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The basics
THE UK: Once you arrive

My life as an international student in the UK, in pictures

What’s it like to live in London as an international student? What is an average day like? One current international PhD student documents his life in photos...

Hernani at desk

One of the world’s foremost centres of activity, the move to London is a big one. For an international student completing a PhD, balancing study with the glitz, pace and possibility of life in the UK’s capital city can seem a particularly tall order. But what is it that actually constitutes the daily grind of an international student in London?

We spoke to Hernani Oliveira, a Brazilian PhD candidate studying abroad in the UK about the sorts of things he experiences on a day-to-day basis, and what it’s really like to live in central London. Below, he takes us on a visual tour of an average day as an international student in the UK....


Where I live

‘I live in a share flat in East London, right between Whitechapel and Bethnal Green. This is a picture of inside my room.

There are three tube lines within walking distance from my flat: Central, District and Hammersmith and City, plus the Overground. I found the room through SpareRoom and pay rent to an agency every month. I think rent prices are a little bit cheaper here than in central London: between myself and my four housemates, we pay around £130-£150 (US$219-US$252) a week each, including bills.’


How I get to class

‘I go to Queen Mary University of London which is within walking distance from my flat. I don’t have a bicycle so I just walk there. It takes about 15 minutes.’


Where I shop for food and groceries

‘There is a giant Sainsbury’s supermarket about 5-10 minutes walk from my flat, so I buy all my groceries there. I often buy microwave meals that I can heat up and eat quickly. I also love flavoured milk so I often buy a big bottle of strawberry and another of banana! I do buy fresh food and cook my meals as well: this is a picture of what I cooked myself for dinner one night in our kitchen.’


Where I go to socialise

‘In my spare time I like to travel around London with friends, and sometimes visit museums and parks. This is a picture of me standing on the map on the floor of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich!’


Some of the things I do in class

‘Here I am giving a presentation about some of my research. Sometimes we’re required to present what we’re working on, and sometimes even have the chance to work alongside other students and professors of other countries.’


Where I do my work outside of class

‘This is a picture of me at my desk at Uni. My PhD is about bats, so I’m holding a toy bat for inspiration! If I’m not studying here then I’m studying at my desk at home, or working in the lab. I spend too much time at my desk I think!’

‘This is the view from the window of the lab. Sometimes it’s nice to have a break and look out the window!’


How I keep in touch with friends in my home country

‘Usually I talk to them on the internet or phone, but sometimes they come to visit me! This is a picture of me and my girlfriend Thais when she came to visit me from Brasil.’


Where I am taught

‘This is where most of the magic happens! One of these windows belongs to the lab I work in.’


Discover London for yourself! Browse courses in the UK now and kick-start your plans to study abroad.


Read more:

'3 Fields to study in the UK'

'Student accommodation in the UK'

Read more about Hernani’s experiences as an international student in London:  Moving to the UK: An international Ecology student in London

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