Studying Abroad in the United Kingdom: Adapting to London Life

Thinking of crossing the pond for a semester or two? Read on for a few tips and tricks to help you adjust to life in London.


If you’re lucky enough to get the chance to study abroad, getting the most out of your experience will no doubt be high on your agenda. After all, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will leave you with amazing memories and friends for life.

When studying abroad in London in particular, some international students may find adjusting to typically British ways a little strange at first. To help you settle in, here’s a list of some useful things to think about to help you get to grips with your new London life so you can have the best time possible.

Find the best ways to stay connected


Most good student accommodation companies, like Urbanest, will supply a good WiFi connection in your flat or house as part of your rent package, which is great for when you’re at home, but keeping in touch whilst you’re out and about can soon turn into a pretty expensive venture. Most of us feel lost without our mobile phones (sometimes literally, as Google Maps comes in really handy!), so investing in an international SIM card can be a good idea.

There’s a good article with lots of advice on that here. Applications like Skype and Whatsapp are also great for keeping in touch via the Internet, so they’re well worth looking into. 

Get clued up on the transport system

One of the main concerns international people in general have when it comes to heading to London is the transport—it confuses even the most long-standing locals! Fortunately, there is lots of help out there for understanding the tube, from online guides to information centers and ticket offices.

It’s definitely worth learning about the distances between the stations, as some of them are deceptively close and it’s often easier to walk!

The bus network in London is also really handy, as are the Boris Bikes! There will be good, reliable forms of transport to London’s top attractions too, so you won’t have to worry about getting lost on your way to the main things you want to see and do. And if you’re looking for cheap or free things to do in London, this TimeOut list is super helpful!

Discover the best places to do your shopping

The supermarkets and regular high street stores (and high-end, should that take your fancy!) are most likely quite different from the ones you’re used to back home. Learning about some of the options available for tasks like food shopping will make your life a lot easier and will make that weekly shop a lot cheaper. As a general rule, bigger supermarkets are a lot cheaper than smaller “express” stores, so stick to the main Tesco superstores as opposed to Tesco Express.

Clothes stores like Primark offer fantastic value on their items, which are often similar to those in stores like Topshop but at a fraction of the price. However, stores like Topshop do offer student discounts, which come in really handy.

Moving to London may seem overwhelming at first, but as soon as you arm yourself with some of these clever tips and tricks, you’ll be fitting right in and lunching on tea and crumpets in no time!


Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

international students london study abroad united kingdom

About Laura Barns

Based in the United Kingdom, Laura Barnes is an English and creative writing graduate with a passion for journalism, music, and traveling. She currently works in marketing and loves it, as each day is a little different.

You can follow Laura on Twitter.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Samantha Fils-Aime

Samantha Fils-Aime

High School Class of 2019

I love that CollegeXpress has helped me find some scholarships to apply for but also helped me succeed in school with lots of tips. I also really like how they consistently email me about webinars that teach me a lot of things from the comfort of my home!

Keydi Banegas

Keydi Banegas

Scholarship for Students of Color Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress is a great application that helped me search for many different scholarships, and it narrows the scholarships depending on how you set your profile. Not only that, but it helps you choose different colleges to apply to by finding matches through the description of your profile. It was the best experience for me.

Josiah Kegg

Josiah Kegg

High School Class of 2021

I want to sincerely thank you all for this amazing website that's legitimately helped me find so many different scholarship opportunities. I've been stressing out for the longest time about paying for college since I would rather stay out of debt and have been working days trying to find any scholarship opportunity. When I found CollegeXpress, I discovered many easy scholarships that have given me hope for the future. Thank you and God bless!

Kory Gilbertson

Kory Gilbertson

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me explore my views on college in that "why do I wanna go to a certain school" way. It’s helped me explore the best fits in all of these outstanding choices. All these college admission counselors can access my accolades showing them how I could help their college. This source of information helps me show these admission directors who I am and what I'm interested in. Thanks to this platform, my experience for education will be better than most, and I'm so grateful for all that it has provided for me.

Wendy Thompson

Wendy Thompson

Owner, Westport Educational Consulting

I just discovered your site and LOVE it—fun, interesting, full of incredible information you can’t find anywhere else, and a godsend for those of us in the college counseling business. I am a fan!

College Matches