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GreysAnatomy

How expensive is it to live in London, UK?

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I am thinking of doing a 4 month exchange at Queen Mary School of London from September-December. I was wondering if someone could provide insight about finances. How expensive are the following: rent near campus/in downtown London (for a bachelor/shared kitchen apartment), groceries/week, transportation (via Oyster card? how does this work?) other expenses?

Please clarify if you are talking about Canadian Dollars or Pounds - thanks folks!

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Transportation on the underground is much more expensive than Toronto. A monthly Oyster pass was roughly double the cost of a monthly TTC pass if I remember rightly, so 150 GBP roughly. Keep in mind too fares are calculated based on zone travel there.

General rule, expect less for more money. Don't bother doing the CAD to GBP conversion all the time because you'll drive yourself insane. You need to orient yourself to understanding that the pricing is different there. Food from the supermarket I found to be higher quality in general and more options, but with an uptick in price. I'd expect you'll need to increase your weekly food budget by around $30.

There are a lot of universities in London, so you can definitely find someplace affordable as long as you don't mind having several roommates. Expect at least 450 GBP a month so roughly $900. It also depends where you want to live. Farther out to the east end gets less expensive, but unless you get very lucky or have money to kick around, I think finding a place alone may be a bridge too far.

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It's probably the most expensive city in Europe. May be one of the most expensive in the world. But I'd say it's likely worth the experience, unless you already have a bunch of debt.

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On 1/11/2018 at 9:37 PM, GreysAnatomy said:

I am thinking of doing a 4 month exchange at Queen Mary School of London from September-December. I was wondering if someone could provide insight about finances. How expensive are the following: rent near campus/in downtown London (for a bachelor/shared kitchen apartment), groceries/week, transportation (via Oyster card? how does this work?) other expenses?

Please clarify if you are talking about Canadian Dollars or Pounds - thanks folks!

For ideas of places to live, http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/find.html?locationIdentifier=POSTCODE^269204&maxPrice=600&radius=5.0&includeLetAgreed=false might be a place to start - that's centred on Queen Mary's postcode, with a range of 5 miles, and max price set to £600 (about $1000/month). In your price bracket, you're almost certainly looking for a place with roommates (I just applied a filter to that to exclude houseshares, and the number available halved, and about 70% of the ones I can see left are still like '1 bedroom in a 4 bedroom house').

 

Student oyster card fees and caps at https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/fares/caps-and-travelcard-prices?ticketType=Student18PlusQueen Mary's is in zone 2.

 

Groceries a week is going to depend on a lot, like... what you like to eat, what you're prepared to get, and pay for - I used to run about £15/week ($25), although I understand most of my friends spent a bit more than that. Obviously if you're stopping at Starbucks every morning, that shoots up.

 

Big expenses you've missed are sociability (going out in London is excruciating to your bank balance - average cost is £4.20 (about $7) for a pint (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/07/london-no-longer-uks-expensive-place-buy-pint-beer/) and travel (if you're there for four months, should probably take advantage of easy cheap short trips to mainland Europe - eg you can currently organise an october weekend in Alicante for $120 plus a youth hostel at http://www.easyjet.com/en/inspireMe).

 

 

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On 1/11/2018 at 10:37 PM, GreysAnatomy said:

I am thinking of doing a 4 month exchange at Queen Mary School of London from September-December. I was wondering if someone could provide insight about finances. How expensive are the following: rent near campus/in downtown London (for a bachelor/shared kitchen apartment), groceries/week, transportation (via Oyster card? how does this work?) other expenses?

Please clarify if you are talking about Canadian Dollars or Pounds - thanks folks!

London is a really expensive city. Be prepared to save up enough money to live there for a few months.

First of all, I would highly suggest you to get an Oyster card. It would help you get around London. It is essential that you always tap your card when you get on and leave the Tube station, bus, or train, as they always charge you the maximum fare amount if you forget to tap when you leave. Since you are a student in London, you would be eligible for student fares, but you'll need to get that sorted out.

As for phone plans, they are much cheaper than Canadian plans. I would recommend giffgaff: it is prepaid with cheap plans. You can always order a free SIM card in advance to your address and activate it once you are there. There are other carriers, but this one tends to be the favourite amongst international students. 

I would avoid living within the city centre. Note that rent is extremely expensive, comparable to that in NYC. I would suggest living away from Zones 1 and 2. Better to find accommodation in the borderline areas between Zones 2 and 3. I wouldn't suggest living near the campus as well: it's known for being really sketchy and usually an unsafe area to stay if walking there during the night.

You will find that groceries vary according to the supermarket you go to. One of the supermarkets in the UK is owned by Wal-Mart (known as Asda), which is considerably cheap compared to the other supermarkets. Other ones include Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, and Waitrose (in order of cheap to expensive). If you are lucky enough to have a Lidl or Aldi (both discount stores), then I would suggest going there instead. Selection is extremely limited, but it serves its purpose.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to message me.

Congrats and good luck with your exchange year! :D

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