Queen Mary University Building

Life in London as a Student

For those who get the opportunity to study in London, it’s a time of your life you’ll never forget. Not only do you get to choose from some of the world’s top universities, but you’ll also be living in one of the most exciting cities on the planet.

Imagine walking to uni, college, or school, and passing some of the most iconic historical buildings you’ve ever heard of. The Houses of Parliament, The Globe Theatre, and The Shard are but some of the sights you’ll see on a regular basis.

So, if you’re planning to move to London to study, or even if you’re just thinking about it, here’s what you can expect from student life in the UK capital.

An amazing choice of universities

London is home to a veritable plethora of enviable institutions. There are 40 universities in London in total (not including foreign ones), so while it’s impossible to list them all, here is a selection of the most famous:


Whether you’re going to be an overseas student studying in London or are moving from another part of the UK, all of the schools in London provide great support both before you arrive and during your time there.


In general, first year students live in Halls of Residence. These may or may not be close to the main university buildings, but are highly likely to be on one or another of the institutions campuses.

Halls are a great place where you either get your own room or share a room, with a bed, place to study, and communal kitchens and bathrooms. In many cases, overseas students are guaranteed to be put up in Halls.

Once you hit your second year and beyond, it’s generally accepted that you’ll find your own accommodation. In London, this usually means grouping up with some friends you’ve made the previous year and getting a place together. The other choice would be to rent a room in a shared house.

Looking for such accommodation can be a challenge, as London is an expensive place to rent. However, many landlords keep accommodation specifically for student rentals. You can check these out in various places – online on websites such as Accommodation for Students and CRM Students.

Other alternatives are to look on your student noticeboard, or ask your student accommodation office to help point you in the right direction. Many landlords register with the universities, and these are one of the best ways to find a place to live.


Studying at uni is very, very different to studying at school (or even college). You’ll have various lectures and classes throughout the week, but by no means will these take up all of your time.

Don’t get too excited, because you’ll be expected to do a lot of self-study and assignment writing during that free time. You’ll have access to the university library, including computers to use, though in all honesty most students have their own laptops.

Leisure time

One thing that many people enjoy at university is sport, and there’s so much to choose from with universities being very competitive against one another and having teams in many different fields.

Hockey is popular, as is rugby, football (that’s soccer, if you’re from the US), athletics … the list is endless. You can find out about various clubs run at your university on their specific website. For example, if you’re studying at Queen Mary University of London, you might like to join the squash club or Aikido group.

In addition to sports, you’ll find all other types of activities going on. From the arts to literature, acting to debating, there will certainly be something that hits the spot.

Night life

You are going to be so spoilt for choice when it comes to nightlife in London. Student nights are common in various locations around the city – for example, Sneak at Xoyo and Catch in Hoxton. Here you’ll be able to take advantage of discounted entry fees and rates for students.

Other student discounts

In London, carrying a valid student card is one of your most valuable items. It’s this little baby that will prove you really are a student, entitling you to a whole host of discounts on pretty much everything imaginable.

You can get discounts on entry fees to pretty much every attraction in London (The London Dungeons and The London Aquarium are just a couple of examples), and on tickets at various cinemas in London, such as those run by Vue and Cineworld.

Many shops also offer student discounts, including outdoors shops such as Blacks, Trespass, and Go Outdoors. In fact, you should always be sure to carry your student card with you all the time, and even if a student discount isn’t advertised, it can’t hurt to ask.

In general, you’ll get around 10% of the advertised price (but sorry folks, it won’t work in food shops such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s).

Special occasions 

Each university hosts special nights throughout the year. These might include occasions such as balls, presentations, or the aforementioned competitive sporting events, but some of the most famous student events in London have evolved over the years.

For instance, there’s the now infamous event where you get to dress up as zombies and chase people, or try to outrun the flesh eating terrors yourself.

And last but not least, don’t forget that you’re in one of the best cities in the world when it comes to live music.

Not only will you be able to take advantage of watching lesser known artists perform at various locations around the city (check out Barfly in Camden and The Half Moon in Putney for venues that regularly host bands), but events such as Live in Hyde Park is an awesome festival with some of the best names in music performing.

These are events that will leave you with lifelong memories, and that (along with getting a storming education) is what life as a student in London is all about.