Recent years show a steady increase in the number of international students looking to obtain higher education in the UK, focusing mainly on studying in London, as well as a raise in the number of foreign nationals living in London as part of their employment training and management requirements. This guide will focus on useful information and tips for both the international students in the UK and the large community of expatriates in London.About London:Rich in history and heritage, London provides a blend of past and present. With roots dating as early as 43 AD, when it was built by the Romans and named at that time Londinium, London has grown and developed with time to the huge multicultural metropolitan it is today and of the three most important financial centers in the world.London is situated on the River Thames and with a population of close to 8,000,000, it is the largest city in the European Union. With strengths in almost all leading research and life style aspects of life, London is renowned as a global cultural capital, with more languages spoken in the city of London than in any other city in the world.London is divided to boroughs and districts. Greater London is the top-level administrative division of England covering London. It is divided into 32 separate London boroughs, each governed by a London borough council, and the City of London, which has a unique government. (total 33 boroughs). The 33 boroughs of London are divided into 14 Inner London boroughs and 19 Outer London boroughs.The largest industry in London is finance, with more than a half of the UK’s top 100 listed companies and more than 100 of Europe’s 500 largest companies have their headquarters in central London. The five major business districts: the City, Westminster, Canary Wharf, Camden & Islington and Lambeth & Southwark.Tips & Info for living in the UK:UK Student Vida:All international students from outside the EU need to have a student visa. The granting of a UK students visa is based on a system called Tier 4. In order to apply for a student visa, 40 points have to be counted under the Tier 4 system. These points are gained with a confirmation of acceptance for studies (also known as CAS, which is valid for 6 months from the date issued by your institution) from a border agency approved university in the UK and a proof of sufficient funding for the tuition fees and living costs. The application for the student visa must be submitted within minimum 3 months before the start of the approved courses.Transportation in London:London is easily accessible by all means of public transportation. You can travel in and around London by the tube, train, bus and the Light Railway (DLR). You should notice that although easily accessible by public transportation, it might get a bit expensive, so it is recommended to plan your expenses in advance by paying attention to these tips:
Buy travel cards – these can be used on the tube lines, buses and trains and offer high value discount compared to individual tickets.
Make sure your travel card if for the tight travel zone – London is divided to 6 travel zones (where zone 1 is the most central one).
Oyster card – A London wide travel card which offers discounts on buses, tube lines, DLR, ferry and train fares. For students who plan to use public transport often, getting an Oyster is highly recommended.
Taxis in London – though more expensive than the public transportation routes, sometimes you will need to travel by taxi. You can either order one from the street, or simply send an SMS with the word “CAB” to 60835 and you will get back the contact numbers for a cab in the area.Expenses & living costs in the UK:In most cities in the UK the living costs are not high. However, London is one of the more expensive cities in Europe and the average living costs vary significantly between its different areas. A major factor in preparing a budget for the required costs of living in the UK will be the accommodation factor. Since the accommodation in London gets very pricey at the central of the city (zones 1 and 2), many foreign nationals who live in London choose the more outer areas for their residence.For international students in the UK, the UKBA (the UK Border Agency) requires a budget of at least£800 per month for living in the outer London areas.These amounts are required for covering only the living costs and do not cover the Tuition fees in the UK which Vary between £4,000 and £22,000 annually (average of £11,000 per year).Although an expensive city, London provides a cost-effective studying experience as many part time jobs for students are available in the city. In addition, many attractions, events, lectures and academic seminars are held for free or given at very low prices for the tens of thousands of international students and professionals residing in the city.Medical care in the UK:International students in the UK whose courses last more than six months are entitled to receive treatment from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) for no additional charge.Expats, which do not have EU passports and are living in the UK will need to obtain from their employers an extended medical insurance. If living in the UK longer than a year then it is possible to receive free NHS treatments pending registration with a local doctor.Night life:Night life in London is famous worldwide for its diversity and intensiveness. It ranges from being a global capital of club scenes to the more localized neighborhood pubs and student bars with a taste for everyone. For those looking for the more upscale cocktail bars, a stroll down South Kensington or Walton street will provide an opportunity to mix with the Chelsea crowed.Sightseeing in London:With the third most international visitors in the world, four UNESCO landmarks and scores of historical, contemporary and diverse locations, London offers unparalleled scenery features. Some of the major sightseeing landmarks for a vacation in London are: Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Big Ben & The House of Parliament, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, Tate Modern, Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge.Universities in London:London is a significant city for higher education with a global impact. With more than 40 universities, London constitutes the largest cluster of higher education facilities in Europe. With close to half a million students, from which about 100,000 are international students, London provides a multicultural, popular destination for scores of international students.Below is a detailed list of the leading colleges and universities in London:Birkbeck, University of London:Birkbeck University is London’s sole higher education institute specializing in evening courses and degrees with almost all of its students attending part time evening studies.It has a multi-cultural student population with students coming from over 120 countries attending the diverse courses offered ranging from short introductory courses and degrees to full-time PhD degrees.Rankings and awards:
Birkbeck was ranked 111 in the world for Arts & humanities in the 2011 QS World University Rankings.
Birkbeck was ranked as number 149 in the world in the 2011-12 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
Birkbeck was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for excellence in higher education research.
International students in Birkbeck:For students entering the UK on a Tier 4 student visa, the following courses are available:• Full-time Master’s programmes• Full-time MPhil/PhD programmes• Full-time undergraduate degreesA small number of international students are eligible to study part time.Brunel University:Brunel University is located in west London. It is organized into eight academic schools covering 10 research institutes. Brunel has 15,000 full time students, with an international student population of ~2,500 attending a wide range of courses for undergraduate & postgraduate students.Established in 1966, Brunel modern and self-contained campus offers a vivid and interactive atmosphere with various off campus activities for students outside of their curricular studies.Rankings and awards:
Brunel was ranked the 42nd highest ranked UK university (351st globally) in the 2011/12 QS rankings.
Brunel was ranked 251-275 (shared ranking) by the 2011/12 THES world university rankings.
Brunel won The University won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2011.
Courses for international students in Brunel:Brunel offers for international students a wide range of preparatory courses, including foundation and pre-masters, pre-sessional and in-sessional English language studies, and study skill programmes which support students throughout their studies. Though renowned mainly for its engineering and design courses, Brunel also offers courses in fields such as business, computing and maths, social sciences, sport sciences, law and economics, education, humanities, health and social care, visual and performing arts as well as the environment studies.City University London:City University has its main campus in the Islington area of central London, with additional campuses in the city of London and in Holborn, Smithfield and Whitechapel areas. It is organised into 7 schools covering around 40 academic departments. with over a century old research experience and constant high academic rankings, City University is a a true global university, with the highest proportions of international and graduate students compared to any other university in the UK.Rankings and awards:
City is ranked 356th in the world in the 2011 QS World University Rankings.
City is ranked 8th out of London universities (The Sunday Times University Guide 2011).
City is the first UK University Student Centre to receive the Service Mark Quality Standard from the Institute of Customer Service.
International students in City University London:
City University London is one of the most international universities in the UK with over 21,000 students coming from more than 160 countries and staff from over 50 countries.
More than 100,000 former students from over 150 countries are members of its Alumni Network.
City is the fifth largest higher education establishment within central London.
Goldsmiths, University of London:Founded in 1981, the university specialises in the arts, humanities and social sciences. The college is Internationally renowned for its contribution over the years to the arts and sciences, and its department of Art is considered as one of Britain’s most prestigious facilities.Rankings and awards:Goldsmiths was ranked in 2008 at the world’s top 100 and the UK’s top 20 universities for the arts and humanities, it was also are ranked ninth in the UK for world-leading research.International students in Goldsmiths:The university has over 9,000 students, from which about 20% come from outside of the UK from over 120 countries.Imperial College London:The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine is over a century old. It is specialising in science, engineering, business and medicine. It is organised into four main academic units and has around 13,500 students.Rankings and awards
Imperial College is consistently ranked one of the top universities in the world. Most rankings place it in the top 10 globally.
Imperial is consistently ranked one as one of the top universities in the UK
Imperial is one of the best universities in the UK with regards to terms of job prospects, with the average starting salary of an Imperial graduate as the highest of any UK university.
International students in Imperial college:Imperial has students coming from over 120 countries, with a ration of over 45% of the students and over 30% of staff coming from outside the UK.King’s College London:King’s College is the third oldest university in England, founded in 1836 and renowned as one of the UK’s most prestigious universities. It is organised into 9 schools and it is one of the largest centres for graduate and post-graduate medical teaching and biomedical research in Europe.Rankings and awards:
In the 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities, King’s College was ranked 16th in Europe and 63rd in the World.
It is ranked 21st in the world and 6th in Europe according to the 2010 QS World University Rankings.
In September 2010, The Sunday Times selected King’s as its “University of the Year, and at that time, there were ten Nobel Prize laureates amongst its alumni and current and former faculty.
International students at King’s College:The College welcomes applications from all countries. The college has a distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs.Kingston University London:Founded in 1899, Kingston offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate work spread across seven faculties in addition to various further education provisions.The teaching and research in the university are organized in 5 faculties:• Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture• Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences• Faculty of Business and Law• Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences• Faculty of Science, Engineering and ComputingInternational students in Kingston university:Kingston has 23,000 students including about 3600 international students coming from over 150 countries.London Business School:LBS has the widest range of Masters programmes among the top business schools. It’s the only school in Europe, and one of only three business schools in the world, to offer a Sloan MSc programme. It’s also the only top business school to offer a specialist Masters in Finance programme.Rankings and awards:
LBS is ranked among the top 10 business schools in the world for MBA programmes and among the top 5 in Europe.
In 2011, the Financial Times ranked for the third year in a row the London Business School as the number one in the world for its MBA programme.
International students in London Business School:
Over 1,400 degree students from 130 countries graduate from the School each year.
LBS offers over 100 clubs to a student body from over 130 countries.
The MBA Programme at London Business School has one of the world’s largest international exchange programmes.
London Metropolitan University:London Metropolitan University is the largest “single university” in London, with more than 28,000 students. The University offers 485 degree courses (in undergraduate and postgraduate courses) as it offers the widest selection of courses in London.London Metropolitan University faculties and schools are:• London Metropolitan Business School;• Faculty of Life Sciences• Faculty of Computing• Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Languages & Education• Faculty of Applied Social Sciences• Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Design• Faculty of Law, Governance and International Relations• Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Media and DesignRankings and awards:London Met’s architecture department was ranked 18th and 20th in 2011 and 2012 at The Guardian University League Tables.International students in the London Met:
The London Met is ranked in the top ten most popular universities in the UK for international students.
The London Met has the highest numbers of international students in the UK, from more than 150 countries.
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE):Founded in 1895, the LSE specialised in the social sciences and offers teaching across various social sciences fields such as accounting and finance, anthropology, applied statistics, actuarial science, economic history, economics, geography, government, history, international development, international relations, law, management, philosophy, politics, psychology, social policy, sociology, mathematics and statistics.Rankings and awards:
LSE was stated as the leading social science institution in the world by the Fulbright Commission.
The university is renowned as one of the foremost social science universities in the world, ranked alongside Harvard, UC Berkeley and Stanford.
LSE often scores well in the social science specific section of the THE-QS World University rankings and always ranked among the top 5 universities.
LSE is one of only four British institutions to have never ranked outside the top 10 in any compiled league ranking table.
International students in LSE:
London School of Economics and Political Science is among the world’s most selective universities.
It has a highly international student body with around 9,000 full time students from 140 countries.
LSE has a cosmopolitan staff of just over 3,000, with about 45 per cent drawn from countries outside the UK.
Over 100 languages are spoken on LSE’s campus
An influential network of close to 100,000 LSE alumni spans the world in more than 190 countries.
London South Bank University (LSBU):Founded in 1892, the LSBU is one of the largest and oldest universities in London, holding teachings for over 25,000 students and having a staff of 1,700. The university has four faculties covering the fields of Health & Social Care, Business, Arts & Human Sciences and Engineering, Science & the Built Environment. The main campus of the LSBU is close to many of London’s major landmarks and sightseeing attractions and easily reachable by London’s public transport.Rankings and awards:
The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 ranked the London South Bank University has as 6th in the UK for graduate starting salaries.
International students in London South Bank University:
LSBU has over 2,000 international students coming from more than 130 countries.
12% of the international students in LSBU come from the EU and overseas.
Middlesex University:Middlesex University is an international university with roots in London offering over 400 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in four Schools: Engineering & Information Sciences; Health & Social Sciences; Arts & Education and business.Rankings and awards:
Middlesex University was awarded with three Queen’s Awards for Higher and Further Education as well as twice the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) ranked Middlesex University Business School among the top 20 international business schools in the world (and ahead of Oxford and Cambridge).
International students in Middlesex University:
22,000 students attend the University’s campuses in London, 20% of which are international students.
A total of around 35,000 attend Middlesex University campuses worldwide.
Queen Mary, University of LondonQueen Mary, University of London (QMUL or QM) has roots dating back to as early as 1785. it offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as research opportunities in the areas of medicine and dentistry, science and engineering, humanities and social sciences.Rankings and awards:
Ranked 172 in the world, QS-THE World University Rankings 2011/12
Ranked top 10 in UK for graduate starting salaries, The Sunday Times 2009
Queen Mary achieved student satisfaction of 88% to rank equal 2nd in London
Ranked the sixth best UK university for student employability
Ranked 11th out of 132 universities in the UK for Research Assessment (Guardian)
International students in Queen Mary:
15,000 students, 5,000 of which come from overseas.
QMUL is the only college in the University of London to have an integrated teaching, research and residential campus located in central London.
Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication:With roots in 1959, Ravensbourne college offers a design and communication portfolio with a focus on providing skills in the courses of fashion; broadcasting; interactive product design; graphics; moving image; architecture environment design; media and sound design; animation; and performance video. The university also provides a selection of masterclasses and short courses for both students and industry professionals.Rankings and awards:
Ravensbourne students have achieved acclaimed success in UK national competitions such as the Royal Society of Arts Design Awards (RSA), British Design in Art Direction Awards (D&AD), New Designers Awards, Graduate Fashion Week Awards and Promax Awards.
The University is internationally renowned for its Superior media and communication innovative activity.
International students in Ravensbourne:
The university has degrees validated and awarded by City University London.
Ravensbourne is a popular destination for international students.
Regent’s College London:Regents offers a wide range of courses in Business and Management & the Arts and Humanities, including American and British degree programmes. It is the largest s school of private higher education in the UK.The college has two faculties accommodating 7 specialist schools:• European Business School London• Regent’s Business School London• Regent’s American College London• Webster Graduate School London• London School of Film, Media & Performance• School of Psychotherapy & Counselling Psychology• Internexus English Language SchoolInternational students in Regents College:
The college is one of the most internationally diverse schools in the UK with students arriving from over 130 countries and with over 130 spoken languages on campus.
Regent’s has established links with companies worldwide, assisting students to gain work experience and find internships.
Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL):A member of the University of London since 1900, RHUL is considered one of the most respected and prestigious universities in London and ranked in the Top 10 research intensive universities in the UK. It has 7,500 students attending its 3 faculties covering 18 academic departments in the fields of: Arts & Social Sciences; Management & Economics; Science.Rankings and awards:
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings raked the college in 2010 as the 13th in the UK, the 22nd in Europe, and the 88th in the world.
As of 2012, Royal Holloway is now placed fourth amongst the colleges of the University of London federation.
The University is listed as the 5th best university in London out of 20.
The college is ranked in the top 20 universities for research in the UK.
International students in Royal Holloway:• Students from over 130 countries study at the RHUL• The college is ranked 2nd in graduate employment statistics.The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS):A constituent college of the University of London, the SOAS specializes in history, laws, politics, development economics, humanities and languages concerning Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It is the only higher education institution in the UK specialising in these fields. It offers more than 300 undergraduate Bachelor’s degree combinations, over 70 one-year intensively taught Master’s degrees, as well as MPhil and PhD degrees.Rankings and awards:
The SOAS consistently ranks as one of the top universities in the UK.
The Times Higher Education world rankings place SOAS 44th in the world, 7th in the United Kingdom, and 11th in Europe.
International students in SOAS:
SOAS has the largest concentration of academics concerned with Asia, Africa and the Middle East of any university in the world.
Over 40% of the students at SOAS come from outside the UK.
Students from over 130 countries study at the SOAS.
St George’s, University of London (SGUL):A constituent college of the University of London and a medical school with origins in 1733, St. George’s university is the UK’s only independent medical and healthcare higher education institution, one of the largest medical schools in the UK andranked 2nd in the UK for the impact of its published research.International students in St George’s:
Students in the university arrive from over 90 different countries.
The school offers more than 35 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Diploma, Bachelor and Master levels.
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance:Trinity Laban is the UK’s only conservatoire of music and dance and world renowned for its centres of music and dance education. The Conservatoire comprises two Faculties, both regarded as world leaders in their respective fields – the Music Faculty and the Dance Faculty. All degrees offered by the Conservatoire are validated by City University London.Rankings and awards:In The Guardian University guide 2011, published in June 2010, the Conservatoire was ranked in the following league tables:
Joint 1st (with Warwick) out of 87 institutions in Drama and dance.
8th out of 71 institutions in Music.
5th out of 35 in the specialist institutions league table.
International students in Trinity Laban:
The institute has students coming from more than 40 countries.
The Dance Faculty is considered as one of Europe’s leading centres for the teaching of contemporary dance.
The Music Faculty has gained international reputation as a leading institutions in the UK for music studies.
University College London (UCL):Established in 1826, UCL is the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London. UCL is organised into 10 faculties, covering over 100 departments, institutes and research centres serving its over 24,000 students.Rankings and awards:
In the 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities, UCL is ranked 20th in the world and 3rd in Europe.
UCL has been described by the Sunday Times newspaper as ‘an intellectual powerhouse with a world-class reputation’ and is consistently ranked amongst the world’s finest universities.
In the 2011 QS World University Rankings, UCL is ranked 7th in the world and 4th in Europe.
UCL is consistently one of the top multi-faculty universities in UK university rankings.
UCL is ranked first in the UK for its staff/student ratio in The Times Good University Guide, The Sunday Times University Guide and The Guardian University Guide.
International students in UCL:
UCL has a diverse multicultural student base coming from over 140 different countries and representing around 30% of its total attending students.
UCL has active exchange and research links with over 260 universities around the world.
University of East London (UEL):The university of East London has more than 28,000 students over two campuses (And a third one to be opened in 2013). The UEL is also a leader in the field of distance learning and one of the top three providers of e-learning and distance learning programmes in the UK. UEL offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and it covers the educational fields of: Architecture, Computing and Engineering; Education and Communities; Sport and Bioscience; Psychology; Arts and the Digital Industries; Combined Honours.Rankings and awards:
The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008, rated the University of East London as the ‘top modern university in London’ for research
In January 2012, UEL was awarded ISO14001 certification for its environmental management.
UEL is among London’s leading universities for employability.
University of Greenwich:The University of Greenwich has around 25,000 students in its three campuses, servicing a broad offering of masters and degree programmes, as well as combined degrees allowing various subjects options.International students in the University of Greenwich:
The school has close to 5,000 international students arriving from over 140 countries, making it a very popular destination for foreign students in London.
English language tuition and academic support is provided to all international students whose first language is not English.
University of Roehampton:The university has its roots in the 19th century, and it is currently situated on three major sites in south west London. Roehampton has around 9,000 students.The academic departments in Roehampton:• Department of Dance• Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance• Department of Education• Department of English and Creative Writing• Department of Humanities• Department of Life Sciences• Department of Media, Culture and Language• Department of Psychology• Department of Social Sciences• Roehampton University Business SchoolRankings and awards:
Roehampton University was ranked first in the country for Dance and Biological Anthropology in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
The University is the top post-92 university in London for students finding employment after they graduate.
International students in Roehampton:The university has students coming from over 130 countries, taking part in its leading teachings in the fields of arts, dance and performance and literature.University of the Arts London (UAL):University of the Arts London specializes in the studies of art, design, fashion and media. It has close to 21,000 students participating in over 250 courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in addition to over 350 short courses.The university is comprised of 6 renowned constituent colleges:• Camberwell College of Arts• Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design• Chelsea College of Art and Design• London College of Communication• London College of Fashion• Wimbledon College of ArtUniversity of West London (Thames Valley University)The university has roots dating back to 1860. It has over 16,000 students attending over 1,400 courses. The courses and Schools of the university are ranked in the top for academic achievements in London. The University is highly acclaimed for its teachings in these fields: Hospitality, tourism and leisure, music and the performing arts, nursing and allied professions.Rankings and awards:In official figures published by Times Higher Education in July 2008, the university had the best graduate employment record against its benchmark in the country, with almost 95% employed within six months of graduating.International students in the University of West London:There are over 3,000 foreign students in the University of West London.University of Westminster:Established in 1838 as the first polytechnic to open in England and awarded university status in 1992. The University academic activities are organised into seven schools accommodating 45 departments and 65 research centres and it provides Professional accreditation across disciplines such as AMBA, ACCA, BCI, IET, BCS, etcRankings and awards:
In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, Westminster university was ranked 2nd for Communications, Cultural and Media Studies research and 6th for Art and Design research.
The university was the Winner of two Queen’s Awards for International Enterprise.
International students in the University of Westminster:
The University of Westminster has more than 5,000 international students coming from over 140 countries.
The school provides Award-winning international scholarships and financial support for students.
Accommodation in London:Finding a flat in London might be a tedious task, there are many factors to be considered (proximity to public transportation, utility costs, suitability and safety of the area, etc.). Some of the universities in London offer accommodation in dormitories and students houses in their respective campus areas, however many of the students and expats in London prefer to find a room or an apartment which is located off campus, that way they can have a more through experience of the vivid life style in London. To Find rooms and flats in London, or to meet new flatmates looking to rent out their rooms, visit www.RoomMatesUK.com, which offers all kind of accommodations in London as well as a classifieds section with students jobs in London.