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Next stop, London! Tips on what to do when you arrive

Piccadilly Circus sunset

You are finally moving to London! Arriving in a big city like London can be a bit overwhelming, but there will be lots of people at your university willing to help.

To get you started, here is a list of things you will need to do and organise when you arrive. Use this checklist to help you through your first weeks at university.

1)    Enrol with your university

Amid all the excitement, don’t forget to register with your university when you first arrive. Your university will give you a specific date and time to attend the registration event and enrol onto your course. At registration, they will take a copy of your passport and visa, confirm your enrolment and give you a library card and also a letter to open a bank account in the UK.

2)    International office and student orientation

Say hello to the international office and make sure you sign up to the free student orientation programmes designed to help you get to know your university and the city. For some universities, you need to register for the international orientation event before you arrive so be sure to contact your university for details.

3)    Open a bank account

Some banks let you open a UK bank account before you arrive in the country. However, if you still need a place to deposit your money be sure to open a bank account in the UK as soon as you can. You should also make sure you have enough money while you wait for the account to be opened, as this is can take up to two weeks. For more information of what documents will be required, read more about opening a UK bank account.

4)    Register with doctor

You can register for free with a local doctor. Many universities have a health centre on campus or can recommend a nearby doctors’ surgery. Sign-up as soon as you can in case you get ill at any time during your studies.

5)    Meet new people

One of the best things about studying in London is meeting students from the UK and all over the world. Join a few student societies or sports clubs, go to events, talk to your house mates, and start a conversation with the person sat next to you in the lecture theatre. Read our tips on making friends in London.

6)    Buy a mobile phone

You will want to keep in touch with your family and friends at home, and your new friends will also want to reach you easily. There are a number of different mobile phone options available to students, from ‘pay as you go’ deals where you simply pay for what you use, to longer term contracts. Walk into any mobile phone shop and all the options will be explained to you.

7)    Explore your local neighbourhood

Most universities offer walking tours around your local area during your first week to help you discover the local shops, banks and transport links. You should also print a map and go exploring with your new friends to find out where you can buy food and clothes.

8)    Get an Oyster card & apply for your TfL student discount

An Oyster card is an electronic ticket which makes it easy to get on any train, tube and bus in London. Most international students in London can save up to 30 per cent off travel in London. This is a great saving if you intend to use public transport a lot during your time in the capital. You can find our more at Transport for London. If you are not sure how to apply, speak to the student service centre at your university.

9)    Be a tourist and see London’s landmarks

Make the most of your time before your classes begin and explore London. Big Ben, the Tower of London, the Shard, Tower Bridge, Tate Modern, Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, Covent Garden, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster Abbey – that’s a lot of photographs to share with your friends and family!

10)   Become a Londoner

Before you know it you will soon feel at home in this great city. You will find yourself talking about the weather (all of the time), meeting friends in the local pub, enjoying British food such as Fish & Chips, using English slang, memorising the Tube map and getting to know all of the shortcuts when walking across town.

We look forward to welcoming you to London! If you have not applied to study in London yet, read our helpful application advice, search for courses and find out more about the universities in London.

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