News Article

Moving to London as an International Student


Hey everyone! I am Janvi Jagasia, Vice-President Education (Health) at KCLSU. First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your acceptance into King’s - we cannot wait to welcome you in September!

Moving to London as an international student can be daunting but trust me, you’re in for an exciting ride! As an international student myself, I’m here to share some advice, insights and some reassurance to make your transition into King’s and London a smooth ride. I have compiled a list of some tips to make your move as swift as possible. 

Pre-departure prep

Make sure your visa and paperwork are in order. Visas can be confusing, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the terms of your visa before you arrive and have all the necessary documents ready to go to avoid any surprises at the border. Additionally, take some time to research accommodation options. King’s offers a wide range of accommodations which you can stay at and private housing is an option too. If you’re going down the private route, we advise that you email any proposed contracts to Advice so an Adviser can review the document.  

After arriving in London

The most important thing would be to get a British sim card. There are lots of economical and student-friendly phone plans like VOXI and giffgaff. You may not need a National Insurance (NI) immediately but if you want to work in the UK it will come in handy. NI numbers are used to calculate and pay taxes. Applying for one is easy and straightforward, you can find more information about it on the UK Government website. Furthermore, if you’re likely to travel out of London frequently, it will be ideal to get a Railcard. Railcard offers benefits like cheaper train fares in the UK as well as cheaper travel on the London Underground. If you’ll be commuting to campus, there’s a good chance you’ll be taking the tube regularly. Oyster cards can be used for all public transport in London (tubes, London overground and buses). However, all public transport in London can be used via contactless payment.

Set up a UK bank account

Set up a UK bank account. Setting up a UK bank account is very important — while you can certainly get by in the short term without one, it will make your life much easier if you open a bank account soon after arriving. There are several options such as HSBC, Barclays and NatWest. Having a UK bank account makes money transfers much simpler and helps you avoid unnecessary fees. However, opening up a traditional bank account in the UK may be a tedious and time-consuming process. Whilst you’re waiting for your bank account to open up, consider using a “neo-bank” or digital bank such as Monzo, Revolut or Starling to open up an instant bank account. To get set up, you’ll most likely need to bring proof of a UK address (your accommodation contract) and a letter confirming your student status. You can get a confirmation of study letter specifically for opening a bank account on Student Records.

Embrace the culture

Moving to London as an international student can be a new experience. My advice is to embrace it! Be prepared for a wide range of cultural encounters. From red double-decker buses to iconic phone booths! The London Underground will very soon become your new best friend, connecting you to the city’s famous landmarks from art galleries, museums and parks to cafes and restaurants.

Activity groups and Sports clubs

KCLSU has close to 500 societies and 80 sports clubs. There’s something for everyone at KCLSU. Whether you’re into cricket or like to watch Formula 1 on the weekends, we’ve got a society for you! Last year, I co-founded the Formula 1 society. Not only did I meet a group of like-minded individuals, but I also discovered a supportive community that felt like home away from home. Discover all the societies and clubs here!

Know when to seek for support

No one expects you to have all the answers from day one. Remember that you’re not alone and there are lots of people you can ask for advice if you run into any problems. KCLSU offers a wide range of support services to help you adjust - whether it is academic guidance, counselling, housing or just simply someone to have a chat with. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you are facing challenges; there’s a safety net of professionals and peers ready to help you navigate through any obstacles. Discover the types of support we offer

Building a lifetime of memories

Moving to London as an international student is not just about academics, it’s also about crafting a unique chapter in your life story. Remember to have fun and cherish the time spent to explore the diverse city with a lot to offer. Your experiences will not only shape your academic journey at King’s but also contribute to your lifelong memories that you’ll carry with you after your time at King’s comes to an end.

As you prepare to embark on this exciting chapter of your life, embrace the challenges, relish the adventures and connect with diverse community of students at King’s. London is an incredible city and remember home is never far away in the form of an Indian restaurant or German bar!

Janvi Jagasia

Vice-President Education (Health)


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