London is the world’s number one international student city, with more than 100,000 students coming from all over the world every year. They come from more than 200 countries, all looking for the same thing: to study in one of the most diverse, dynamic and vibrant cities in the world.
Many of these students come through the Erasmus programme. This exchange programme has made it possible for students from all over Europe to study in another European country since it started in 1987. More than three million students have taken part in the programme so far, making it possible for students to experience a new culture and learn another language. London is of course one of the most attractive destinations for Erasmus students, not only because of the possibility of learning English but also because London is the one of the world’s best cities in which to be a student.
When it comes to finding a place to live, students tend to choose a student residence because of the atmosphere and their proximity to universities and colleges. In a student residence you can find a room to share or by yourself, living with other students in a friendly and comfortable space. Others prefer to rent a room in a shared house but this option may be difficult for students staying for periods of less than 6 months. Most shared house contracts tend to be for at least a year.
The most popular universities among Erasmus students are University College London (UCL), Imperial College London, the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London Metropolitan University and Queen Mary University of London. All of these are very recommendable options to students willing to learn and make the most of what London has to offer. Each of these institutions is located in a different part of the city and has its own character. University College London is very centrally located and has a lot of international students (30%) but the campus accommodation may be a bit expensive for those students on a tighter budget. Queen Mary University London, on the other hand, is in vibrant East London where it is possible to find a place to live at a better price.
The best university for finance and economics students will always be the London School of Economics (LSE), located in central London and renowned for its graduate and postgraduate programmes. Erasmus student enrolled in this university tend to live in West London, although some do try to find a place in other areas.
It is also important to consider the possibility of enrolling at an English Academy in London. Your English has to be good enough to get an Erasmus place in the UK from your country. Students can also take it to the next level and attain an advanced or proficiency level in English while studying here. Going through all the complex grammar, useful phrasal verbs or the academic writing styles, these language skills will be extremely advantageous and convenient for the future career path of the student. There is a wide range of English certificates available, including the popular Cambridge English (ESOL) exams, such as Proficiency (CPE), Advanced (CAE) or First (FCE).
Erasmus is also about socialising and meeting new people from all over the world. As this city is a hub for international students, people get the chance to discover a wide variety of cultures and different traditions at the same time as studying. This allows them to broaden their minds and make useful contacts. Another advantage of being in a city with so many international students is that you are not the only one living in a strange new place. It’s amazing how easily you make friends when you are all having a similar experience and it can help to have someone to talk to if you have a difficult time adjusting.
Thinking about activities students can do during their stay, there is no room for boredom in London, as the most popular city in Europe with all kind of events. As a new way to expand your social life outside of University, Language exchange meetings are very helpful if you want to gain confidence and become more fluent in English or even in another language. Some popular and recognised organisations include Language Exchange and the Meetup app. The city is also well known for its fashion shops including the English brands of Topshop or River Island all over the city centre or in the biggest shopping centres like Westfield. It is important to highlight that in the most of the shops students get up to 20% discount for any purchase when registered with Unidays, a very useful platform for students in the United Kingdom. Sports are also very important in English culture and London has thirteen professional football teams including Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. However, if you prefer to exercise in the gym, students also get advantages with great discounts like in Better gym.
Not forgetting the nightlife, there are infinitive options for all different preferences. Whether you want to listen to some alternative music in Camden Town, have a night out in the retro and colourful pubs in Shoreditch, or just drink a glass of wine in the posh restaurants in Soho, there always will be an alternative depending on the your mood!
To sum up, London has all the qualities that students are looking for in terms of experience and future career opportunities such as the globally recognised English education system; the best student accommodation providers and events running all along the year.
So then, we’ll see you soon in the city!