Living in London

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"No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
— Samuel Johnson


London is the capital of the United Kingdom and is one of the largest urban centres in Europe. 

A leading global city with diverse strengths across all economic sectors, London draws from two millennia of history dating back to its founding by the Romans, and also from its diverse population of immigrants and visitors, with more than 300 languages spoken within the city limits.

This wonderous and fantastic city offers something for everybody, from its many free museums and royal parks to Theatreland and the buzzing South Bank esplanade along the River Thames. 

For the latest events, attractions and shows, you can visit the website of the official visitor organisation for London at visitlondon.com.

The International Office also offers some perspectives on living in London.

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The unique thing about MPD is that the ones at the top positions are surprisingly very humble, helpful and specially friendly. I joyfully encourage prospective international students to avail themselves the opportunity to be part of this great Department and UCL.
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  - Sid A., PhD student  

Moving to London?

If you have received a placement offer and will be joining our department as a student, there are a number of resources available to you that will help ease the transition.

Finding a place to live probably is high on your task list. Official information on UCL student accommodations can be found on the Accommodation website. 

Flat shares and lets from private landlords also are available. A listing of private accommodations compiled by the University of London Housing Services can be found here.

If you are renting from landlords that require a financial guarantor, UCL can assist through the UCL guarantee scheme, provided that all tenants of the flat are registered UCL students in good standing. Please inquire with the Accommodation office for more information.

The UCL Union also provides information and advice services for students. In particular, the Rights and Advice Centre can be very helpful. In addition to providing advice on housing issues, they also council students on academic, consumer, employment, finance and immigration issues.

For food, on campus dining options include the Main Refectory and numerous cafes and shops run by the UCL Union. The University of London Union, located near the department just across Torrington Place, also sells food, snacks and drinks at a reasonable price.

Your UCL student card will provide you access to refectories at other universities in the area, including SOAS, Birkbeck, the UCL Institute of Child Health and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

And, of course, London itself provides numerous dining options from the many nearby restaurants and shops. It is worthwhile to explore all the culinary delights London has to offer.

Student discounts

Full-time students can apply for an exemption from council tax. The statement of registration required for this exemption can be obtained from the Student Records office.

Students also can apply for a student Oyster photocard for discounted travel on London Transport including tube, rail, bus and tram. 

Although there is no student discount, the London Cycle Hire scheme provides efficient and economic bicycle transport within Central London.

Your UCL student card also represents basic membership to the National Union of Students (NUS). All around London, many shops and venues have student discount schemes and it is worthwhile to ask.

Work and play

Once you have settled into London and gone through the student induction and orientation programmes, no doubt you will want to get to work. 

Before you start, why not check out this list of helpful tips and hints?

In addition to keeping your mind healthy, it is important to keep your body healthy. 

For students on degree programmes one year or longer, be sure to register with the National Health Service (NHS) for free healthcare within the UK.

Also, UCLU and ULU offer student gym memberships, with the latter including access to a swimming pool. The membership tariffs are very reasonable for London. 

The Freshers Fayre is a good place to start for both undergraduates and postgraduates alike. Give it a Go by UCLU is fantastic for experiencing what the university clubs and societies have to offer.

The department Social Committee also organises events and mixers open to students, staff and faculty. So, introduce yourself and get to know the people in our department. Check here to see the latest events.

Finally, sit back, take a deep breath and smile. The coming months or years will be challenging academically and intellectually. But you are taking the first steps for investing in your education and your future. Take pride in this and work hard.

With a good education, determination and some luck, you will achieve great things. Go do it!