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THE UK: Destination Guides

Campus vs non-campus university life in London

Where you live makes up so much of your university experience. If you’re an international student moving to London, you may be wondering whether you should live on or off campus. We take a look at the benefits of both.

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London attracts students from all over the globe, and it’s clear why. The city is a hub of different cultures and is home to some of the best universities around the world. What should you do? Choose a university with a campus or decide to live in the city? 


There are certainly benefits to either and one may be better for you depending on what you’re looking for. 


Advantages of campus living in London 


There are many benefits to campus living at any university, in any city, but people who are studying in London will likely find that life on campus has a lot to offer compared to universities with no campus.  


More student-friendly 


Campuses are designed with students in mind, from their locations to what’s available there, students often feel very comfortable living in these places. This can be a bonus wherever you are studying, but it can be especially comforting in London. 


London, like any major city, can be quite daunting if it’s your first time there. It can make international students feel quite stressed. This is probably even more so if it’s your first time in the country too. It’s completely normal to feel a little intimidated and nervous by it all.  


London is a very safe city, it ranked in the top 15 safest cities in the world according to The Economist. However, it can be nice for students to have an area that they know well that’s also full of other students. Campus living gives you that safe area and allows you to explore London in your own time. 


Meet more of your fellow students 


When you live off campus, you may live with another student or two and interact with the students on your course, but you miss out on the feeling of being surrounded by your fellow students.  


Campuses are quite literally full of other students at your university, all on a variety of different courses. This can be the perfect environment for enjoying the overall university experience, making friends and meeting a broad range of people from all over the world. 


It has everything you need 


When you move to a new place, it can take a while to get used to your new surroundings. Finding what you need and are used to having is one of the most important first things you can do. It will make you feel much more comfortable in your new home. 


Having things like a food shop, bus stop, cafe and a restaurant or two that you really like will truly make living in your new city much easier. When you live on a campus, this is completely taken care of for you, as there will be everything you need there and more.  


A major criticism of campuses all over the world is that they create a bubble for students to live. It’s a place where students are protected from the outside world and doesn’t encourage them to explore elsewhere. However, this can be very comforting and convenient for international students that are still getting used to everything. 


When anything you may need is right on your doorstep, moving far from home can be made that much smoother. 


Take a look at campus life at Brunel University, London.



Advantages of living off campus in London 


Though campus living might sound very appealing, living off campus also has a lot to offer and it’s important to consider your options before making a decision. 


Get to know the city 


Students move abroad for a number of reasons and a big one for many students, is the desire to live somewhere new and experience a different culture. 


If you’re a student moving to London, it’s highly likely that you want to know what it’s like to live there and get an authentic experience of life in the capital of the England. Living off campus and in the city, itself can truly give you what you’re looking for. 


Learning how to use public transport, finding areas that you love and getting to know what different parts of the city have to offer are all made more possible when living off campus.  


More choice 


Accommodation on university campuses is ideal for many students but living off campus can truly open up your options when it comes to where you live. Perhaps you need more space and want to look for something bigger? The cost of living in the capital of England is quite high and maybe you want to save money and find somewhere cheaper to live? 


No matter what your needs are, living off campus certainly gives you more options. Take a look at figures published by a popular rental website in the UK, SpareRoom



Cost per month (on average) 

London Campus 

GBP 769 (USD 935) 

London Off Campus 

GBP 500 (USD 608) to GBP 1,000 (USD 1,216) 


When comparing this to the average campus accommodation cost in the city, students will find a slightly higher average cost at GBP 790 (USD 966).  


While this may seem only minor when comparing the two prices, after taking into consideration how much prices can vary with off campus accommodation, it’s clear that students really have the choice of spending less if they wish.  


If you’re considering moving to the UK, take a look at our cost of living guide. 


Easier to stay and work 


Staying in the country you’re studying in is often an option for students, one that many happily take up. Whether it’s because they love where they are or due to there being better job opportunities, staying longer is a popular option for lots of postgraduates studying abroad. 


In the UK, postgraduates can apply for a graduate visa to stay for an extra 2 years, which allows recent graduates to apply for a post-study work visa.  Students who have lived off campus may find this much easier to continue living in the city 


Firstly, you may have the option of staying where you are. If you are a private tenant while you’re a student, you might have the option of continuing your rental agreement. Landlords often state the length of a contract is, but there is usually an option to extend this if you want. 


The average contract length in the UK for a rental property is 1-2 years, after this period tenants are often given the option to sign up for another year or two.  


If you do want to leave your current place, having years of rental history behind you can really help when applying to live somewhere new. Landlords like to know that their prospective tenants have a history of paying rent on time and can be trusted.  


If you’ve only lived in campus accommodation before, you won’t have a rental history and therefore may find it a little more difficult to rent after graduation. 


London is an exciting city and can be a great place to take your studies. With accommodation there, you really have two great choices to choose from as campus and off-campus living both have their benefits. 

Study in the UK


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