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Things to think about before you arrive in London

Insurance and Health

Before they arrive in London, we strongly recommend that students get the right medical and travel insurance in case of an accident, loss or theft of property, course cancellation or travel expenses. Please note, if you are under 18 years old, you MUST have insurance and proof of insurance must be received before arrival.

Students coming from non-EEA to the UK to study for a limited time of more than 6 months will be required to pay a health surcharge. This is part of their visa application.

Payment of the surcharge will be a mandatory requirement and will be paid as part of the immigration process. Applicants MUST make sure they have completed their immigration application and have paid the surcharge for the duration of their visa.

The standard surcharge fee for students is £150 per year. The surcharge is a compulsory requirement as part of a visa application to enter or remain in the UK for more than 6 months. If an application is refused or rejected you will be automatically refunded.

Students from non-EEA countries that are coming to study in the UK for less than 6 months are required to obtain health insurance. You must get this insurance from your own country and provide evidence of this as part of the immigration process.

At present, all EU/EEA and Swiss nationals are entitled to the full range of NHS services.

Airport Transfers

Rose of York can arrange for a transfer service to greet you at the airport and take you to your accommodation.

We can also advise you on public transport if you ask us before you arrive.

Please click here for more information.

Money and Living Expenses

Before you arrive in London, we advise you to bring some Sterling Traveller’s Cheques or cash for the first few days. We strongly recommend that you do not carry large amounts of cash with you as, unfortunately, pickpockets do operate in London.

You can change money at banks, bureaux de change and Post Offices, ask in reception for more details.

According to the Home Office, students are required to have a budget of approximately £1,200 per month for living expenses in London. This is in addition to tuition fees.

Students can expect to pay an average rent of £150 to £350 per week but there are various options. Consequently, you can look at our accommodation options here.

The government estimates that, in addition to your rent, you will need approximately £104 per week for living costs, but this may vary.

Personal Safety and Valuables

The UK is generally a safe place with low levels of crime but, whenever you travel to a new country, it is vital that you look after yourself.

In an emergency, you can call 999 to contact the police, fire brigade or ambulance. This call is free of charge from any UK phone but you should only be use it in an emergency. However, if it is not an emergency, for example if you need to report a crime or an incident, dial 101. Additionally, you can ask someone at your school or accommodation to contact your local police station for you.

It is a good idea to make sure you learn as much as you can about your school and the local area before you arrive in London. Use the internet to familiarise yourself with UK customs, British manners and relevant laws. This will help you to be more aware of crime or fraud risks and less likely to become a victim.

Unfortunately, international Students can be targeted by criminals. This is because they think you won’t know the area and will have lots of valuable items. An important note: if it’s not necessary, don’t bring it. Some valuables are safer left at home.

You should make friends with students who know the area. This way they can show you around or give you advice on the best areas to live in would be a good.

Most importantly, the Police in the UK are friendly and approachable, don’t be intimidated by them.

5 Top Tips for International Student Safety

Before you arrive in London, make sure you know where you will be living. Pay attention to the directions from your accommodation and Rose of York and the surrounding areas. If in doubt, ask a flatmate or host to help direct you!

Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you when in the UK. Realistically, you would only want £50 at the most. Simply use a credit or debit card to pay for things.

Make sure you have travel and property insurance that covers you abroad. Check to see if you need medical insurance too. Keep a photocopy of your travel documents and passport’s data page and any visa information in a safe place.

Keep the telephone number of the school accessible, in case you need to call for help. Our emergency phone number is +44 (0)7551 484563.

Our landline is +44 (0)20 7580 9888 and the email address [email protected]

Young People and the Law

The law treats young people that are aged 18 or above as an adult.

This means that if they are sent to prison, they will be sent to a place that holds 18 to 25-year-old’s, not a full adult prison.

Licensing Laws in the UK

Laws in the United Kingdom maybe different from those in your home country. Therefore, you should make sure you know the basic information before you arrive in London.

These differences especially apply to the use of tobacco, alcohol and weapons.


You must not carry drugs with you (unless prescribed by a doctor). Additionally, you must not use any illegal drugs, including cannabis, ecstasy, LSD, ‘legal highs’ or amphetamines.

You may be charged with possessing an illegal substance if you are caught with drugs, whether they are yours or not. The penalties depend on which drug you are caught with, the amount you have, and whether you are also dealing or producing the drug. The most severe penalty can be an unlimited fine and life in prison.


You can be stopped, fined or arrested by police if you are under 18 and drinking alcohol in public.

If you are under 18, it is against the law:

  • For someone to sell you alcohol
  • To buy or try to buy alcohol
  • For an adult to buy or try to buy alcohol for you
  • To drink alcohol in licenced premises (e.g. a pub or restaurant)

If you are 16 or under, you may be able to go to a pub (or premises primarily used to sell alcohol) if you are accompanied by an adult. However, this isn’t always the case. It depends on the specific conditions of that premises.


It is illegal to carry any sort of weapon, including knives, self-defence chemical sprays, guns or stun guns.


You must be 18 or over to buy tobacco.