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Student Accommodation and living costs in the UK

Student Accommodation

With such big student populations in most towns and cities in the UK, finding somewhere to live shouldn’t be too hard. Most universities will provide accommodation anyway, and as an international student you may even be guaranteed a room – so contact them to check. If you do have to sort it out yourself it is much easier if you are already here.

So plan ahead, ask the universities for a list of approved landlords and/ or properties, and arrive in the UK at least a few  weeks before term starts so that you have chance to find somewhere to live.

Book into a hostel or hotel for a week or two, and arrange some viewings as a matter of priority. It shouldn’t take you long, but equally, don’t rush – wherever you choose you’ll be living there for up to a year, so you have to be comfortable.

Living costs for Students

It is extremely difficult to predict the living costs of British students – some will live at home, have all their meals cooked for them and all their bills paid and spend little on travel costs, whilst others (the majority) will have to budget for rent and food and train fares on a regular basis.

How can it be predicted what an individual student will spend on alcohol, or books, or clothes? In reality, it can’t. However, the law of averages says that students living in London and the South East need to find around £9,200 per year for their day-to-day life, whilst elsewhere in the UK the sum may be around £7,200.

For international students who make regular trips home, of course, this figure may need to be a few hundred pounds more.
There are various things that can help you with living costs.

A lot of restaurants and clubs will run deals or specific student nights, and joining the National Union of Students (NUS) will provide you with a student card that will get you discounts in a wide variety of high street shops (although unfortunately not in supermarkets).

Insurance for Students

Be aware of the different types of insurance that you might need:

Travel – various cost effective policies available. Try companies such as Flexicover for affordable deals.

Contents – your possessions may be covered if you are staying in halls, but this is not guaranteed so you will have to check your residence contract. If you are in a flat or houseshare you are likely to have to take out extra insurance.

Health – you are likely to be covered, but it may be dependent on your home country and the length of your studies.
Endsleigh Insurance has links with the NUS and has specialist insurance that has been designed for international students.

Student cards
It would be a good idea to get an NUS card – it will be vital for getting the student discount in high street shops and at the cinema. Getting your card will be one of the things you are encouraged to do in Freshers’ Week.

If you are a student in your home country you can also get an International Student Identification Card, which will also offer you discounts. If you are under the age of 25 but not a student in your home country you are eligible for the International Youth Travel Card.
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