Frequently asked questions for incoming students
If you are an EU passport holder you will not require a visa. If you are a non-EU/EEA/Swiss student, and you either intend to stay longer than six months or you are coming for less than six months but intend to complete a London Met arranged internship while studying, you will be required to obtain a student visa before travelling to the UK. Read our visa requirements information for further details.
Average weekly expenses with the exception of accommodation:
- food: £40 to £80 – you can eat relatively cheaply as long as you do not eat out a lot
- travel (bus or Tube pass): £8 to £20
- personal (telephone, sport, entertainment, laundry): £75 to £100. Again, it depends on you, if you are going to gigs and football matches all the time, you will probably spend more!
Students say that they spend around £3,500 to £4,500 pounds (including accommodation) in a semester, but it varies a lot from person to person. London can be really cheap! There is a lot to see and do that is absolutely free, see Time Out London and VisitLondon for ideas. The costs start adding up when you want to travel a lot in the UK or Europe, or go to lots of special events – the opportunities for fun are endless so it is really up to you to work out your budget in advance – and stick to it!
We do not recommend travelling with a lot of cash. There are lots of cash machines that usually accept overseas credit and debit cards. Just make sure you check with your bank that your card will work overseas and be aware that you may be charged for using your card abroad. You will need to know your PIN. We recommend having one card for everyday use and one for emergencies. Traveller’s cheques are also a good back-up and can be exchanged at banks, post offices and bureaux de change.
Keep traveller’s cheque receipts separate from the actual cheques and make a photocopy of your passport and any other important documents. It is not necessary to carry your passport with you at all times, only when travelling outside the UK. If you do lose it, it is easier to get a replacement if you have a copy.
You will only be able to open a bank account if you are studying for a full year, so you will not be able to open a UK bank account if you are staying for less than six months. If you want to open an account you should visit a variety of banks and see what they require and what they can offer you. You will normally only need a basic bank account, which allows you to withdraw money with a cash card but does not offer overdraft facilities or a cheque book.
London is a safe place to visit. By international standards, Britain as a whole has low rates of street crime and violence, but in any big city it is worth taking a few simple safety precautions:
- plan your journey in advance when using public transport, particularly night buses – Transport for London (TfL)'s website is a useful resource for planning your journeys around London
- if you are planning to stay out late, try to travel home with a friend, keep a taxi number and your fare handy
- avoid walking alone at night and keep to well-lit main roads
- only use black cabs or licensed mini cabs from a cab office, see TfL's information on hiring cabs
- consider how much alcohol you have consumed – it can affect your judgement of people and situations and change your perspective
- do not accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink unattended
- keep your personal belongings close to you and keep expensive items out of sight, particularly in bars and restaurants, and try not to carry too many valuables
- do not walk around displaying your mobile phone
- look out for your friends – make sure you know where they are and keep in touch to make sure everyone gets home safely
We strongly recommend that you take out both medical (see below) and personal belongings insurance for the duration of your study abroad period. This will ensure you get any medical treatment you require and will also protect you should your luggage go missing, your laptop be lost or your wallet get stolen. Make sure you keep the documents safe and know how to claim.
Medical services are widely available, but free healthcare under the National Health Service (NHS) is only available for UK residents and EU nationals. Short-term visitors (under six months) will be charged for all but emergency treatment.
We strongly advise that you consult your medical insurance provider to see if your policy covers you overseas and if it covers emergency expenses such as evacuation/repatriation. If you do not already have overseas medical insurance coverage, you should purchase this for your period of study in the UK.
Initially it is a good idea to either visit the NHS website or see a pharmacist at a chemist.
If you are here for only one semester you will not be able to register with a doctor. You can find a walk-in clinic on the NHS website. These clinics allow you to turn up and wait to see a doctor or nurse, and then pay on the spot.
The biggest pharmacy chain is Boots, which has branches all over London. There are also numerous smaller pharmacies where you can buy basic medication such as painkillers in most supermarkets.
There is an extensive network of underground and overground trains as well as buses and trams in London. These are all maintained and run by Transport for London and are safe and convenient. We recommend you get a Student Oyster card, which provides the best value for money for getting around town.
During the week, the underground service stops at about midnight but night buses are available across London although on fewer routes than during the day. If you are planning to use night buses, make sure you know the route and schedule in advance. The Night Tube runs on Fridays and Saturdays on the Victoria, Jubilee, and most of the Central, Northern and Piccadilly lines. See the TFL website for schedules and routes.
When travelling on the tube with an Oyster card, make sure you touch in and touch out when entering and exiting the stations. On buses you only need to touch in.
You can apply to Transport for London online for a Student Oyster card once you are fully enrolled as a student of London Metropolitan University. You will enrol during orientation week so you cannot apply for your Student Oyster card until you get to London. Because it will take a couple of weeks to receive the card once you have applied we recommend that you get a standard adult oyster card as soon as you arrive in London to allow you to start saving money straight away. Either use pay-as-you-go (cheaper than cash) or buy a seven-day travelcard for your Oyster card.
You may be able to use your own mobile phone if it has roaming enabled – you can check this with your provider. However, this can be expensive. We recommend getting a UK mobile – you can get a pay-as-you-go phone and a sim card. There are many network providers with high street shops, such as Carphone Warehouse, where you can purchase phones from a variety of manufacturers and networks.
We also recommend that you use Skype to keep in touch with home. It is cheap and easy!
Alternatively, you can get an international calling card from a newsagent for cheap call rates. Outward international dialling codes from the UK can be found in the British Telecom phonebook. For example, to call the USA from the UK, dial 001. To call the UK from the USA, dial 011 44. To call Germany from the UK dial 0049, to call the UK from Germany, dial 0044. The first 0 of the number should then be dropped (except when calling Italy).
The voltage used in Britain is 240 volts AC at 50HZ. Most power sockets are designed for standard three-pin square plugs.
To use an appliance from home you will need an adaptor. These are available from electrical shops, hardware stores and Boots. It is recommended that you buy a hairdryer in the UK if needed rather than use one from home that is designed for a lower current.
Britain has a temperate climate and London is one of the mildest areas in the UK. However, the weather can be unpredictable; Londoners get used to carrying sunglasses and an umbrella to be prepared for anything! Our top tip? Layers! You will need a warm waterproof coat but expect to be in a t-shirt when you get on the tube or into a sunny park.
It's up to you, but it's simple and cheap to buy these things here. We normally recommend that you save yourself the trouble of carrying them over.
UK supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose often sell cheap bedding, towels and sometimes electricals too. Bedding, towels and electricals can also be bought from clothes, home or department stores, such as John Lewis, Debenhams, Primark and Argos.
Yes – our careers service, located on the first floor of the Tower Building, can help with everything from finding a part-time job or volunteering opportunity to brushing up your CV and helping you plan what to do after you graduate. If you are a non-EU student you cannot work or volunteer unless you have a Tier 4 visa. The careers service also run workshops throughout the year which will probably be very useful for your future careers.
Your timetable will be available to view once you have enrolled during orientation week. Up to this point we will regularly check module registrations submitted to us and contact you if there are any problems. If we do not contact you, this means we are registering you for your first choice modules. Please ensure that your modules have been accepted for transfer to your home university.
Reading lists for each module can be found in the individual module descriptions in our module catalogue. However, we do not recommend buying any books in advance as most set texts will be held in one of our libraries for you to use. You may have to buy a few important textbooks but, in general, students do not spend much money on books.
Many London museums and art galleries are free – some special exhibitions will be ticketed but students usually qualify for a discount. Here are some of the larger, better known institutions you may like to visit during your time in London:
- British Library
- British Museum
- National Gallery
- Natural History Museum
- Science Museum
- Tate Britain
- Tate Modern
- Victoria and Albert Museum
You can also explore places such as London's South Bank (for famous markets), Hampstead Heath (for woodland walks), the VeloPark (for bike hire) and much more. There is so much to do in London it is impossible to list it all. Although some websites, such as Time Out London, have tried.
An international student identity card (ISIC) will provide you with discounts at a number of sites and attractions in both London and the rest of Europe. These can be purchased from local travel agents, for example STA Travel.
You can also purchase a TOTUM card, which is the most widely recognised proof of student status in the UK. Apply online. It costs £12 for a year but you willl soon cover that cost with the discounts you receive.
Student ID cards will often give you a discount at most mainstream cinemas but it is also worth seeking out some smaller venues. You can also get last-minute discounts on West End shows by visiting Theatreland's official ticket booth, TKTS, in Leicester Square.
You will be able to get a council tax exemption certificate from your student hub. However, if you share a house with non-students you will be liable to pay council tax. Therefore it is often better to share only with students.
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss student, you will not usually be required to show any documents on re-entry to the UK apart from your passport. However, it is a good idea to carry your university ID card with you just in case.
If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss student, you will not usually be required to show any documents (apart from your passport) on re-entry to the UK if you meet all three of the following requirements:
- the last time you were given permission to stay in the UK it was for more than six months
- you will re-enter the UK before your UK visa runs out
- your circumstances have not changed since you got your visa
However, it is advisable to carry in your hand luggage:
- an enrolment letter showing the duration of your course (request from your student hub), proof of fees paid and UK address
- proof you have enough money to support yourself (your bank statements/letter from your sponsor)
If you were given permission to enter/remain in the UK for six months or less you need to carry a recent proof of enrolment letter, which confirms that you still have the remaining duration of your course to complete in the UK.
We send out transcripts once grades are released by the university. This happens in march (for the autumn semester), July (for the spring semester) and September (for reassessments). We will send them directly to you or your university. We supply a copy for you and one for your home university. If you require any further copies, they must be requested and paid for.
Before leaving the UK at the end of your academic stay, you must return all library books (and pay any fines you might have incurred) and make sure that the address shown in your Evision account is the one you want your transcripts sent to. If the address is incorrect and the transcripts do not reach you, you will be liable for the cost of extra copies. Transcripts will not be sent if any fines are outstanding.
You will be able to get a council tax exemption certificate from your school office. However, if you share a house with non-students you will be liable to pay council tax. Therefore it is often better to share only with students.