Study in the UK- A Complete Guide to Student Accommodation, Travel and Transport

by sakshi.aggarwal

The average cost of living in the UK for an international student excluding accommodation is 137.35 USD per week. Average student accommodation rents are 198.10 USD per week. London is considered to be the by far most expensive city to live in the UK. Know more about stay and travel in the UK further in the article.    

Pre-Departure Checklist for an International Student to Travel to UK

  • Passport and visa
  • Flight tickets and any other travel documents
  • University documents
  • Cash or travelers’ cheques or debit/credit cards
  • Evidence of financial support for fees and maintenance
  • Evidence of TB screening if this was required as part of your visa process
  • Travel insurance
  • Accommodation details

Arriving at the UK Airport

When arriving in the UK, you will have to pass through immigration control. There will be two queues. One for European Economic Area and Swiss nationals and other for everyone else. Your passport and visa/ entry clearance will be checked by the Border Force Officer.

In order to study in UK on a Tier 4 student visa, you must carry the following documents in paper form:

  • Your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) letter
  • A letter from your guardian stating that they are your guardian

The Border Force will put a date stamp in your passport if satisfied that you are coming to the UK to study.

Customs

International students have to pass through Customs Control after collecting their baggage. You will be checked if you are complying with the duties and taxes imposed on imports and exports.  

You will have to fill a declaration form that will be given to you at the time of arrival. You will be imposed with a large fine if you don’t make this declaration or provide incomplete information.

Accommodation Options for International Students in the UK

International students have a variety of options whilst their stay in the UK. You must choose the best option considering the facts that your college or university has halls of residence, which city are you located in, and your monthly budget.

Halls of Residence

Halls are large buildings, sometimes divided into flats where you have either a single room or on sharing basis.

  • The design of the room is basic. Communal bathrooms will be provided in case there is no en-suite bathroom.  
  • Halls have basic furnitures like a bed, desk, and chair. You have to supply the rest.
  • Most halls have canteens that supply food (at a cost) to the students

Self-catered halls

Students get the freedom to cook their own food according to their own schedule as there is a kitchen available.

Flats/houses

Generally, students in their second and third years move to stay in flats/houses from halls. A tenancy agreement is required to stay in a house or flat.

Travel and Transport in the UK

The UK is well connected by various forms of transport. These include several train lines, airports, cycle paths, underground subways, and roads.

Cycling-You can buy a second-hand bike if you can or rent a bike in the UK. You have to register your bike with the National Cycle Database.  

Trains-Most towns in the UK have train stations. 16-25 year of students can get a 30% discount on train travel in the UK by buying a Young Persons Railcard (currently 30 pounds).    

Underground- You will use the underground- ‘the Tube’ if you visit London. Buying a student Oyster card will be beneficial even if you visit London for once as it gives a 30% discount to the students.

Buses-Buses are the cheapest means of transport to travel in the UK. In London, you will need a bus ticket in advance or a student Oyster card to travel.

Trams-A few cities such as Sheffield, Manchester, Edinburgh operate trams. Similar to buses, how you pay varies between cities. You may get student travel cards to travel in trams.

Coaches-These are larger buses for longer journeys. A lot of companies offer very cheap tickets for long distances including to countries outside the UK.  

Domestic flights-UK has more than 20 commercial airports. It is quick and sometimes more affordable means of transport for international students.

Traveling Outside the UK During the Course

You may require a Schengen visa to visit other countries in Europe. In case you lose your passport or BRP, you will not be allowed to re-enter the UK and will be required to apply for new permission to enter it. It may take a few weeks and cost 223.19 USD.

So, you must-

  • Keep the paper copy and photograph of your passport, your student visa/and BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) separate from your travel documents.
  • Leave your passport, BRP and spare money in the safe of your hostel or hotel, if available.
  • Inform your institution about the same. Update them with the new documentation once you re-enter the UK.

Traveling Outside the UK After Your Course  

Traveling outside the UK after your course ends will be at your own risk. There will not be any guarantee that you will be allowed to re-enter the UK. To re-enter the UK on your current Tier 4visa, you will be required to show that:

  • You will be attending the graduation ceremony. A letter confirming the date of the graduation ceremony from the Ceremonies Office.
  • You will be continuing with your course. You will need a new Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) for the same confirming your new course end date. Financial evidence will also be required.
  • You are moving to a new higher-level course having successfully completed the course for which you got the visa.

Note: You must carry new CAS or any letter with you to show it to the immigration when you come back to the UK.  

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