Arriving in London to begin your English language course can be a very exciting time. However, it can also be an overwhelming experience. You can help to make your first days in London a fun and stress-free experience by doing some preparation in advance. By taking a few simple steps, you’ll have much less to worry about when you arrive in the UK, giving you more time and energy to devote to beginning your English language course in the right frame of mind.
Check you’ve got the right visa
Students from some countries will require a visa to study English in Britain, so make sure you’ve got one if you need it. Visa applications can sometimes take several weeks to process, so be sure to leave plenty of time. To find out whether you’ll need a visa and what kind to get, you can check the UK Home Office’s website.
Book your accommodation
Most London language schools have an accommodation office that can help you arrange accommodation. If you choose a college like Bloomsbury International, you could even live in a purpose-built student residence. Be sure to arrange where you’re staying before you arrive in London, and work out how you’ll get there when you arrive.
Budget for your trip
It’s important to make sure you’ve got enough money to last for the whole time you’re studying English in London. Remember, you won’t just need money for your course fees, but you’ll also need to budget for things like:
- food and drink
- getting around on public transport
- entertainment and socialising
- study books and material
- mobile phone bills or credit.
Plan your travel to the UK
Ensure you’re going to arrive in the UK with plenty of time to settle in before your English course begins. As well as arriving at the airport, you’ll need to think about how you travel to your accommodation when you arrive. There’s plenty of good-quality and regular public transport available from all UK airports but make sure you have a plan to get where you’re going.
Research how to stay safe in London
London is generally a very safe city to stay in, but like all cities, crime does happen so it’s important to be aware of how to stay safe. In general, you should always make sure your cash, passport and valuables are kept safe – never carry lots of cash around with you. Don’t walk by yourself at night, and make sure your accommodation windows and doors are locked whenever you go out.
Research British culture
Living in London for the first time can be a wonderful experience, but you may find lots of cultural differences you’re not expecting. You can help prepare yourself for the British way of life and how to interact with British people by reading about British culture and etiquette before you come to London. You can also find out about food and drink, weather and seasons, and holidays and festivals so that you feel prepared to learn English in London.