Moving to university is a massive step in your life. It will shape your first few years as an adult, propel you into the unknown and help you grow up, learn vital skills that will stand you in good stead for your future, and help you build a career.
There are certain ways in which your GCSEs and A-Levels are formatted, and you’ll have become accustomed to how best to write essays in your school years to get the best results.
All of this now goes out of the window when you enter university and you’ll be taking on coursework and exams that are the next level up from anything you’ve encountered before.
That’s not to say you should be worried though. As your first university assignment approaches there are some clear and effective ways that you can approach it.
We’ve put together some helpful hints as to how you can best prepare for your first university assignments. If you are clever with your approach, hardworking and determined to succeed, you’ll do well at university life.
1. Attend All Your Lectures And Seminars
You are attending university to learn, and your lectures and seminars are there for you to take on board all the information and expertise that your tutors will pass on to you.
You might find that it is a struggle to get out of bed on a daily basis and go to university after you’ve been partying hard during freshers’ week and getting to know new friends.
It is vital though that you get into the habit and that you attend everything. There are times you might not be able to attend, but always let your tutors know and try to get access to notes from those you will miss.
The more information you take on board, the better your knowledge and assignments will be.
2. Plan Carefully And Be Prepared
The first thing to consider with any university assignment is that the best way to do well is to be as fully prepared as possible.
Take the time to plan carefully and methodically. It is perfectly ok to take as much time as you need to look over the details of the assignment and to plan accordingly.
Look at the criteria of the assignment, write down a list of all your ideas relating to the specifics of the assignment and think about what questions you need to ask and what the purpose and end result of the assignment is.
Writing a plan at this point will help you when it comes time to write and complete the assignment.
3. Research Thoroughly
This is the phase of a university assignment that takes the longest, but it can be truly fulfilling and will help you learn key research skills that will help throughout the cycle of your university course and beyond into your post-graduate life.
If you are unsure about the types of sources that you need, take the time to speak to your tutors and ask the university library for help in finding them.
At this point, you should take as many detailed notes as possible, before working through and bringing the puzzle together.
4. Using Academic Journals
One of the best ways to improve your referencing and research is to understand how to effectively use academic journals, rather than relying on Wikipedia and other easy to find Internet sources.
Using peer-reviewed journals and books is the best way to enhance your university assignments and make sure your thoughts and opinions are based on a solid foundation of academic research.
Journals are found in university libraries in both physical and digital form.
5. Write A Draft
Your first draft of any university assignment is important, as it is the first chance you get to try and bring together your research, notes and knowledge to try and get to that end point you’d written about in your plan.
Put together a draft that is in some semblance of working order, but at this point you don’t have to worry about your spelling and grammar being perfect, just make sure you have a general draft written that follows the specific guidelines of your course.
This is the point where you need to schedule in a big chunk of time to look through your first draft and figure out what works, what doesn’t, tweak and amend things, delete, and add sections where necessary and then finally, proofread.
At this point you are tightening everything up into a clear university assignment that is ready to hand in.
7. Understand How To Reference
This is one of the biggest changes you’ll encounter between school learning and university learning.
Your first university assignment is where you’ll learn how to reference for the first time. It is an essential part of almost every single course at university, and you’ll find that your tutors will bring it into lectures and seminars early on in your time at university to ensure you get to grips with it as quickly as possible.
There are different referencing guides and systems depending on which university and course you are studying, so always make sure you understand what is expected of you and always ask questions of your tutor and other students to make sure you are doing things the right way.
There is no shame in asking for help.
8. Lay A Marker Down
Think of your first university assignment as your first marker for the year ahead. In your first year of university, you generally only need to get a passing grade to go through to the second year.
After that, your grades will go towards your final degree classification. This takes the pressure off the first year in some ways, but it also gives you a chance to hone your skills and your first university assignment is a chance to see where you are right now and to work out where you need to improve with future assignments.
You can use this first assignment as a template and a marker to look back on in future and to see how far you have come.
As you can see, there are some clear steps that you can take to ensure that you are fully prepared for your first university assignment. Be fully involved with your lectures and seminars, utilise the university library to find journals and other academic sources, ask about referencing and what you need to do, and always have a plan of action and thorough research to back up your first draft. You’ll get there, we have faith in you to work hard and get results with your university assignments, whatever course you are studying.
Introduction to cost of living in London as a student
London has to be one of the most exciting, lively and cultural cities in the world to be studying in. Experiencing everything that the city has to offer as a student can still be affordable. Despite the cost of living in London as a student is higher than any other UK city.
There are a large range of student discounts to take full advantage of. You can get money off all the essentials; food, clothes, public transport, and also the non-essentials such as entertainment and theatre tickets!
Although the cost of living in London as a student can be pricey, there are ways to make sure you get to experience the best of London. Even on a limited student budget.
What will I need to spend money on living in London as a student?
In addition to your university tuition fees, the cost of living in London will vary depending on your choice of accommodation. Also living essentials such as bills, food, transport, books, equipment, clothes, etc.
And how wisely you spend any ‘spare’ money you have left on entertainment, hobbies or socialising.
According to King’s College London, a broad estimate of the funds needed to live to a reasonable standard in London is currently estimated at approximately £1,250 per month for living costs, in addition to tuition fees (they note that price increases and unexpected expenditure should be taken into account and students arranging initial short-term accommodation on arrival in London need to budget for this).
You may also wish to consider additional initial arrival costs, such as accommodation deposits, utensils, furniture, etc.
Unsurprisingly, accommodation is the biggest spend for students in London per month at an average of £840:
Student accommodation options and costs in London
There are a few options for student accommodation in London which this guide explores further in detail:
– Private halls – buildings operated by a third party company (though some may have partnerships with universities). Similar to halls of residence, laid out in cluster flats and studio apartments. Most will have ensuite rooms with shared facilities (such as kitchen and dining/lounge area) or the studio flats will be completely self-contained.
– University halls of residence – most universities in London will provide places for first-year students at their own halls of residence. They are normally located near the university campuses.
– Private housing – a room in a shared house which is privately owned by a landlord and normally let through an agency.
The chart below gives a quick comparison of private halls (Academic House in central London) versus other student accommodation (university halls & private housing), and some main living costs:
Although other student accommodation may cost roughly the same as private halls, there are hidden fees to consider (figures based on estimates provided by the UCL and using monthly averages*):
Hidden fees with private housing:
Other things to consider:
Furnishings – most private housing is unfurnished, you will be expected to provide furniture and kitchenware (white goods normally provided)
– Facilities – you will most likely have to share facilities such as a bathroom, kitchen and lounge
Private halls are all-inclusive and have no hidden fees which makes life so much easier for students:
– Furnishings – private halls will be fully furnished with some kitchenware (you may need to bring your own utensils and cutlery)
– Facilities – you will most likely have your own ensuite bathroom, and share a kitchen and lounge
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this article is intended as a guide only, as the cost of living in London will differ depending on your individual circumstances and spending habits.Furnishings – private halls will be fully furnished with some kitchenware (you may need to bring your own utensils and cutlery)
About university halls of residence and houses in London
Most universities in London will provide places for first-year students at their own halls of residence. They are normally good value for money, all utility bills are included, and they are located near the university campuses. University halls of residence and houses differ but are usually a mixture of:
– furnished flats with shared facilities (such as a kitchen, lounge/dining area, toilet, bathroom)
– can sometimes be catered, or part-catered, but mostly are self-catering
– can be mixed or single sex, and are large-scale
– providing accommodation for any number up to 800 students.
There is a good community feel at university halls and houses. They are great places to make friends, be part of the social scene and help you feel less lonely during the first few weeks away from home and family. However, like any shared accommodation, you never know who you will end up sharing with and Fresher’s Week can often be a rowdy time. So be prepared to not get much sleep or stock-up on earplugs!
How much do halls of residence cost?
According to Study London a standard room (including bills) is £135 – £210 per week, an ensuite room is £130 – £260 per week, and a studio apartment is £140 – £340 per week.
Many halls of residence will guarantee you accommodation if you have firmly accepted their offer by a given date in the summer but it may not be the same process if you come through Clearing.
What should I look for in halls of residence?
Make sure to take full advantage of Open Days to see the university accommodation for yourself. Check out the university’s website which will have invaluable information about the student housing which they provide, but also options in the private sector (please see private halls section below for more details).
Always try and take a friend or family member to view the accommodation with you and do not feel pressured to sign and tenancy agreement straight away. Remember to take into account:
– does the accommodation have the right ‘vibe’ for you
– is it in a good location
– consider what transport to and from the university would be and how much this will cost you (see transport section below for more detail
– does the accommodation have good facilities
– how many people will you be sharing the facilities with
– can you afford it and will you be getting good value for money.
It is important to check that your university accommodation or private halls are covered by one of three accreditation schemes. These cover essential issues like how the hall is managed, health and safety and security. You can find information about the schemes and check your accommodation is a member by checking the UUK or ANUK/Unipol schemes websites.
How long can I stay in halls of residence?
Most students are expected to move out of halls of residence after their first year, which means you will need to start looking for accommodation and planning who you want to live with as early as November of your first year. This can be quite a stressful process and you will also be expected to provide deposits and pay admins fees (see the private housing section below for more details).
About purpose built student accommodation and private halls in London
Another option for student accommodation in London is purpose built student accommodation or private halls. These buildings are not owned by the university and are usually operated by a third party company (though some may have partnerships with universities).
They are very similar to halls of residence, laid out in cluster flats and studio apartments. Most will have ensuite rooms with shared facilities (such as kitchen and dining/lounge area) or the studio flats will be completely self-contained. Most are excellent quality accommodation with on-site facilities ranging from gyms, to cinema rooms, laundrettes and outside communal space.
According to Study London, a standard room (including bills) in a private hall is £160 – £250 per week, an ensuite room is £160 – £280 per week, and a studio apartment is £280 – £500 per week.
What should I look for in private halls?
Private halls are fairly new to the student accommodation market and have many bonuses compared to university halls of residence or private housing, such as:
– all bills are included – that means you don’t need to worry about utility bills, broadband, council tax, contents insurance or a TV license (only for TVs in communal spaces)
– communal areas are maintained and cleaned
– most have a manned reception desk with an on-site manager
– on-site social activities are arranged and are free of charge to attend
– you can rent a cluster of flats with your friends, or book one room and be allocated flatmates to live with
– you have a separate tenancy agreement to your flatmates/other residents, so you are not liable for any damages or if someone decides to leave
– usually there is no deposit scheme or hidden admin costs, but you have may have to pay a one-off reservation fee to secure your booking
– rent can be paid in full in advance, or a payment plan is agreed – usually 3 installments
– some sites also have the option to book for short-term tenancies and summer lets
– you can reserve and book online, and you often don’t need to be there in person to sign contracts
– private halls are also extremely popular with international students due to all the points above as there is less to worry about!
Most private halls have a mixture of residents from many local universities. The accommodation can be an exciting melting pot of students from a variety of nationalities, and from different years of study. Perfect if you are keen to meet new people and expand your social network.
How long can I stay in private halls?
Most private halls cater for all university students, no matter what year of study you are in. So in theory, if you find a place to live that you really like, you could stay there for the whole length of your degree course – and even into postgraduate study.
A lot of private halls offer incentives to existing residents to re-book for the following year so you can bag yourself a bargain and not even have to worry about moving out/finding a new place to live; hassle-free!
About private housing in London
University halls of residence or private halls aren’t for everybody and private housing is still one of the most popular ways to live as a student in London. This is often because students feel like private housing is their first opportunity to live completely independently without supervision.
However, there is still a lot of responsibility that goes along with renting privately. Bills are not included in the rent and you often have to pay hefty deposits and admin fees. You will need to find suitable people to live with, and you may have to prepare yourself for disagreements like who’s been running up a big electricity bill and why you’re stuck with the smallest bedroom!
Renting privately also means you will need to deal with a landlord or an agent who will expect the property to be maintained and cleaned to a good standard.
How much does private housing cost?
According to Study London, the cost for private housing in London can vary great and bills are not normally included in this price. A small studio apartment in London can cost from £120 per week to over £1,000 per week. A room in a shared house costs on average around £150 per week.
What should I look for in private housing?
It’s worth considering that although it may be tempting to settle for a cheaper private house, it will be cheap accommodation for a reason! Remember to be vigilant when viewing the property and check for any signs of damp or mould.
How long can I stay in private housing?
Most landlords will be happy to keep good tenants in their property for as long as possible. So in theory, if you find a place to live that you really like, you could stay there for the whole length of your degree course – and even into postgraduate study.
Living expenses for students living in London
In addition to paying rent there are many other living expenses that you will need to take into account when living in London. Depending on your accommodation, some of these bills may already be included in your rent:
Confused about council tax? Essentially, if you are a full-time college of university student you are exempt from paying. NUS offers some great advice to help you work out if you are exempt from paying council tax or not here.
If you live in halls of residence or private halls, TVs in communal spaces will already be covered by a licence.
However, if you wish to watch TV in your room or live in private housing, you must pay for your own. You require a licence no matter what device you watch or record live TV and a licence costs £150.50 a year.
These include gas, water, electricity, and broadband. If you are living in halls of residence or private halls these may already be included in your rent. If you are living in private housing you will need to organise payment of these yourself and split the bill between all of your housemates. Split the Bills has some helpful estimations depending on house size and number of residents.
Most insurance providers offer competitive quotes for student contents insurance, with the average starting at approximately £15 per month. If you are living in halls of residence or private halls, you most probably won’t need to sort insurance as this will already be included as part of your tenancy. You can find out more about the different types of contents insurance here.
Deposits and admin fees:
Again, this will depend on your choice of student accommodation. Private housing often runs up the biggest expenses when it comes to deposits and admin fees, and you may also need to pay a month’s rent in advance. Deposits can vary but they usually range from 4-6 weeks rent. Private halls usually ask for a non-refundable reservation fee of approximately £250 when you make your booking. But a bonus is there won’t be any extra deposits or extra admin fees on top of this, as long as you pay your rent on time!
Furnishings, kitchenware and laundry:
As well as utility bills you will need to consider what you need to live comfortably in your student accommodation. Does your room come already furnished? Do you need to provide your own kitchen utensils? Do you have access to laundry facilities such as a washer and tumble dryer, or will you need to use a laundrette (costs tend to range for £2-3 per wash and £1.50-£2 per dry)?
Storage and removals:
Will you be living at your accommodation during the summer? And what are your plans for second and third year? If your tenancies don’t run back to back you may need to put your belongings in storage. Luckily, self-storage is now extremely popular in London and you can store one box per week from as little as £1.04 per week. If you have heavy items and don’t fancy lugging your suitcase and belongings on the Underground, then it may be wise to hire a removal van or a company to do it for you (prices start from £25 per hour).
Some private halls offer storage as part of your contract and if you decide to stay at the same accommodation for the next year you won’t need to move your belongings at all!
Cost of transport when living in London as a student
There’s no denying that London has travel options for pretty much everyone. Whether speed is your thing, you need to travel cheap and cheerfully, or you’re cutting down on your carbon footprint. From walking (which is pretty much free) to Uber (which can cost up to £0.30 per minute), take a look at the options for you:
Walking is without a doubt the cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to get around London. Depending on how close your student accommodation is it to your university campus and amenities, you could be saving pennies and also getting some crucial exercise by walking.
SAFETY FIRST: You will need to research your walking route and make sure to stay to in well lit, public areas when walking alone or at night-time. Do not be tempted by shortcuts through side streets. Remember that your regular route during the day may be far less safe at night. When walking at night it is definitely not a good idea to listen to music. They dramatically reduce your awareness of your surroundings.
Cycling is also another cheap and quick way to get about. Traffic in London is notoriously bad so you will need to be a confident cyclist to navigate the roads. However, there are currently eight ‘cycle superhighways’ across London that connect stations, town centres and key destinations, making them more accessible and easier for people to cycle to. There are also ‘quietways’ that are continuous and convenient cycle routes on less-busy backstreets across London.
If you have your own bike you will need somewhere safe and secure to store it, and your housemates might not be too keen with you keeping your muddy set of wheels on the communal landing!
However, most halls of residence and private halls have bike storage as standard.
London’s public bicycle scheme is another way to get around the city on two wheels if you don’t own a bike – and the first half hour is free. There are more than 750 docking stations and 11,500 bikes to hire around London. It costs £2 to access a Santander Cycles bike for 24 hours; the first 30 minutes of each journey is free. For longer journeys, it costs an extra £2 for each additional 30 minutes. Bikes can be hired using a bank card at the docking station, or using the official app.
SAFETY FIRST: Check what you are legally required to do when cycling here.
London has a 24 hour bus service that operates on over 700 different routes and is fairly cheap to use. A single bus fare costs £1.50, and if you ‘pay as you go’ you can make unlimited bus journeys for free within one hour of first touching in.
If you only use buses and trams to travel around London, you will pay a maximum of £4.50 per day, as long as you pay with the same ticket or contactless payment card every time. You cannot pay for bus journeys with cash; you will need an Oyster card, a Travelcard or a contactless payment card (see Travelcards section below for more details).
London’s buses run throughout the night. Night bus services cover the period between the close of the Tube and the start of daytime bus services. In addition, many London bus routes run for 24 hours.
Travelling by train has to be one of the most popular and efficient ways of travelling longer distance across London as a student.
Did you know that the London Underground’s history dates back to 1863 when the world’s first underground railway opened between Paddington and Farringdon?
The Underground is divided into nine zones and Central London is covered by zone 1. There are 11 Tube lines and fares depend on how far you travel, time of day, and how you pay. Oyster or contactless payments are the cheapest ways to pay for single fares. Tube services usually run from 5am until midnight, with Night Tube services on some lines on Friday and Saturday evenings.
London’s Overground rail services crisscross the city and extend beyond the Tube network. Most local train lines connect efficiently with the Tube and accept payment by Visitor Oyster card, Oyster card, Travelcard and contactless payment card.
SAFETY FIRST: If you take a train late at night try to avoid empty or almost empty carriages, especially if you are on your own.
As a student in London you can save 30% on Travelcards and Bus & Tram Passes with an 18+ Student Oyster photocard. You can also use this Oyster card to pay as you go but you won’t receive the 30% discount.
Oyster cards are electronic smartcards that are used to pay for public transport in London. To use an Oyster card, touch the card on the yellow reader at the gates as you enter and end your journey. You don’t need to touch out at the end of your journey on buses and trams.
It may also be worth investing in a 16-25 or 26-30 Railcard and add it to your 18+ Student Oyster photocard to get 34% off pay as you go off-peak fares and daily caps for the Tube, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London.
It is also worth purchasing a Travelcard wallet/holder to keep your pass safe and use a designated pocket in your bag so you always know where it is
Quickest ways to travel in London as a student
Often the quickest way to get from door to door (no walking or navigating public transport involved!) is by car. However, it is one of the most expensive forms of transport in London so you would need to seriously consider the necessity of using an Uber or taxi frequently.
The undeniable luxury of using Uber to get around London is the ease of it! Book a ride from your phone, step out your door and into the waiting car, no need to fuss paying by cash or card, and then get dropped off directly at your destination! However, it has a price tag… base fares start from £2.50 and then £0.15 per minute on top of that (or £1.25 per mile). Minimum fare is £5.00 and you can also be charged a cancellation fee of £6.00 if you book and then change your mind.
To put it into perspective a journey from Academic House student accommodation in Herne Hill to UCL will take 35 minutes by train (from Herne Hill station), costing £8.00 return (using an 18+ Student Oyster card). To travel to the same location by Uber it will cost between £14-20 (for one way), taking 35 minutes depending on traffic.
So travelling by train takes the same amount of time and could save you up to £32.00!
Surge pricing is also another thing to take into consideration when Ubering. This is when the prices either rise or drop depending on demand. During busy periods when there are more riders than drivers, Uber increases its normal fares.
Taxis and minicabs:
London black cabs and taxis are an iconic way to travel around Central London and will get you from A to B quickly. You can book in advance, hail on the street (black cabs only), or be picked up from designated taxi ranks. If the yellow TAXI sign is on, the cab is available for hire. Black cabs are metered and there is a minimum charge of £2.60.
Prices depend on time of day and distance, but it will roughly cost the same amount as an Uber.
SAFETY FIRST: Be sure you book with a licensed minicab with a Transport for London license disc: unbooked minicabs are illegal, unsafe and uninsured. Uber also has some great safety tips for passengers on their website.
Cost of food in London as a student
By buying and preparing your own food you will save a lot of money whilst living as a student in London. Although the choice of takeaways, cafes and restaurants in London is second to none, eating out less often and keeping it as a once a month ‘treat’ will save you pennies in the long run.
According NatWest’s Student Living Index 2018, students spend more on supermarket shopping than anything else – on average £76.30 per month.
Budgeting for a weekly food shop and planning your meals is the easiest way to save money and still eat well. Having a set amount of money to spend on groceries and a prepared shopping list means you will be less likely to ‘splurge’ on tempting supermarket offers and you’ll come away with enough food to last you the week (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks).
Become familiar with your local supermarket and work out where and when they markdown stock to clear. You can pick up some great bargains!
Meal prepping has become very popular recently. All you need is some Tupperware and to cook up a batch of your favourite dish (chilli, casserole, curry) to freeze in portions. Having a yummy meal that’s going to take a few minutes to re-heat in the microwave means you will be less tempted to get a takeaway pizza. Or settle for a Pot Noodle!
Deliveroo: You don’t even need to step outside your front door to enjoy food from your favourite restaurants and takeaways! 1. Simply place your order online. 2. Track your food to your door in real time. 3. Eat from the comfort of your own home. However, this convenience comes with a price tag; the menu price plus £2.50 (as long as the order is over £15, below and the fee goes up to £4.50).
Uber Eats: Similar to Deliveroo, you can place your order online and get it delivered straight to your door. Uber Eats is available from 7:00 AM – 4:00 AM, seven days a week.
Eating out in London:
London has some of the best choices of takeaways and restaurants in the UK. Local takeaways and fast food chains offer cheap meals but if you’re after something a bit healthier, the average price for a meal at a standard restaurant is £15.00. A meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant (three courses) will be £50.00.
Make the most of your NUS discount and always search for voucher codes to save extra dosh! If you don’t finish all your meal, ask for a ‘doggy bag’ and have the leftovers for lunch the next day.
SAFETY FIRST: Always check the ‘use by’ dates on food and make sure you refrigerate and store food correctly. Take care when re-heating food to make sure it is piping hot. Always write the date you made the meal on the Tupperware container/freezer bag so you know how long you have to eat it.
University equipment costs
On top of the everyday essentials (accommodation, bills, transport, food and drink) you will need to factor in any costs for equipment needed for your university course. Though it might be tempting to splurge on shiny new textbooks, desk organisers, pencils, pens, etc. there are plenty of places to pick up a bargain and save some money.
Bargain books: Save some serious dosh by searching for your textbooks online. Check out used/second-hand books websites for the best bargains.
Discounted stationery: Make use of your NUS discount and check which high-street stationers offer student discount.
Borrow equipment: Buy as much as you can online. It’s often cheaper than buying on the high-street. Most universities also offer an equipment loans service where they are able to lend various items of AV/media equipment to students
Get software for free: Save the Student has a run-down of the best free software for students, saving you some serious pennies on office, antivirus, image editing, audio & video software.
Cost of socialising as a student in London
It is important to find a balance between managing your university workload and having down-time with your housemates and friends. Your university years are some of the most formative of your life, with new people, new places and new experiences.
The Student Living Index 2018 states that the longer time students spend socialising, the more likely they are to enjoy studying, and there are so many social activities for students to take part in in London.
So whether it’s a chilled pizza night with your housemates in your student accommodation or a club or society event at your university…
…or taking up a new hobby or going out for a student night out on the town, there is something to suit every person and every pocket.
Student nightlife in London:
You can start by checking out your own university’s SU bar and venue that will have a schedule of events. The drinks – soft and alcoholic – will be cheap and cheerful!
Your university will have a variety of clubs and societies to join. It is a great way to meet new people with similar interests and make a new network of friends.
Student clubs and societies can range from sports, to subject-related interests and hobbies. You can even set-up your own society with grant funding from your university.
Hobbies and interests:
London is a melting-pot of people and cultures which means there is a huge choice of hobby and interest groups to join.
Sport: If exercising is your thing there will be a gym at your university campus, or within walking distance of where you live. A lot of gyms are affordable for students and offer discounts or pay-as-you go rates. Prices start from around £14.99 per month and pay-as-you-go from £4.50 per session.
Try something new: There are many weird and wonderful hobbies in London to try out. Such as butchery (£155 for a one-off session), trapeze school (£30 for a 2 hour beginners session) or weaving (£45 for 2 hours).
Get inspiration online: Meetup is a great way to join a group online. You then meet in person at an arranged event, such as a board-game or photography group. A lot of the activities are free too.
Student discounts in London
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest bonuses of being a student is the awesome discounts! You save some serious pounds by being savvy and checking out what discounts are available:
Oyster cards and travelcards: According to the Student Living Index, London students spend the most on public transport, paying on average £43.30 per month. So it is well worth getting in a student travelcard (please see section above on).
TOTUM (NUS Extra) or ISIC card: A TOTUM card (formally known as an NUS Extra card) is a great investment for just £12 a year. You can get great discounts across university essentials such as books, eating out, entertainment. So pretty much everything a student needs. For a 2-year card it’s £22 or £32 for a 3-year card .
An ISIC (International Student Identity Card) allows students the world over prove their official student status. It also allows access to thousands of targeted student benefits and discounts in over 130 countries. With no travel insurance, a card costs $20. With Premium travel insurance it costs $99 and with Explorer travel insurance it’s $199.
If in doubt, when you’re at the checkout ask if they accept student discount – you might save yourself some dough!
UNiDAYS: UNiDAYS is free to join and also offers great discounts, such as 50% off Amazon Prime and 40% Virgin trains.
Cheap eats: Google is your best friend. Have a good look online to find out the cheapest and best rated places to eat near you. Also, check out our eating out in London guide above for more ideas.
The London Pass: If you’re keen to soak up the sights and sounds of London, then The London Pass will be great for you. The credits package give you access to over 80 incredible attractions, tours, and museums. You will also get fast track entry at many of London’s top attractions and 1-day hop-on-hop-off bus tour. A 1-day pass is £75 and up to a 10 day pass is £199.
Working whilst studying in London
Studying can be expensive. There’s accommodation bills, food, transport, books, equipment, clothes… and pretty much everything else to pay for. So you might be considering getting a part-time job? Luckily there are plenty of student-friendly jobs in London. These include:
National living wage: From April 2019, the National Living Wage will increase by 38 pence-an-hour to £8.21.
International students: If you are an international student in full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study, you are allowed to work part-time. You can work during term time for up to 20 hours a week and full-time during the holidays. This means you could earn up to approximately £656 (before tax deductions) per month during term-time.
Our accommodation in Newcastle, Roman House, is so good that you could be forgiven for opting to spend most of your time in the awesome common room playing some pool, working up a sweat in the on-site gym or chilling with your flatmates in the movie room rather than getting out and about to see the sights of The Toon. We’ll be venturing outside in the Easter break here’s what we’ve got on the to-do list…
Boiler Shop Steamer
Described as “industrial, urban & chic”, this unique space is just a few hundred yards from Roman House and regularly has music nights, exhibitions and one-offs. Boiler Shop claims to be different to other venues and it certainly is; expect this place to quickly become your go-to for things to do and a hub of cultural buzz.
Statistically, the average person’s three favourite C’s are coffee, cake and cats…combine all three and we’re happier than we ever could’ve imagined. The fantastically named CatPawCino and the fabulous Mog On The Tyne is where we’re planning to go on those days where you just miss your pets.
There’s nothing like a bit of sun to make you want to descend underground and enjoy a bit of darkness. We’re suckers for a spook and often find ourselves hankering after some history, and the Victoria Tunnel can provide both. Tours of the tunnel give an insight into wartime Newcastle, with recreations of air raid sirens and planes flying overhead. Worth noting that you also might pick-up the trivia that’s going to win the next pub quiz.
If you’re already a student in Newcastle or hoping to become one, take a look at our fantastic Roman House accommodation here.
Botanic Studios, our brand-new student accommodation in Belfast for 2017/18, is coming along very nicely – check out the latest photos of the show flat here. In the meantime, we’ve been putting together a checklist of what we’ve been recommended to do and see around the city…
Titanic Belfast – the first stop!
This impressive extravaganza of media and memorabilia occupies the space in which the Titanic was built, over one hundred years ago. We can’t wait to explore the replicas of the passenger accommodation and ride through the recreation of the city’s shipyard (apparently, it even smells authentic!). Will the “was there enough room for two on the raft” debate be solved? Probably not, but you never know.
Crumlin Road Gaol – just to lighten things up…
We’re a bit of a sucker for the supernatural, so we’ll surely be trying to get spooked by visiting one of Belfast’s grizzlier historic sites. The cramped cells of C-Wing and the chilling execution chamber make for a chastening experience; ‘The Crum’ is high on our to-do list.
St. George’s Market – variety is the spice of life.
Built in 1896, this is Ireland’s oldest operating market, but the live music and amazing food stalls on a Saturday make it sound like more of a party than you might first expect! We’re looking forward to flowers, fish, food, homely things and second hand thriftiness whilst enjoying the furore of this Belfast bonanza.
Cathedral Quarter– bar scene? Now we’re talking…
The place to see and be seen, Cathedral Quarter is home to some of the greatest establishments in the city; from traditional Irish pubs with live music to the quirkiest candle lit bars around. Special mention must be given to the Black Box venue, which always has something going on, from music to theatre to comedy to art. Basically, a guarantee of a good time!
Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge – is there a reward for crossing it or…?
Everybody knows that Ireland isn’t all about city living, so it’s time to head North and visit the Antrim Coast. Scenic coastlines and gorgeous driving routes make the journey alone worthwhile, let alone conquering the Carrick-a-Rede. It’ll be a definite movie moment when we Indiana Jones it across to the other side. There’s another way back, right?
Are you studying in Belfast this year? Take a look at our brand new, city-centre student accommodation here.
It is permanently drummed in to us that volunteering while at Uni is a great way to ‘boost your CV’ but does it really work or is it just a way to fill space on your CV to look more interesting to the person reading it? Well from personal experience, it has 100% helped me land the job as a graduate in the field I wanted. That said, you can’t just do any old volunteering and expect it do the trick – you need to carefully pick something that helps you demonstrate a quality you might not get to shout about though studying or part time work. So how do you find the right experience for you?
Part time Sabbatical Officer
Ok so these are a lot less glamorous than the full time equivalents, but they can do wonders for the CV however some universities might have restrictions on who can apply for some of the posts. They range from LGBT and disabilities officers to things like Community Engagement and departmental specific positions.
Great if you are looking to shout about – management, executive work, policy or business experience
Being part of a larger group can make it easier to do some volunteering, most universities have a RAG (Raise and Give) week where lots of society get involved doing all kinds of things for charity. Alternatively there are often societies for causes already established who spend the year fundraising for there cause.
Great if you are looking to shout about – humanitarian issues, fundraising, your fun side
If you play a sport can level up your involvement by becoming part of the executive team that help keep the team/sport going thought the year, from being in charge of the transport for matches, organising the finances to washing the team kits there are loads of positions available and people to supply you doing it.
Great if you are looking to shout about – teamwork, leadership, time management, fitness
Writing for your student paper can be a great way to get in to some cool places (I once got free tickets to a launch even that give me a free 3 piece tailored suit!) and meeting cool people, it can also be a great place to express views and creativity. Lots of universities also have Radio Stations and TV stations that are great to get involved with and loads of fun, its also a great way to show how confident (and charming) you are.
Great if you are looking to shout about – writing skills, copy writing, creativity, journalism, confidence
Academic Rep/ Course Rep
Always a staple in universities these reps can help shape your course and degree. They may not be taken very seriously by students but for the right subjects they can give a good indication about your dedication to the subject you study and the industry as a whole.
Great if you are looking to shout about – dedication to your subject, team work
Not in Uni
Travel the world
If you don’t think you can spend some time every week volunteering then maybe this is the answer for you. The down side is it often costs money to get the flights and visas sorted. There are some amazing opportunities from teach children to working with fluffy (and not so fluffy) animals! Check out https://www.gap360.com/ for more info!
Great if you are looking to shout about – traveling, humanitarian issues, environmental issues, adventure
Work with the elderly/young
Mentoring is always super rewarding, be that working with children in a school to help them realise their potential or helping the older generation with anything from their weekly shopping to getting online. There maybe some red tape to get thought before you can do this – but companies, schools and charities are always looking for students to get involved.
Great if you are looking to shout about – Your kindness, humanitarian issues, teaching/mentoring, heath care
Get busy with your Hands
Help redecorate a community hall, assist in teaching a free class, get involved in local art projects. If you want to show you can do something really different from your degree – maybe you have a skill or hobby you can share with people. Check out for literally thousands of different opportunities all over the country https://do-it.org/
Great if you are looking to shout about – your great attitude, humanitarian issues, pretty much anything
Another one that doesn’t take much time, but has some pretty sweet benefits is festival volunteering. Work two days as a carpark attendant and get free entry in to the rest of the music festival. Perfect if you want to do something awesome with your time but can’t afford the £££ for a ticket to a kick ass event.
Great if you are looking to shout about – er… not sure. But its still cool!
This has become a bit of a dirty work in recent years as students (rightly so!) push back against companies who basically want free work from someone. But if you find the right one they can be great, just make sure you are getting a fair deal and the experience is worth the time. University career services can help you find the perfect internship/placement.
Great if you are looking to shout about – your knowledge, experience in the workplace, dedication
Get down with your Nerd self
Library and Museums may not sound very glamours but they can provide some of the most interesting and rewarding opportunities. From doing tours, teaching kids to read, or even learning more about local history there are some really cool things hidden in museum storage. This is guarantied to make people look twice at your CV as it fools people in to thinking you are a proper grown up! (seriously from experience this one is gold)
Great if you are looking to shout about – wider interests, local issues, humanitarian issues, how well read you are
Do you have strong political views, maybe you just feel strongly about one issue. Either way volunteering within a political party can be really rewarding and help shape the future of the country!You don’t even have to volunteer with one party, you could help out at your local council offices.
Great if you are looking to shout about – politics, humanitarian issues, business
Being a prospective student can be both exciting and stressful, especially when you are about to move to a different city or even country. Not only do you not know much about the area, but it can also be quite difficult to find information about it, thats relevant to students. But help is at hand! We have created a Bradford guide for prospective students, which will tell you everything you need to know about the city.
In Bradford the most used and affordable means of transportation is the Free City Bus. And as the name says, it is free- for everyone. There are bus stations for it all around Bradford city centre, where it stops every ten minutes. The University of Bradford is one of the stations, for those who live far from it.
Also, the students from School of Management don`t have to worry about their transport there because the university provides a bus, leaving every 30 minutes from the University gym, which is at the top of the main campus.
If you want to take a trip to the surrounding areas, you have two choices: the train or the bus. In Bradford there are two train stations: Forster Square and Interchange and the tickets can be purchased on the National Rail website.
Buses that go to the surrounding areas of Bradford, you can look them up here: Metro Bus
For long distance travels, you can either go by train or use one of the cheap coach services. These are National Express and Megabus.
For short-distance travelling, you can use one of the local taxi companies. The fares usually start at £2.50 a mile and the most you will pay to get across the city centre is £5. Its always best to call a cab rather than flag one down as they are normally cheaper!
Bradford might not be a huge shopping city, but there are a few options you can choose from. If you want to go shopping for food, the places you might consider are ASDA , Tesco, Sainsburys , Morrisons Lidl and Aldi. All of which are on the free city bus route.
Boots and Superdrug are for health, beauty, skincare and hair products, pharmacy and prescriptions they are situated in the main shopping centre of the city.
For clothing, Bradford has all the main staples (like a primark and newlook) in the Kirgate Shopping Centre, but a new shopping mall is being built in Bradford, with plans for completion in December 2015 with even more options.
There is also a brand new development called Sunbridgewells Tunnels which is planned underground market right in the heart of Bradford’s historic trading quarter.
If all else fails hop on a train and head to Leeds for more shops than you could ever need!
Night life & Takeaways:
Bradford doesn’t have a huge range of nightclubs, but they are friendly and the relaxed atmosphere definitely compensates for it. The most popular nightclubs for students in Bradford are: Tokyo, Flares & Reflex, Love Apple and Tequila. Nor forgetting the Student Union Bar and nightclub. Wednesdays are fridays are the main student nights to go out, with drink offers tailored just for you!
If that isn’t enough for you there is the clubbing mecca that is Leeds, where there are literally 100’s of bars and clubs. A train to leeds is cheap enough and the first train back is about 5am in the morning (but if you can’t hack clubbing all night long a taxi costs about £25, which is pretty cheap when split between 4 people)
Chinese, Indian, Italian, Pakistani and even Greek- there is a takeaway for every taste (and every night of the week). Most of them have a delivery option, and the best place to find them is Just-Eat. However, a quick Google Search will show every takeaway in your area.
Bradford also has an IMAX cinema located at the National Media Museum they do a lot of midnight showings and all the latest IMAX blockbusters.
Bradford has a thriving Independent quarter (around North parade at the top end of the city shopping area) with many quirky shops, bars and restaurants its a great place to meet people and hang out.
Still, being in Bradford for three or more years requires more than the aforementioned, so if you feel adventurous, feel free to visit the most popular surrounding areas. Some of these are: Saltaire, Ilkley, Airedale, Keighley, Bingley which are only few minutes away by train. If these are not enough, you might want to visit some of the bigger cities such as Leeds, Manchester, York or Sheffield. All of which are only an hour or so away via train or bus!
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