As an international student coming to London, you might be feeling nervous as well as excited. Don't worry – this is normal. We'd like to reassure you that there is nothing to worry about. London is a very welcoming city – and one of the most multinational in the world. You'll quickly get used to your new home – especially if you know what to expect. Below is some information about four key aspects of London life – transport, restaurants, groceries, and entertainment.
The sooner you get to know the city's public transport systems, the more comfortable you'll feel and the more fun you'll have. As you'll find out (if you haven't already found out during a previous visit to London), it is extremely easy to get around London because everything is so reliable – especially the Tube (AKA the London Underground).
We recommend that you apply for a student Oyster card, because it will save you money and allow you to travel around the city with ease. You simply top the card up with money, which automatically comes off the card each time you use the Tube, the Overground, or the bus.
If you ever need help, the Transport for London (TfL) website is very useful – there is a journey planner for you to use, timetables for the many services, and a lot of general information.
Being in London, you may be eager to try signature English dishes – such as Beef Wellington, Sunday roast, and of course, fish and chips. You can enjoy these meals in traditional pubs all over the city. There is a map on the Londonist website showing many places where you can get a delicious Sunday roast.
There will probably be many good restaurants within walking distance from your accommodation, which means you will have the cuisine of many different countries to choose from. Eating out in London offers endless possibilities, because it is such a large and multicultural place – which means you can get a taste of home if you ever need or want one.
Of course, you will also need to buy groceries. Fortunately, no matter where you are in central London, there will always be a supermarket or a mini supermarket close by. There are hundreds of Tesco Express stores in London – the addresses for all of which are listed on the Tesco website.
There are also many small Sainsbury's stores, a lot of Waitrose stores (which sell luxury groceries), and many more options to choose from – such as Aldi and Lidl. You'll find your favourites yourself soon enough.
When you want to take a break from your studies, or when you feel like heading out for the evening, there are plenty of entertainment choices. If you like movies, there are many cinemas all across the city – some which show Hollywood blockbusters, and others which show arthouse, independent and non-English language films.
London's theatre shows are renowned all over the world. To enjoy a show, you just need to head to the West End, which is where most of the theatres are. This is very close to Oxford Circus and Soho, which is where many of London's best shops and bars are located.
Finally, if you like music, the possibilities are once again endless. London hosts hundreds of gigs (music concerts and performances) every night, so it would be wise to regularly check schedules online. The TimeOut website is very good for this, as it shows all the upcoming gigs taking place in London – and you can view schedules by day, week and month.
In-depth London area guides
If you already know which Pure residence you'll be staying at, we have a specific guide for each one: