Moving to the UK is exciting but there’s lots to think about.
We’ve outlined some practical information about accommodation, bank accounts, healthcare, travel and things to do in London to help make your move to the British capital as easy as possible.
Living in halls of residence is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.
All international students at UAL are guaranteed a place in our accommodation for their first year of study, and you can choose among 11 halls of residence spread across London. Places are also available for students on our Presessional English Programme.
If you're arriving in London for the first time, you can use our free collection service from the airport to your hall of residence.
If you have questions about accommodation or housing in London, you can get in touch with your UAL Representative, or the International Accommodation Adviser based in our Asia Branch Office at email@example.com or +852 3753 8813 (GMT+8).
The British Banking Association's guide for international students provides information about accounts offered by most banks.
To open a UK bank account, you’ll need to visit a bank branch.
Make sure you have with you:
- Your passport
- Proof of your address in your home country. Banks will accept an offer letter from UAL.
- Proof of your UK address, such as your housing contract or utility bills
- A ‘bank letter’ from UAL
You can request this from your College, but only after your enrolment event. You will need to provide us with the name and address of your chosen bank.
It will take a few weeks after arriving in the UK to open your new bank account. Make sure you have another source of money for your first few weeks in London, such as cash, travellers cheques or a debit/credit card with low international fees.
If you have any questions about opening a bank account in the UK, contact our Student Advice Service.
Before you arrive
Consider doing the following in your home country:
- Meningitis ACWY vaccination
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination
Adults can't get this vaccination from UK's National Health Service (NHS) but only from private healthcare providers
- Tuberculosis (TB) screening certificate
This will be required for your visa application and you may also need to show it when you arrive at a UK airport
- Your medical record
Bring an official English translation of your full medical records for your new doctor in the UK
- Regular medication
Registering with a doctor might take time, so bring enough supplies for the first months if you take regular medications
When you arrive
- EU/EEA citizens Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will give you access to NHS healthcare.
- International students If you are on a visa for more than 6 months, you need to pay for a Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) to use NHS healthcare. This is paid as part of your visa application. If you're in the UK for less than 6 months, consider buying a private health insurance as it will be cheaper than paying for NHS treatment.
- GP (General Practitioner) services
GPs, commonly called doctors, can diagnose and treat minor or ongoing health problems.
- Emergency healthcare
For emergencies, go to an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at your nearest hospital. If you need an ambulance, call 999 for free from any phone.
- Dental care
You can find a local dentist on the NHS website. You will be charged a fee for dental treatment.
- Eye tests
Eye care is provided from high street shops like Boots Opticians, Specsavers or Vision Express.
Mental health and further support
If you need help or advice about health and mental health matters, you can contact the UAL Health Advice service.
For more information about healthcare in the UK, visit the UK Council for International Affairs (UKCISA) website.
Underground - called the 'Tube', the quickest way to get around and some lines are open 24hrs during the weekend
Overground - trains to get outside of the city centre
Buses - your cheapest option with services throughout the night
Trams - useful for students at Wimbledon College of Arts
Download Citymapper - Transport app for London
Fares and payment
You will need to buy an Oyster Card for £5 to use public transport. You can use your Oyster as:
Travelcard – a weekly, monthly or yearly pre-paid pass
Pay as you go – top-up your card with money as and when you need it
Full time students can get 30% discount with a Student Oyster Photocard
Visit tfl.gov.uk for more information
Outside of London
Car – iI you want to drive, read the UKCISA's driving guide for international students
Outside of the UK
Make sure you read the immigration rules for travelling abroad on your student visa.
Use GoEuro to search and compare fares for train, coach and plane travel
Life in the capital is all about making connections. Wherever you come from or whatever your background, you’ll meet like-minded people. You’ll already be part of a huge student community when you join UAL, but here are a few ways of finding new friends.
Things to do in London
London is one of the most innovative cities in the world with inspiring artists, designers and communicators from across the globe.
There’s always something new to experience and influence your creative journey at UAL - or simply just to have fun.
Many world-famous art galleries, museums and exhibitions are free to visit and different events take place every night of the week.
With so many things available, here's a few tips to plan your days in London while saving money.
Culture Trip - Act like a local
Secret London - Food, drink, lifestyle and culture
Time Out - Restaurants and bars, films and theatre, music, art and more
Evening Standard’s Going Out guide - Latest events and exhibitions
ArtFund - Don't miss out on London's art scene
Dice.fm - Music gigs and tickets
Resident Advisor - A guide to London's clubbing scene
London for Free - All things free in London
International Student Identity Card (ISIC) - Discounts across 120 countries worldwide
ArtFund Student Art Pass - Save big on entry to London's amazing museums and exhibitions
Too Good To Go - Save on takeaway food and join the food waste revolution