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If you answered yes to most questions, you’re definitely an international student! Finding your feet will be a little daunting - but your Students’ Union is here to help you settle down in London, your new home! :)
Read on for the 6 essential things you’ll need to do…
1. Get to central London from the airport
From Heathrow Airport you can take the London Underground’s Piccadilly Line to central. Journey time by tube is under an hour and you shouldn’t have to wait longer than ten minutes for a train. Other options include the Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect. Taxis will be pricey but are also available outside the airport.
From Gatwick Airport there are lots of options for getting to London. The Gatwick Express non-stop train service to Victoria runs every 15 minutes with a journey time of 30 minutes. You can also take Southern trains services operating four times an hour, with a journey time to Victoria of around 35 minutes. Taxis will be quite expensive but can be booked online or will be available at the arrivals lounge.
2. Sort out your visa and paperwork
Before you arrive, ensure that you have all the relevant documentation and visas to allow you to study in the UK. Make sure you’ve checked the information you’ll require with your local government. Their website will be a good place to start.
When you finally arrive, LSE staff are here to help with all things related to your visa and immigration issues. International Student Immigration Service staff is qualified to advice you about Tier 4 applications and your responsibilities as a Tier 4 student, police registration and working during your studies. You can find more information online or attend a drop-in session with a lovely staff member. If necessary, you can also request an individual appointment.
3. Get a UK bank account
If you are one of the lucky students staying in the UK for a period longer than a few months, we recommend you to get a bank account. This will allow you to pay bills and rent quickly and easily!
There’s a bank for everyone so research which one is best for you and which important documents they require. Compare what the different banks offer online.
Some banks are quite specific about the format of the documentation they accept. Usually, you need to obtain a bank letter from the Student Services Centre. All banks require current address information, so make sure your contact details in LSE for You are updated before requesting the bank letter.
Find more useful information about bank accounts on the LSE website.
4. Travel around the city
If you live within London then the tube (or subway for the all the Americans out there) is the fastest way to get around the city. Oyster cards are the cheapest way to pay for a single fare journey’s on London underground, buses, DLR and some trains.
If use public transport quite often, you should consider buying a Student Oyster Photocard to get some great discounts on season tickets. As an LSE student you can apply for a student Oyster card as soon as you have a London address.
We’re sure you want to travel around the beautiful places the UK has for you to see. Trains are often the quickest and most comfortable way to get around, but if you’re on a budget, our tip is to take the bus. Megabus and National Express travel between major UK and European cities for very little money - and you can get a student card for the latter, too.
5. Stay in touch with new friends and family
If you’re thinking of getting a mobile phone or landline with broadband, make sure you research different rates online to get the right package for you. Vodafone, O2 and T-Mobile offer dedicated international call plans at similar rates.
If you didn’t download Skype yet, what are you waiting for? FREE internet calls where you can speak to your family, friends and pet!
Not into technology? Don’t worry! Post offices are open from 9am-5.30pm Monday to Friday, 9am-12.30pm on Saturdays. Airmail costs 48p/54p for Europe/the rest of the world. Your family and friends will love to get a postcard with the Queen’s face on it (probably).
6. Stay safe!
London is generally a safe city but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful. Always keep your doors and windows locked if you go out and, when you do go out, stay in groups. In case of an emergency call 999 free of charge from any phone. You can also find your nearest police station online.
If you have any questions, need advice or just want to have a chat, your International Students Officer, Indo Vickerson, would love to hear from you! Indo is here to represent your views to the Students’s Union and the School, as well as organising amazing events and campaigns for you. Get in touch on email@example.com.
You’ve probably already seen our posts about discount cards and international student arrival tips, but what good do they do without an understanding of the transport system? Here’s a bit of information about how to get around with a few links. The best way to learn more is to visit the websites and familiarise yourself with the system before you arrive.
1. How to get to London from the Airport
If you’re traveling from overseas (or just very far up north and have decided to fly), there are quite a few ways to get from the airport to the city centre.
Tube: The tube is probably the cheapest option, and will get you just about anywhere for a standard fare. I took the tube when I first arrived, and although it was an hour long trip to my hall, I was glad I spent around £3 instead of £50 or more on a taxi. (If you’ve got a lot of luggage, it can be a bit of a pain, so it might be worth splitting a taxi fare with someone else. Check TFL’s taxi page for more details)
Heathrow Express: The Heathrow Express is a private express train, which runs from Heathrow Airport to central London in about 15 minutes. It’s probably the most expensive option, but it’s optimal if you’ve got an appointment or are just exhausted from a long trip.
Coach: Megabus and Stagecoach are some of the most popular, and tickets can be ordered in advance online for the best fares. (Students with an NUS Extra card save 10% on Megabus!)
2. How to get around the city
Tube: I mentioned the tube earlier in relation to the airport, but it’s extremely convenient once you’ve arrived as well. It can get you pretty much everywhere, and if you’ll be traveling often, a Travelcard (valid for 7 days, 1 month, etc) offers excellent savings. Check here for more details.
Bus: The bus is by far my favourite mode of transport in London. It gets you everywhere, it’s more convenient (at least for me, the bus stop is right outside of Rosebery Hall), and it’s cheaper! On top of that, you’ll get to know the city much better when you’re able to see the roads you’re driving along. The tube is convenient, but it can make the city feel rather disconnected.
3. How to get home once the tube has closed
Taxis: Taxis are available any time, but they’re particularly helpful if you’re out late and the tube is closed, or if night buses aren’t available on your route. Be sure to reserve a cab ahead of time. Check the TFL website for more details.
Uber: Uber is an excellent, cheap way to get around the city, particularly for students. To reserve an Uber car, download the app and follow the directions. It’s simple and reasonably priced.
We love sport at LSE. Not just playing it, but everything else too… Joining the AU (Athletics Union) here is a sure-fire way to enjoy yourself - you’ll make lifelong friends, share some incredible experiences and probably have the best nights out of your life.
Regardless of your actual sporting ability, you’ll be able to find a sports club that fits you here.
All our sports clubs make LSE amazing in their different ways. They’re the real deal. Here are just a few that we love.
For the traditionalists
1. Athletics, Running & TriathlonThe ART team includes men and women, undergraduates and postgraduates, London natives and runners from countries all over the world.
2. Hockey Male or female, if you love good old-fashioned team spirit, keeping fit and having fun then hockey is for you.
3. SquashOne of the largest and most popular clubs on campus.
4. FootballMale or female, football is one of the friendliest and most enjoyable clubs to join at LSE.
5. Badminton From beginners to international hotshots, everyone’s welcome at the Badminton Club!
6. RowingOne of the AU’s most active and ambitious clubs.
For the renegades
7. SurfLive the dream, ride the wave! Go on trips at home and abroad to catch the best waves Europe has to offer.
8. MMABoxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu.
9. CapoeiraA Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music.
10. Karate'The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.'
11. FloorballImagine ice hockey, but without the ice or the violence… That’s Floorball, a fast-paced, exciting indoor team sport guaranteed to challenge you physically.
12. VolleyballClose friends. Tightly knitted team. Fun.
For the zen
13. YogaBlessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
14. Tai Chi'Taijiquanor', or 'Tai Chi Chuan', literally translated means Supreme Ultimate Fist.
And because we love it
15. Ultimate DiscLSE has one of the top Ultimate Disc teams in the UK. Fact.
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