can find thousands of exciting cultural events across London - and many give student discounts. What’s more, nightlife in London is famous the world over. On any night of the week you'll find a huge range of discounted student events.
- Take a walk in the park. London has over 3,000 parks and open spaces, making it one of the greenest capitals in the world. Try the outdoor sports areas and open air theatre at Regent's Park, row a boat on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, or enjoy one of the best views of London from Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath.
- Meet people from all over the world. London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world and City is no exception. Recognised as one of the most popular universities in the UK for international students and staff, our students come from over 160 countries, while our academic staff span more than 75 nationalities. This international vibrant community makes City a cosmopolitan place to study.
To find out more about things to see and do in London, visit the links below:
Moving to a big city can seem intimidating but it’s much easier if you have arranged somewhere to live.
From newly refurbished halls of residence just a short walk from the main City buildings, through to private accommodation. City offers a range of comfortable and affordable accommodation for international students.
Learning how to manage your money is an important part of student life, so before you come to the UK, it is important to make sure you know how you will pay for expenses.
Working out what you can afford in advance, and keeping track of your spending as it happens, can help you to avoid an empty bank account and maintain a healthy budget. From the outset, it’s important that you consider all costs such as:
- Travel to the UK
- Accommodation and daily living expenses including food
- Books and study resources
- Travel, sight-seeing and social activities
- Health and travel insurance
Living in a large city can be expensive, but regardless of your budget you can enjoy much of what London has to offer. There are lots of free activities and cheap restaurants, cafes and bars, so going out doesn't have to be expensive. A number of well-known high street retailers offer student discounts so you can make your money stretch even further.
You can even supplement your living expenses by working part-time alongside of your studies, with our in house temping agency ready to help.
Top five money saving tips
- Speak to current students - Current students are a great source of information and can advise on inexpensive places to shop for the items you are looking for.
- Food - Supermarket prices vary across the UK, so there’s always something within your budget range. Stores such as Tesco, Asda, Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons offer cheaper brands while others (e.g. Waitrose, Marks and Spencers) tend to be more expensive. There are also plenty of local shops and street markets for your daily needs.
- Student discounts - The National Union of students card (NUS Extra) is a great way to obtain discounts on a range of products and services. From eating out to travel and tourist attractions, the NUS card can be used in over 200 UK outlets.
- Clothes shopping - High street stores offer a great range of clothing depending on your budget, some of which also offer student discounts. There are also great bargains to be found in charity shops and local clothes markets.
- Travel - Travel with a student discount card or Pay as you go with an Oyster Card. Details can be found by visiting the Transport for London website. For long distance journeys you can travel cheaply by coach services. Find out more by visiting National Express.
Brightside’s International Student Calculator can help you to build a budget for living and studying in the UK.
We offer comprehensive support for our international students from day one. Coupled with a vibrant social and cultural life, City students can quickly feel at home.
Our Student Centre staff are dedicated to supporting your endeavours and ensuring your success at City, University of London. Our team acts as your first point of contact to receive friendly, professional and efficient advice and guidelines.
Clubs and Societies
City's Student's Union supports social, academic, political and cultural clubs and societies that reflect the diverse needs of City's student body. It also manages to the representation and social activities of City's sports teams and provides a range of Faith Societies enabling students to practice their faith and socialise alongside study.
CitySport is the largest student facility in central London. Fitted with the latest and most sophisticated fitness equipment across 3,000m2 of floor space, CitySport provides cutting edge sport and well-being facilities for students at competitive rates.
City has been the university for business and the professions for over 100 years. Our outstanding faciliies are one result of that close relationship. From our Clinical Skills centre to our broadcasting studio, subject specific facilities at City help you to prepare for your professional life.
City's Chaplaincy and Faith Advisory team provides support and guidance to students regardless of faith or belief. Here you can explore questions of faith, meaning and purpose, learn about world religions and find out about spaces for prayer and reflection. City supports your religious practice.
As an International student the rewards of volunteering can be invaluable. it's a great way to make friends, and develop relevant skills, knowledge and experience to enghance your future career. Volunteering can help connect you to the community and introduce you to a wider network of frineds, peers and professionals.
Take our campus tour
City is located in Islington in central London close to Clerkenwell, one of the fastest growing areas of London among young professionals.
Clerkenwell is defined as the area between the tube stations of Farringdon, Old Street, Angel and Kings Cross, and City, University of London is nestled equidistant between all four. One of the fastest growing areas of London among young professionals, it is known for its loft living and trendy art spaces. Walking into the financial district or Tech City, cycling to Soho, scooting to the West End – or even hopping on Eurostar to Paris is all achievable from here.
Food and Drink
Clerkenwell offers food for every budget, of every type, at any time – you would be hard pressed to sample every bar, restaurant, pop up café and eating establishment. All corners of the globe are represented from the Caribbean pop-up kitchen at Old Street to the Modern Pantry in St Johns Square.
Anything goes in terms of fashion here, so visit what Vogue refers to as ‘the most exquisite vintage fashion fair’ or ‘a treasure trove of inspiration’ according to Glamour. The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair was born in 2009 and now puts Clerkenwell on the fashion map with a highly prestigious international reputation, fast becoming the definitive mecca for unique and authentic clothing.
For culture and enlightenment Clerkenwell is an area full of contrasts. For free (or inexpensive) entertainment and a bit of history, take a walking tour run by Clerkenwell and Islington Guides Association. Tours take in local sights only accessible if you’re with a registered guide.
Nightlife in Clerkenwell reaches a whole new level, with a choice of bars, live music venues, restaurants and sporting occasions to keep you busy every night of the year. And as clubs go, having 25,000 square feet of internationally-renowned electronic music legends showcasing house, techno, disco and dub-techno on your doorstep in the form of Fabric, probably isn’t too bad.
Business in Clerkenwell
The benefits of Clerkenwell extend far beyond its culinary and social potential when it comes to the practicalities of finding employment. City is located North of the financial district and West of Tech City by half a mile respectively, so we are ideally placed whatever your personal career path.
Travelling around a big city can be a daunting prospect but don’t worry we’re here to help. There are many ways to get around and explore all that London has to offer.
Oyster Card Travel
An Oyster Card is a cost effective way to travel that can be used for the underground, bus, tram, DLR, London over-ground trains and some National Rail train services. Available from selected high street shops or at most train stations in London, they can have season tickets placed on them, be pay as you go, or auto top-up. With a Student Oyster Card you can save 30% off the adult fare.
A Travelcard is a pre-paid travel ticket valid for a day, a week, one month or longer periods of up to a year. This is a good option for people who travel daily on the tube, bus, over-ground trains or DLR. You can purchase a Travelcard valid for transport on the underground, London over-ground trains, DLR, tram, scheduled riverboat services and some National Rail services.
Bus routes and timetable information can be obtained from the Transport for London website. You can also use the Journey Planner to find out which bus you will need to take in order to reach your destination.
Taxis and mini cabs
In London, you have two cab options: Registered Black Cabs and Mini-Cabs.
Black Cabs are the traditional London Cab service. You can hail one on the street at any time of day or night.
Riding in a Black Cab can be a great experience for an international student. They are also quite knowledgeable about London and if you ask, they will probably tell you what you want to know. Cars run on a meter based on distance travelled and waiting time so although convenient, they can also be expensive
Mini-cabs charge for the entire journey, regardless of traffic stops. There are also Mini-Cab companies run by women for women. To arrange travel you can call a Mini-Cab station.
London is a very safe place but like any big city, it's worth taking sensible precautions. If you're new to London, here are a few tips to enable you to enjoy London safely.
Emergency contact information
- In an emergency, contact the police, ambulance, or fire department on 999 or 112. These numbers are free to call – only use them in a real emergency.
- To report non-urgent crime, contact your local police station by calling 101 from within the UK.
Travelling around London
- Plan your route before you leave. See the Transport for London website.
- Avoid walking alone at night and where possible keep to well-lit main roads.
- In the UK, cars drive on the left. To ensure you cross roads safely, only use designated crossing.
Staying safe in bars and restaurants
- Make sure you keep your property out of sight and safely under the table.
- Don't accept drinks from strangers
- Always check up on your friends by phone or text to make sure they got home safely and vice-versa.
- Download the free CitizenAid app on Android or Apple, which gives advice on immediate actions in case of an incident.
The student experience
Current students; Aurelia, Eve and Jack introduce their life as students in London, studying at City.
We are proud to have welcomed over 160 different student nationalities into our student community. Read our student blogs to find out why our international students love living in London, and their experience of study at City.