Tis’ the season to give back! 5 ways you can help someone less fortunate this Christmas

Tis’ the season to give back! 5 ways you can help someone less fortunate this Christmas

Charitable Person

1. Looking for a quirky present for your bestie? Action Aid has you sorted!

From Pigs, to goats to beehives, put a smile on that special someones face with Action Aid’s awesome collection of charity Christmas gifts. There is truly something for everyone! Check it out here.

2. Support One Kind Act’s 2020 Christmas Appeal!

One Kind Act Changes Communities, and the lives of others globally who may have fallen through the net of the larger charities. See how your donation will help someone in need this Christmas:

  • £10 to buy a child a Christmas present
  • £10 to buy & deliver a bag of festive foods to vulnerable families
  • £20 to buy and deliver all the winter necessities to the homeless.

Donate here!

3. Enter into the £4,000 in the ‘Sense’ Christmas raffle!

Raffle tickets cost just £1, and each one you buy could help to ensure that no child who is deafblind or has complex disabilities misses out on experiencing the joy of Christmas.

Yours could be the gift of communication, helping a ‘Sense’ Children and Family Support Worker teach a child who is deafblind their first signs so they can tell their family they love them and even join us in a special sign and sing Christmas carol session.

Your raffle ticket money could also help ‘Sense’ to bring Christmas joy for children who are deafblind through our sensory festive activities. Each child will enjoy the scents, textures, and twinkling lights we all associate with this special time of year.

Enter now!

4. Volunteer with ‘Crisis’ this Christmas

From Newcastle to London, from Edinburgh to Birmingham – there are many locations nationwide that you can help provide vital services to during one of the hardest times of the year.

At Christmas, and throughout the year, ‘Crisis’ helps people directly out of homelessness, and campaigns for the social changes needed to solve it altogether. Their event will look different this year, but they will still be offering connection, care, food, essentials and gifts to their guests through the delivery and remote services offered.

Fancy being a volunteer? Found out how!

5. Support the Salvation Army Christmas Present Appeal

Many Salvation Army churches and centres across the UK will be running a Christmas Present Appeal, collecting donated presents until mid-December.

You can support your local Christmas Present Appeal by finding your nearest appeal and donating new, unwrapped toys and gifts for children who might not otherwise receive a Christmas present.

The gifts will then be wrapped and distributed to those in need.

5 tips when moving into your student accommodation



Many of our students are either currently moving into their new accommodation, or are due to move-in soon! Here are 5 tips to help you get settled in!


1. Make a check list!

Whether you’re a minimalist or not, creating a check-list is a simple way to make note of everything you need to bring with you, and will certainly help you keep track of your belongings! Although, don’t be surprised if you leave something important at home – it happens to the best of us!

2. Get to know the area

The first week is always a busy one – there’s moving in, unpacking, food-shopping and cooking to think about! But we also suggest that you do a bit of research about where you are living, and find the location of your nearest supermarket, doctor, dentist and of course, takeaway!

3. Socialise!

Covid restrictions might limit certain activities, but there are endless ways to socialise with the people you live with! You could arrange a virtual pub quiz, a game of cards against humanity, or even a Netflix party – it really doesn’t matter! Having fun and talking to new people is a great way to take your mind off things and get connected!

Getting to know the people you live with over a fun zoom call is the perfect way to socialise in a safe environment.


4. Budget!!

Within your first week, we advise creating a budget sheet. From this, you can plan out how much you’ll be spending on things like food and socialising. Whether you plan weekly, monthly or even for the whole year – you’re much less likely to need to ask your friends to buy you a drink when you fully understand your expenses!

Using a simple budget sheet will mean you are able to plan ahead and budget for food, nights-out, clothes and so on.


5. Learn to cook

We’re not talking about turning you into the next Gordon Ramsay here, but when you learn how to cook quick, simple and healthy meals, not only will your diet improve, but so will your mental health and wellbeing!


Top 4 reasons why Birmingham is a great place to study

Location, location, location

Birmingham is the UK’s ‘second city’, and is a melting pot of industry and culture. You can be in Central London in less than 2 hours, but also within easy reach of beautiful countryside and over 8,000 acres of parks and open spaces. Birmingham International airport is also on your doorstep.

Birmingham has 35 miles of canals, which is said to be more than Venice.


Birmingham has a great selection museum and galleries to explore. Discover the rich history of the city and the inspiration for hit series Peaky Blinders, or J.R.R.Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings.


Birmingham is home to a number of universities and over 80,000 students. The University of Birmingham is recognised in the top 1% of universities across the world and has one of the largest international student communities in the UK, with 5000 students from 150 countries.

Birmingham is the UK’s largest center of higher education outside London.

Shopping & food

The Bullring & Grand Central has been the city’s historic market centre since 1166. It has over 160 shops across three level. The bottom floor is one huge food hall, and the other floors have a massive selection of clothes shops. Perfect for student shopping!

Did you know – 15,500 tonnes of steel are in Bullring… that’s a ¼ of the steel in the Empire State Building!


On university campus there are plenty of options for food, drinks and snacks. And the city centre has more than 300 restaurants, cafes and bars in the city alone – plus hundreds more serving dozens of different world cuisines.

Events & nightlife

Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe, with under-25s accounting for nearly 40% of its population. Needless to say, Birmingham is great for a student night out!

Broad Street boasts half a mile of clubs and bars including Risa, Revolution and Walkabout.


The O2 Academy Birmingham hosts incredible live bands. You can enjoy the best upcoming musical talent, but also internationally renowned artists.

Looking for student accommodation in Birmingham?

Check out our awesome choice of all-inclusive student accommodation in Birmingham. All perfectly placed to experience the best of the city.

B16 Studios is minutes’ away from Birmingham City University (South Campus) and has a free on-site gym, cinema room & games room.


Lucas Studios is just 7 minutes’ from Aston University. Many have their own private terrace or balcony to relax on.


The Recording Rooms is only 2 minutes’ walk to the University of Birmingham. And has a range of ensuite & studio rooms.

5 useful hacks for students this Halloween

Take a look at our helpful hacks for a cheap and fun Halloween. Whether hosting a party in your student flat, or if you’re off out into town, we’ve got you covered:

  1. Costumes

Here’s a top 10 list of cheap costumes ideas that are perfect for any last-minute Halloween party invites. Our favourites are the light-up jellyfish hat and pop-art face paint!

  1. Decorations

These bin bag spiders webs are a great way to decorate your student flat. And these floating ghosts are fun to make with your housemates; all you need to do is drape cheesecloth over a balloon or Styrofoam ball using PVA glue.

  1. Food

Check out these delicious spider cupcakes which are super easy to rustle up in a student kitchen. And there’s a huge selection of spooky recipes here – we love the pumpkin hummus and slime bug cups.

  1. Drinks

Get creative and make creepy ice cubes. Simply add a spot of food colouring to water, or even a few gummy worms. This sherbet punch recipe is non-alcoholic and makes a great centrepiece to your Halloween refreshments table.

  1. Games

There are some classic student Halloween games such as mummy wrap (all you need is some toilet paper!), and foodie ones such as doughnuts on a string or face the cookie.


We host free on-site events for all residents at our accommodation sites. From Pancake Day, to Easter, Halloween and Christmas. Take a look at all the free fun you could be having when living with Universal Student Living!

4 reasons why Bournemouth is a great student city

Sea, sand & surf

Living in Bournemouth you have a seven-mile stretch of beach right on your doorstep. And it offers something for everyone. Enjoy long, blustery walks along the coastline. Relax and soak up the sun with your housemates. Or brave the waves and try surfing or paddle boarding. Mercury House is just a 10 minute stroll from the seafront.

Bournemouth Pier & the beach are just 10 minutes’ walk from Mercury House


Bournemouth is home to two universities. Bournemouth University has a large focus on employment after study, and every student is able to take a work placement. As a result, 93% of graduates from Bournemouth University were in work or further study within six months of graduating.

Bournemouth is home to more than 19,000 students and has everything you need to enjoy your uni years.


Mercury House is just a 10 minute walk from Bournemouth University’s Lansdowne campus. And its Talbot Campus is just 13 minutes’ by bus.

Mercury House student accommodation in central Bournemouth has a choice of studio rooms.


Bournemouth’s other university is Arts University Bournemouth, which is a specialist arts university offering courses in art, design, media and performance. It also has a high graduate employment rate of 98%. The university is only a short bus journey away from Mercury House.

Shopping & food

As a true student city, Bournemouth has all the shops, bars and restaurants your heart could desire! And convenience is key when living at Mercury House. Bournemouth’s high street shops and supermarkets – Primark, TK Maxx, H&M, Lidl, Tesco – are literally around the corner. So are all the essential student coffee shops and fast food chains such as Costa, McDonald’s and KFC.

All your favourite high street shops are just around the corner from Mercury House.


Events & nightlife

There is always something to do or see in Bournemouth, all year round. From Bournemouth Air Show, firework displays, Camp Bestival, to a schedule of awesome bands and comedians at Bournemouth International Centre. And what’s more, most of these events are just 10 minutes’ from Mercury House! Cameo Nightclub is also 1 minute around the corner, as well as a great selection of pubs and bars.

You’ll never be short of things to do when living in Bournemouth!


Check out our awesome student studio rooms; all-inclusive and perfectly placed to experience the best of Bournemouth:

Rooms start from £168pw all bills included, free wifi and awesome communal space.


How book-smart are you? Take our book quiz this Book Lovers Day 2019!

Question 1

Name the book by Gabriel García Márquez that begins with the line “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

Question 2

Solve the following anagrams of the characters from Lord of the Rings:

  • Gabbing Boils
  • Oar Rang
  • Goofing Bards

Question 3

From To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, what is Scout’s surname?

Question 4

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, what is the name of the broom that Harry got, and who sent it?

Question 5

In the Hunger Games, what is the name of Katniss’ stylist?

Question 6

What Jane Austen novel starts with the line “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”?

Question 7

Guess the book: “Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: the love of a king”

Question 8

In Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which day of the week could Arthur Dent never get the hang of?


How did you do; are a book-worm or do you need to brush up on your literary knowledge? Check your answers below:



Question 1: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Question 2:

  • Bilbo Baggins
  • Aragorn
  • Frodo Baggins

Question 3: Finch

Question 4: Firebolt, Sirius

Question 5: Cinna

Question 6: Pride and Prejudice

Question 7: The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory

Question 8: Thursdays

5 reasons why living in a studio as a postgraduate student is great


1. Your own space

As a postgraduate student you’ve probably had enough of living the classic student life. And although it may be fun during your first years living away from home; partying until the early hours and making midnight meals with your housemates, having your own space will really benefit your postgraduate studies. Living in a studio you can sleep, study and chill-out when you want to, whilst making your room your very own sanctuary.

Silver studio Lucas Studios
The spacious silver studio room at Lucas Studios, Birmingham, form only £186pw (all bills included).


2. No more queues

Living in a studio flat means you have your very own kitchenette, bathroom and study space. So there’s no more queuing for a shower in the morning, no more waiting for the microwave, no more sharing a fridge and no more cleaning up after your messy housemates! You can do whatever you want at your own pace and more efficiently as everything you need is all in one space.

3. Study in peace

Studio flats are popular with mature students and are even sometimes available to couples, so tend to be quieter places to live. You can set up a study space in your room that works for you and make the most of the peace and quiet. Check out tips for maximising your study space and managing studying stress levels.

A range of all-inclusive studio flats available at Academic House, Herne Hill, from only £240pw. Perfect for postgraduate university life.


4. Value for money

All-inclusive living means exactly that; all your utility bills are included in your rent so you don’t have to worry about budgeting for unexpected bills. A purpose-built studio flat will be better value for money than renting privately as there are no extra fees (such as admin fees, deposits and contents insurance).

5. Less hassle

Let’s face it; you already have enough on your plate as a postgraduate student. But living in a studio flat means less worry about your living situation, and more time to focus on studying and getting the very best out of your university years. Why not check out some of our awesome studios rooms that are available to book today:


Boost your graduate LinkedIn profile with these top 4 tips

Check out how to make the most of your graduate LinkedIn profile with these top 4 tips

1. Keep your profile photo professional

Did you know that LinkedIn profiles with photos get over 14 times more views? A professional photo can help give you the best first impression you can. Consider the lighting, background, and what you’re wearing in the photo. Headshots are best (avoid selfies!).


2. Create appeal with a catchy headline

Make the most of your headline by keeping it short and punchy, for example ‘Marketing student seeking a social media internship’. Your LinkedIn profile is searchable so try to think about what a recruiter/employer would be looking for. And research the right keywords for your industry.


3. Include achievements in your summary

Recruiters can find out information about your work experience, job titles and education in the ‘Experience’ section. So use your summary to show-off about your achievements and what you’ve accomplished during your time studying/on placement. Give tangible examples i.e. ‘I implemented a weekly organic social content plan with an above average engagement rate of 0.21% across all platforms’.

Graduate interview techniques


4. Make connections and ask for recommendations

Connect with your university alumni and ask any employers or people you’ve worked with to post a testimonial to your profile page. You can also add any skills you have separately, to help you really stand out from the crowd. Your LinkedIn connections can then endorse you for these skills, adding extra credibility.

Top 3 tips for graduate interview success

Graduate interview techniques

Increase your confidence and feel fully prepared for your graduate interview by following these 3 top tips:

1. Research the employer

– Revisit the employer research you did when you put together your CV and job application and build on it.

– Check out the organisation’s website and social media pages for any details of recent successes or clients, and pick a couple to research in detail.

Graduate interview techniques

– Graduate interviewers will expect you to show a keen interest in their organisation, so think up at least three questions to ask about the employer and three questions about the job itself.


2. Make a good first impression

– Think about your outfit beforehand and make sure it’s clean and ironed.

– Dress appropriately for the weather; don’t spend the interview in a sweat!

Graduate interview techniques

– Think about your body language. Keep eye contact, smile and have a firm (but not knuckle-crushing) handshake. Try to resist the urge to fidget and remember to not slouch in your seat. Speak clearly and not too fast, and avoid phrases like “you know” and “I mean”.


3. Be prepared

– Most interviews will have competency-based questions, i.e. team work, communication, problem solving and time management. Make sure you prepare specific examples so you’re not left panicking.

– If you don’t have much work experience why not use skills examples from your studies, part-time work, volunteering or hobbies?

Graduate interview techniques

– A tip to help you answer questions is STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result); briefly outline the situation and your task or objective, then provide details of what you actually did – your role and input. Finally, tell them what the result was – did you achieve your goal or deadline? Also be prepared for follow-up questions.

Cost of Living in London as a Student

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.

Cost of Living in London as a Student

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!

Fresher’s Week can be tiring!


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.

Research by Unipol and the National Union of Students (NUS) found that private halls account for half of student bed spaces in the UK, up from 39% in 2012 (Source: Accommodation Costs Survey 2018).

How much do private halls cost?

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!

The roof terrace at Academic House student accommodation in Herne Hill


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!

Stuck with the smallest bedroom and no storage?


How about this light & spacious double ensuite room, just 20 minutes from Central London, instead?


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:

Council tax:

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.

TV Licence:

If you live in halls of residence or private halls, TVs in communal spaces will already be covered by a licence.

Academic House Herne Hill student accommodation communal area with TV


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.

Utility bills:

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.

Contents insurance:

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:

Cost of living in London as a student
Academic House and Malden Hall; student accommodation within zones 1-4 in London


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.

The Underground/Tube:

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.

Cost of living in London as a student
Academic House just 2 minute’s walk from Herne Hill station


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.

TfL has a useful breakdown of taxi fares here.

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

Eating in:

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!

The cost of living in London as student
Why not invest in some Kilner jars or quality tuppawear to store your prepped meals in?


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!

Food deliveries:

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…

The cost of living in London as student

…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!

There are also hundreds of music venues and nightclubs to choose from in London, from swanky (and expensive) to student-friendly (and slightly more affordable).

If you want more of a low-key night out, there are literally thousands more bars and pubs to choose from.

Cost of living in London as a student

The average price of a pint in London is, unsurprisingly, the most expensive in the UK at £5.19. So it’s worth taking advantage of any offers or happy hour discounts.

Clubs and societies:

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.

Music: MakingMusic has a free online search option so you can easily find a music group near you.

Dance: You can find the best dance classes in London here with some great discounts available for university students For example a swing dance class with Swing Patrol costs just £6 for students.

Cost of living in London as a student

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.

Cost of living in London as a student
Spend some time sight-seeing and save some pennies!


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:

  • Hospitality
  • Event staff/waiting staff
  • Bartender
  • Babysitting
  • Cleaning
  • Promoter
  • Retail

A job can be part-time, evening or weekend only, zero hours contract, or seasonal if you only want to work during the holidays. It’s a great way to earn some extra cash, but try not to let working get in the way of your studies. UCAS has some great tips to make sure you’re picking the right part-time job for you here.

A part-time job as waiting staff is a great way to earn some extra pennies (plus tips!)


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.