London has more to offer than what just meets the eye
Guest post by Michelle Brooks
Despite the recent political changes, London still represents a highly attractive city to international students. As a host to most of the nationalities in the world, it is the ideal environment for someone looking to develop their cultural knowledge and appreciation while studying abroad. However, with that in mind, it is still one of the most expensive cities in the world meaning that international students will have to make substantial planning if they decide to study here.
Even with all the obstacles that come along the way, there is no need to fear since where there is a will, there is always a way. This article will highlight some of the most popular ways international students can cut down on their expenses without having to sacrifice the fun that comes alongside living in a big city like London.
Accommodation and living conditions
With so many universities and boroughs to choose from it becomes quite confusing as to what international students should do when facing this decision. So what should you do to get your money’s worth? Well first off, international students should start by familiarising themselves with how London itself as a city is structured and how that impacts prices.
The city makes use of a Zone system starting from Zone 1 all the way to Zone 6. Essentially the closer one gets to Zone 1 the higher the average cost of living gets due to the fact that these areas are considered posh. Not everyone can afford buying a bottle of water for two pounds fifty on a daily basis when on a student budget. Bear in mind to check the available amenities in the area since most of us wouldn’t enjoy living in the middle of nowhere with the closest supermarket being a gas station.
Also, think about what are the things you want to live around, are you okay with living in a lively noisy neighbourhood surrounded by an artistic community or a quiet and docile place near the city centre? If you are looking to save up on some money, the best thing to do is to rent a room in a location that allows one to commute to uni for their classes easily and to work when necessary. In some cases, it is worthwhile to check the student dorm options offered by the university or college of choice as they might be in a convenient location and come at a reasonable price.
Part-time job opportunities
One of the most effective ways to help save money in London as an international student is by making money. Understandably one can always rely on a loan from the good ol’ bank of mom or dad, but to help get ready for the future, this is the way to go. Things can get a little tricky as there are different employment rules and regulations for EU and Non-EU citizens when it comes to working part-time as a student. This is where you have to research the specific requirements in question. Be armed with lots of patience since as a Non-EU citizen this might mean putting together a long list of documents some which might need to be translated and approved as official documents. The only way to save up on these is to see if you can find the lowest possible price amongst the various companies offering these services.
Most universities offer a substantial amount of help to their student body when it comes to this and additional allows them to do so without it affecting their ability to attend essential courses. There is also the option of looking for work opportunities online from various sites. However, most international students are quite satisfied with university internships and part-time offers.
With that being said do not expect this to be an easy journey as even internships can be quite demanding depending on your niche and future career plans. As an international student that is still mastering the English language all these things happening simultaneously can become a little overbearing at times. In order to avoid repeating a boring General Ed class that has nothing do with the major, but is needed to receive a complete degree, some students opt to use an essay writer service to get the task done. This not only allows them to avoid having to spend the tuition fees again for the class but also gives them the time and peace of mind to focus on developing their career.
Travel exclusively with an Oyster Card
By this point, you might be sick of reading this or hearing about it, but if you want to save money while travelling the best thing to do is get an Oyster Card. Now the best thing is they come in a variety of options and as a student, you get a pretty significant discount, regardless of whether you are an international or not. The following link guides you through all the specifications and requirements behind getting one so you can travel to explore the city for much less. Since we are already in a new year that often leads to changes in tariffs and fair prices. As far as 2019 is concerned the new fare changes are listed here and luckily for us they are not that impactful to the students using discounted Oyster Cards.
The only downside of doing so is that it can take a few weeks for the card itself to arrive meaning that you might be forced to use Day Passes for a while, according to how much travelling is involved or opt to use a regular Oyster Card.
Consider Value Shopping and Eat In
London is home to many supermarket chains that include the popular Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Lidl, Morrisons, Waitrose & Partners only to name a few. First off avoid shopping on an empty stomach since we all know that always leads to bad things. You end up buying a bunch of stuff that you might not even have time to cook before it expires. But as far as supermarket chains go, each offers their own price range and in-house product alternatives when it comes to home shopping. However, in the past few years Value Branded products have seen a massive boost in popularity especially amongst the younger generations. What they offer is more or less the same product in terms of quality but it is simply unbranded.
For example, one could get an unbranded bottle of orange juice with pulp for a third or even less of what it would cost at a larger supermarket chain. It all comes down to personal preference and always checking for offers since each one can at times offer some crazy deals. This usually works for seasonal products mainly so keep that in mind.
Food is a delicate topic, to say the least, with so much street food and restaurants popping up every day on the high street or just around the corner it is a temptation that is quite often hard to resist. International students should try to plan out their meals and eat in when they can as this will allow them to try out some of the local hotspots.
Believe it or not, people end up spending a considerable amount of food since the prices will always change according to where one finds themselves in London. Another way to save up not only on food but also other things is by attending university events. They usually have a whole freshers week where new students are given out discounts to restaurants, gym membership cards or maybe even vouchers to places like the Carphone Warehouse. The best part about it is they always treat you guys to a decent meal while doing it so why not join in on the fun.
Don’t be discouraged by the price tag
Despite London consistently holding one of the top spots as a rather expensive city to live in there are multiple ways to work around and it. Hopefully, this article can help inspire any future international students that are looking to take their talents abroad to consider London as a potential home.