Living & Working in the UK
If you want to study at Westminster Kingsway College then you will need to prepare to live and work in central London. We can help you with all of the information and advice that you need through our International Officer at the College.
There are many different options for student accommodation in London. For information on coming to the UK and finding accommodation www.ukcisa.org.uk.
We strongly recommend that if you live a long way away from London, you book short term accommodation such as Bed & Breakfast/Hotels and Homestay. Then look for something more permanent when you are here. Do not pay a deposit for private rented accommodation before you view the property. Most of our students stay when they first arrive in one of London's many budget hostels or with a host family.
Staying with a host family is a good way to help develop your English and you will be in a family atmosphere. For further details about Homestay please email Civi Ling (Email: email@example.com) for information and how to book a place.
Homestay accommodation means staying with a British family. It suits those students who would like to improve their English language skills and have the support of living in a family home during their stay in London. Please contact the International Officer for further details.
PLEASE NOTE: Westminster Kingsway College neither recommends nor inspects any of the host family accommodation advertised by homestay agencies. It is important that all the relevant terms and conditions are read and understood before entering into an agreement with any homestay provider.
Cost of Living
It is important that you make adequate financial provision before you start a course of study. In particular, non-EEA nationals studying in the UK are expected by the Home Office to have enough money to support themselves without working and without recourse to public funds. The following is a guideline to show how much an international student might expect to spend on the basic costs of living and studying in London, including food, books and personal expenses. The costs of travel and accommodation are dealt with separately.
If your food is included in accommodation costs, you should expect to spend at least £35 per week on additional food costs. For students in self-catering or private accommodation a figure of at least £55 per week for food costs is suggested. The costs of books and personal expenses will depend greatly on the availability of library resources and on the requirements of the individual course. Language students may have to spend as little as £60 per year whereas students studying other courses may have to make an allowance of up to £500. Personal expenses will also vary but it would be sensible to allow at least £20 per week for toiletries and household articles, stationery, telephone calls and laundry.
In addition to the costs mentioned above, you may have to allow for clothing, particularly if coming from a different climate, and additional costs such as field trips, entertainment and Council Tax (see below).
Most adults over 18 years who are resident in the UK have to pay council tax. This tax is set by local authorities to help pay for services such as libraries, the police and the fire brigade. It is based on the value of the accommodation in which you live. As a student you may not have to pay council tax, this depends on where you live and who you want to live with. It is best to seek advice from a student adviser if you have enquiries about the council tax.
If you have a television in your home then you must have a valid television licence. This normally applies even if you are staying in college accommodation. Licences are available from post offices and cost £116 for a colour TV or £38.50 for a black and white TV. If you want further information, contact TV Licensing on 0870 241 6468 or visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk.
Britain is usually cold and wet between November and February. Keep warm by wearing layers of clothes, woollen jumpers and a thick jacket or coat. Wear strong shoes or boots which keep the rain out, gloves and a warm hat. An umbrella is essential. If you become ill, and if your course of study is for six months or more; you can get free health care from the National Health Service (NHS).
If you are from a country with a reciprocal agreement with the UK, you will be covered even if your course is less than six months but only if the need for your treatment arose while you were visiting the UK. If your course is less than six months and you are not covered by a reciprocal agreement you are not eligible for free health care and are advised to take out health insurance. See UKCISA for more information.
If you are entitled to free treatment on the NHS, you can register as a patient with an NHS doctor. There is also a walk-in clinic near to the college. Otherwise you should register with any doctor close to where you live. The same applies for dentists. Under the NHS, dental treatment is not free but is cheaper. Local main post offices should be able to give you a list of NHS dentists.
If you intend to study full-time in the UK for 6 months or more you can get most health care free of charge from the NHS, as can your spouse and any children under 16 (or up to 19 if still in full-time education). This applies from the first day of your stay in the UK. If you are studying for less than 6 months then, although you will still be eligible to receive emergency hospital treatment, you may face charges for any other kind of medical care and are advised to take out medical insurance.
Opening a bank account
It is becoming increasingly difficult to open a bank account so we recommend that before you leave home you consider:
- bringing a reference from the manager of your own bank
- bring bankers' drafts for the total amounts of accommodation fees/living expenses for the duration of your course
- open an internet account with your own bank (if possible)
- open an overseas account at your local branch of a UK bank that has worldwide branches
The London Underground railway (the tube) is London's quickest and most popular form of transport. It operates from about 5:30am until just after midnight. You must buy a single journey ticket or a weekly travel pass from a ticket machine or booking office at the tube station. The best way to buy a ticket is with an Oyster card available from all London ticket offices. If you are a full time student taking a course of 14 weeks or more you may be eligible for the Student Photocard Scheme which allows you to receive a 30% discount on the tube. Please ask at the College for details.
Buses are cheaper but slower option. It is also best to buy an Oyster card to use the buses. You can also buy a bus pass for the bus only, which is slightly cheaper than a travelcard. Night buses are the way many Londoners get home at night; it is useful to know that they go through Trafalgar Square.
For information on London Transport call 020 7222 1234 or go to www.londontransport.co.uk
Working in the UK
If you have a visa for longer than six months, you are allowed to work in the UK for up to 10 hours per week if you are doing a course at a Further Education College like Westminster Kingsway College and you may work full-time during the holidays. For further information visit:
Everyone who works in the UK must pay National Insurance (NI) contributions. Once you start working, you must apply for a NI number at any local DSS office, providing evidence of your identity.
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