Your guide to living in London as an international student

How to find the perfect student accommodation, budget wisely, and balance academics with your social life.

Kevin Crain

By Kevin Crain

Crowd in London at Piccadilly Circus with British flags

London is a bustling city that sits at the crossroads of history and modernity. It calls to international students from all corners of the globe. Its pull is undeniable – a city steeped in academic excellence, cultural diversity, and historical significance. The prospect of studying in England’s capital is a dream shared by many. In this complete guide, we’ll give you the knowledge you need to make your student life in London truly unforgettable.

Living in London as a student isn’t just about attending lectures and acing exams. You should immerse yourself in all that London offers, too! From navigating the academic landscape to finding the perfect student accommodation (at discounted prices), from budgeting wisely to balancing academics with a vibrant social life, we’ll cover it all. Plus, we’ll give you practical tips for exploring the city and making the most of your time here, including staying in a fully furnished apartment.

Navigating London’s educational landscape

Oxford campus in London

London boasts a rich legacy of academic excellence. With renowned universities like the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, and University College London, the city is an academic hub. When you choose to study in London, you open the door to a world of opportunities. Here’s why:

Prestigious universities

London’s universities consistently rank among the top in the world. Seriously! And they offer a wide array of programs, allowing you to pursue your passion with world-class faculty and cutting-edge research facilities.

Exposure to diversity

London’s student population is as diverse as the city itself. Studying alongside peers from around the world lets you experience different cultures and perspectives during your college career.

Securing the perfect student accommodation

A living room in a furnished apartment in London

One of the first things to consider when planning your stay in London as an international student is where you’ll live. The city offers a wide range of student housing options, each with its own set of advantages. For instance, Blueground offers fully furnished flats in some of the safest London neighborhoods

University dormitories

Many universities in London provide on-campus housing options. This can be a convenient choice for first-year students, as it offers proximity to campus facilities and a built-in support network.

Private apartments, furnished rentals, & shared spaces

Other ideas are to go off campus or live with roommates. These options offer more independence and can be a great way to enjoy student life in London for a semester or entire year.

Factors to consider

When choosing your student housing, think about your budget, the location you want, amenities, and proximity to your university or college. It’s essential to find a balance that suits your needs and lifestyle. So try listing out which details are most important to you. 

Budgeting & financial management

real estate agent commission cash calculator pen spreadsheet and orange paper house on a table

Living in London can be expensive, but with careful planning and smart financial management, you can make it work. Here’s how:

Tuition fees

Start by understanding your tuition fees and exploring scholarship opportunities. Many institutions offer scholarships for international students. It’s a great way to make your schooling more affordable. 

Accommodation costs

Budget for your living expenses, taking into account rent, utilities, and any upfront deposits. Want to live in London for less? Thanks to Studentground, you have flexible, easy, and discounted access to all of Blueground’s 15,000+ premium, furnished apartments in London.

Living expenses

Factor in your day-to-day costs. That may include groceries, transportation, and entertainment. Create a budget that allows you to live comfortably while still saving for unexpected expenses.

Part-time work

Consider exploring part-time job opportunities, which can help offset your living expenses and provide valuable work experience. Even working for a few hours each week will help offset your costs. 

Student discounts

Take advantage of student discounts whenever possible. From transportation to cultural attractions, London offers numerous discounts to students. Try to remember to ask if a student discount is offered before you purchase anything. 

Balancing academic commitments & social life

A student is wearing a gray shirt and smiling while working on his silver laptop. Behind him there are other students talking and behind them there is tall bookshelf going across the entire wall.

While excelling academically is essential, it’s equally important to strike a balance and enjoy the social side of student life in London. Trust us, there are endless options during your weekends in London

Time management

Develop strong time management skills to ensure you meet your academic commitments while also having time for social activities.

Joining clubs & societies

Most universities have a wide range of clubs and societies you can join. Whether you’re interested in sports, arts, or culture, there’s likely a group for you. This is a great way to make friends as you begin your student life in London.

Embracing London’s cultural scene & social life

View of a busy street under the Big Ben in London

London is a city bursting with culture and social opportunities. Make the most of your free time by exploring its wide variety of experiences.

Museums & theaters

London is home to world-class museums and theaters. Catching a show in the West End or visiting the British Museum? Don’t forget to see if there are discounts or free admission for students.

Culinary adventures

Dine out and explore London’s mouth-watering cuisine. From street food markets to Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s something for every palate. Yum!

Iconic landmarks

Don’t forget to visit iconic landmarks like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and the British Museum. You have to get pictures in front of them all!

Social clubs & activities

Get involved with the local community by joining social clubs and activities. Whether you’re into sports, volunteering, or arts and culture, London has loads of opportunities.

Navigating the city: practical tips for students

knightsbridge london

To make the most of your time in London, you’ll need to navigate the city effectively. Here are some easy tips:

Public transportation

Learn how to use London’s extensive public transportation system, including buses, the Tube, and trains. After all, it’s convenient and affordable. Consider getting an Oyster card for discounted fares as well.

Neighborhood exploration

London is a city of neighborhoods, each with its unique charm. Take the time to explore different areas and discover hidden gems. You may just find that your favorite places are off the beaten path. 

Safety & healthcare

Stay safe by being aware of your surroundings and following common-sense safety tips. Also, remember to familiarize yourself with healthcare resources available to students.

Building a support network

When you have local London friends, you’ll also have a support network. You can also attend orientation events and social gatherings to meet fellow students. These connections come in handy when you’re living in London as a student from abroad. 

New home? No problem London living room in Vauxhall neighborhood

Studying in London as an international student is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s a chance to not only excel academically but also to immerse yourself in a city that celebrates diversity and offers a wealth of cultural experiences.

Want to make it simple to feel at home and free to roam? You can stay in a fully furnished Blueground apartment for a month, a year, or longer. It’s the ideal housing solution for students in London! 

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain is a writer from Dallas, Texas. He’s dedicated to helping every Blueground guest live like a local and make their apartment feel like home. His favorite topics include active experiences, bucket list essentials, and hidden gems in cities around the world.