A feature about London is the perfect way to begin the new LLM GUIDE article series about student life in some of the worlds most popular destinations for LL.M. students.
Several thousand students come to London every year to experience the citys rich educational and intellectual tradition, as well as its exciting multicultural atmosphere. With top LL.M. programs, such as those offered at the University of London (Kings College, London School of Economics and Political Science, University College London, Queen Mary, and SOAS), London attracts some of the best and brightest lawyers from around the world. We thought it might be useful to briefly discuss some important aspects of student life that every London-bound student should know before arriving.
One of the most common statements (or complaints) about London is its high cost of living. Many foreign students find that renting a room or apartment, paying for public transportation, and dining out in London can be rather expensive compared to the places they have lived before.
Most students in London choose to live in dormitories owned by or affiliated with the universities. These dormitories are scattered throughout central London, and usually provide decent accommodation at good value. Other students wish to make their London experience more unique by renting a room independently.
For those who choose not live in the university dorms, the price of renting a furnished room (or bed-sit as they are sometimes called) in London usually falls between the range of £320-450 (or USD 550-780) per month. Of course, you can always pay more than that if you want a bigger or more-centrally located room, or simply want your own apartment.
Rent prices in London depend on a number of different factors. Like anywhere, quality and size of the room or apartment certainly plays a role; so does its location and its proximity to public transportation. For example, renters should expect to pay more for a room or flat in the city center (Zones 1 and 2), than if they live further outside central London. And if the flat is within short walking distance from a London Underground (or Tube) station, then renters should expect that luxury to be reflected in the price of their monthly rent.
Since most students find it necessary to travel regularly to and from central London for classes and social activities, living close to a Tube station or bus line definitely has its advantages. If you do find yourself travelling frequently on London public transportation, perhaps you should consider obtaining an Oyster card that allows for cheaper transportation and student discounts.
But for all the fuss about costs, London has so much to offer students who go there to study. On any given day or night, there are almost unlimited options for entertainment and cultural engagement: world-class theater and cinema on the Southbank and in the West End; opera and classical music in Covent Garden; jazz clubs in bohemian Soho; gritty and cutting-edge live music in trendy Brixton or Shoredich; world-famous museums, such as the British Museum, National Gallery, and Tate Modern; the fascinating chaos of Camden Town and Portobello Road markets; and inspiring strolls through Londons parks, such as Richmond Park, Kew Gardens, and Hyde Park.
Below we have included a few links to some websites where you may find some useful information about living in London:
- University of London Housing Services - housing services for students of the University of London
- Moveflat.co.uk - a good source for finding rooms and apartments in London
- Transport for London - the official website of London public transportation (including maps, fares, and information about the Oyster card)
- Time Out London - a standard guide to cultural goings-on about the capital
- Fancy a Pint? - an honest and impartial online guide to Londons pubs
Image: London Thames Sunset panorama by Diliff / Creative Commons (cropped)