International students: getting started in the UK

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Starting university can be a daunting experience for anyone, especially if you’re an international student who has travelled across the world to study here in the UK. Not only is the whole student experience new, but so is the country, the language and the lifestyle. So, if you’re an international student and have just arrived in the UK, here are a few things to help get you started with living here.

Staying connected
Now that you’ve arrived in the UK, you’ll probably want to let your family and friends know how you’re getting on and that you’re settling in ok. But can you use your mobile phone to contact them? If you have a mobile phone, then yes, it is likely that it will still work in the UK. However, if you use your current international mobile service provider in the UK, there will be extremely high call and message charges when contacting home and even ringing local numbers.

So, if you’re staying in the UK for a long period of time, you’ll probably want to purchase a UK SIM for everyday use. But if you want to make international calls, you might find it cheaper to use a provider such as LycaMobile or RebTel as they offer low-cost international calls.

And remember, at The Curve, we offer free internet and Wi-Fi in all rooms and throughout the building, so you can make free calls and video calls via apps such as Skype, Whatsapp and FaceTime.

Opening a UK bank account
If you are staying in the UK for a long period of time, it’s worth setting up a UK bank account. Having a UK bank account will make it easier for you to pay any bills, help keep your money safe and it will also mean you’ll avoid having to pay any foreign currency charges.

There are lots of banks in the UK that you can open an account with including HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Santander, Halifax and Barclays. To open an account, you will need appropriate identification and documentation. Click here for more information about UK bank accounts.

Registering with a doctor
When you arrive in the UK you should register with a doctor at a surgery or health centre in your local area as soon as possible; don’t leave it until you are unwell to register. The local doctor – also known as a ‘GP’ (General Practitioner), will be your first point of contact if you are ill and require medical treatment. See these lists of local doctors in England.

Once you have registered, and have been added as a patient on the NHS (National Health Service) list, you’ll be able to access medical care free of charge.

Travelling in the city
Travelling in a new country can be daunting. But the UK is well connected and offers various forms of transport, which makes getting about quick and easy.

For shorter journeys, you can travel by road in a taxi. Taxis are a convenient way to get from A to B, such as from a train station to The Curve, or back to The Curve after a night out.

To get around London you can travel by bike, bus or the Underground. A lot of roads in the city have dedicated cycle lanes or special cycle routes so you can ride your bike safely.

Travelling by bus is often one of the cheapest ways to travel around your local area. You will find bus stops located in various places around the city centre, with many universities having dedicated bus stops and bus services running to the university campuses.

But as a student living in London, you’ll more than likely use the London Underground rail network (or The Tube as it is also known). The tube is a quick and easy way to travel in and around London. You can pay to travel on the tube by buying a ticket or buying an Oyster card which you top up with money. If you’re a student studying in London, you can apply for an 18+ student Oyster card which gives you 30% discount.

Eating and drinking
In some countries, it might not be safe to do so, but in the UK, it is safe to drink the water from the taps. However, if you prefer not to drink the tap water, bottled water is readily available from all supermarkets, cafes and coffee shops.

In the UK, you’ll find a variety of large, 24 hour supermarkets to shop in. Some of the main UK supermarket chains include Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s Aldi, Lidl, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. In London, you’re more likely to find these supermarket chains as smaller, more convenient, express stores which offer extended opening hours and are conveniently located on street corners and busy high streets.

Many of the supermarkets have aisles dedicated to international cuisine, where you can find foods and ingredients that you are familiar with back home.

But if you want to try some traditional British dishes, fish and chips, sausages and mash, a full English breakfast, a Sunday roast and afternoon tea are favourites in the UK.

If you’re looking for student accommodation in London for 2017/18, stay with us here at The Curve. Contact us on +44 (0)20 7377 5372 or email us at thecurve@host-students.com for more information about our stylish en-suite rooms and studios and our comfortable and spacious communal areas.

Your student essentials, sorted

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No-one likes hassle, especially when it comes to moving house. Ok, so you might not be moving ‘house’ as such, but you will be moving into a new room that you’ll call home for the coming year.

And as exciting as it might be packing up your belongings and heading off to university, there’s nothing worse than turning up and realising you’ve forgotten something – especially if it’s a relatively essential item!

Bedding, towels, and kitchen utensils – you name it, we’ve seen it all forgotten by students in the past. And of course, we’ve seen the mad panics that follow and students rushing to the nearest shops before they shut to pick up any forgotten items.

That’s why, to make your move-in hassle-free and to avoid being left short without those important items, we’ve teamed up with UniKitOut to provide you with all your student essentials. Simply order all your items before you arrive at The Curve, and they’ll be delivered straight to your new room where they’ll be waiting for you upon arrival at our accommodation. That’s one less thing to worry about and a lot less things to pack in your bags!

So, to get ready for university and cross the essential items off your shopping list today, visit UniKitOut. Plus, receive an extra 10% off your order by entering the discount code HOST17 at the checkout.

If you’re still looking for a place to stay in London for the 2017/18 academic year, then look no further than our student accommodation at The Curve. Contact us on +44 (0)20 7377 5372 or email us at thecurve@host-students.com for availability and for more information about our stylish en-suite rooms and studios and our comfortable and spacious communal areas.

Student accommodation at The Curve, London

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Whether you’re getting ready to fly the nest and leave home for the first time, or you’re heading into your final year at university, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a student (apart from choosing your university and degree of course), is where you’re going to live throughout your studies. If you’re still in need of accommodation for the coming academic year, then look no further than The Curve.

Here at The Curve, we offer student accommodation in central London that is comfortable, stylish and affordable. And what’s more, our team are on hand to provide a you with a welcoming, reassuring and stress-free experience during your stay. But that’s not all. Below are even more reasons why our students choose to live with us at The Curve…

1. All-inclusive living
As a student, the last thing on your mind will be remembering to pay the water bill or take an electricity meter reading every month. Thankfully, as a resident at The Curve, you don’t need to worry about any of your utility bills – the price you pay covers the bills and we take care of them so you don’t have to. You even get access to a 100Mb broadband internet connection in your room and Wi-Fi throughout the building included so you can stay connected and up to date with the latest news and trends!

2. Designed with you in mind
Whether you’ve been out at university all day or out on the town for the night, at the end of a busy day, come home to comfort at The Curve. Along with plenty of storage space and a comfortable bed to get some well-earned rest, all our rooms come with private en-suite bathrooms and are fitted with your own study space for when you need to focus your attention on work. And if you choose one of our studios, you’ll have your own private fully fitted kitchen to put those cooking skills to the test!

3. Ample social spaces
Need a bit more space to relax and unwind? Well, you won’t be short of places to do just that at The Curve. Choose from one of many common areas to spend your free time in and catch up with your fellow residents. Hang out in the friendly, open seating area at reception, have some fun in the games room, watch a film in the TV area, workout in the gym or work together with others in the study room.

4. Location, location, location
Nobody wants to be out in the sticks with mile upon mile to trek to get to where all the action is. Well, at The Curve, location is definitely one thing you needn’t worry about. Located in the heart of London’s famous East End, with the likes of the uber trendy Brick Lane, Shoreditch and Aldgate right on the doorstep, it’s the perfect place for students. And with Queen Mary University, Coventry University, King’s College, London Metropolitan, City University and many more all close by, you haven’t got far to travel for your studies!

If you like the sound of living with us here at The Curve, contact us on +44 (0)20 7377 5372 or email us at thecurve@host-students.com for more information about our stylish en-suite rooms and studios and our comfortable and spacious communal areas.

Pancake Day 2017

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If you didn’t get any cards or sweet treats for Valentine’s Day earlier this month, then fear not. The best thing about February is Pancake Day anyway. Raid the kitchen for the flour, eggs and milk and grab your whisk and mixing bowl – it’s time to get cooking! Whether you prefer sweet or savoury, you can whip up a tasty treat or quick snack in just a few minutes. Check out our top picks below:

Sweet and simple
Once you’ve whisked up your basic pancake batter and flipped until your heart’s content, simply serve with lemon juice or lemon wedges and caster sugar. You can’t go wrong with this classic combination of sweet sugar and citrus tones to tantalise the taste buds.

Savoury snack
If sugar and sweet things aren’t your thing, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a pancake or two – go savoury instead! Chop up some ham, grate some cheese and sprinkle some spring onion on top for a more substantial snack or meal.

Sweet and savoury
Can’t decide whether to go sweet or savoury for your topping? Why choose one when you can have both? Fry up some bacon rashers to top your pancakes and pour over some maple syrup to satisfy both your sweet and savoury senses.

Protein packed
Looking for a healthier option this Pancake Day? Pancakes don’t have to be unhealthy! Swap the eggs, milk and flour for ingredients such as oats, bananas and protein powder and make some protein pancakes for a tasty post-workout snack, healthy breakfast or a guilt-free treat.

Now you’ve got some ideas, get together with your flat mates and fellow residents to cook some pancakes and have a flippin’ good time!

If you would like to find out more about our London student accommodation and living with us here at The Curve, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 7377 5372.

5 free ways to spend your time in London

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Being a student and living away from home can be tough at times. You have to do your own washing, cook your own food and worst of all, you’ve probably been faced with budgeting your money – after realising it doesn’t grow on trees!

So while you might not be able to go jet setting around the world or partying every night of the week, there are still lots of fun things you can do with your spare time in London – without spending a penny! And after all, they do say that some of the best things in life are free! Take a look…

Take a trip back in time
Revisit times gone by and learn about the historic events, monuments, people, mammals and much more at one of London’s free museums. You could soak up some British culture at the British Museum and the Museum of London, or spend the day with Dippy the Diplodocus and other pre-historic animals, fossils, rocks and minerals at the Natural History Museum. Learn about WW1 and WW2 at the Imperial War Museum, or get hands on with the latest developments in science and technology at the Science Museum.

Hit the shops
You might not have the money to spend right now, but there’s no harm in looking (and dreaming). Meet up with your pals and hit the shops for some luxury window shopping at the extravagant shops of Bond Street and Mayfair – who knows you might even catch a glimpse of some celebrities out on a spree!

Become a tourist
From Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament, to Buckingham Palace and The Tower Bridge, the city is full of iconic buildings and monuments you’ve probably passed many times – without really stopping to appreciate them. But these are attractions that people travel the world to see, so why not take advantage of the fact they’re right on your doorstep? Become a tourist for the day; take the time to stop and admire them – and don’t forget to snap a selfie while you’re there!

Be entertained
Head towards London’s West End and you’re sure to stumble upon the crowds enjoying the street entertainment of Covent Garden – for which it has become famous for. Street performers can be found outside at the Piazza, and here you’ll be amazed by clowns, acrobats, magicians, fire-eaters and many more acts performing. And if that’s not your cup of tea, check out the opera singers and musicians in Covent Garden.

Go green
Escape the hustle and bustle of the City and enjoy the tranquillity of one of London’s many parks. To name a few, you could enjoy a picnic in Richmond Park, go for a run around Hyde Park, watch the famous pelicans being fed in St James’s Park or play some sport in Regent’s Park.

Then, when you’re done exploring for the day, head back to The Curve to relax in the common area, watch some TV in the lounge or challenge your friends to a game of table tennis or air hockey in the games area!

If you would like to find out more about our student accommodation and living with us here at The Curve, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 7377 5372.

How to avoid distractions & remain focused while you study

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Do you have an important piece of coursework to finish but can’t focus? It happens to the best of us. All you want to do is tick the work off your to-do list but you keep getting interrupted – and you just can’t seem to find the time to finish it! Well fear not, our 3 top tips will help make distractions a thing of the past.

Organise your day
Block out a chunk of time in your day – whether it’s an hour or four hours, to focus solely on your work. You’re more likely to get the work done when you have the time set aside to sit down properly and fully concentrate – instead of getting distracted and trying to squeeze in bits of work here and there, inbetween lectures, gym classes and seeing your friends!

Play some music
Whether it’s a radio in your room, or your iPod in the library, listening to music can improve the accuracy and speed of your work. With music playing, you’ll find it easier to block out other sounds and distracting noises from your surrounding environment. Having headphones in will also act as a visual ‘do not disturb’ sign to those around you – meaning they’ll less likely to interrupt you as you work. So the next time you want to get your head down without distraction, plug in and zone out.

Work somewhere different
Is working in the university library with your friends too distracting? Or is it too tempting to put the TV on if you’re studying in your room? Sometimes a change of scenery from your usual work space can help you regain focus. When you really need to get something done but find yourself surrounded by interruptions and distractions, temporarily move to a different location. Whether it’s a coffee shop, our onsite study room or even to an outside seating area (weather dependent of course), escape to a place where you’ll be able to focus and get on with your work with fewer distractions.

If you would like to find out more about our student accommodation and living with us here at The Curve, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 7377 5372.

3 Fun things for students to do in Whitechapel

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Life at University isn’t all about knuckling down to hard work (ok, it is a little bit about that, but bear with us).  Sometimes, a break from your studies is required, and that’s when it comes in really handy to have the delights of London right on your student accommodation doorstep.

The Curve is situated right in the heart of cool London, with Shoreditch, Old Street and Brick lane just moments away.  So, with that in mind, here are our top three things to do in Whitechapel when you want a little time off from your studies.

  1. Stretching between Vallance Road and Cambridge Heath Road, the lively Whitechapel Market has every type of speciality Asian ingredient you’ll ever need. It’s also well stocked with fruit and veg, cut-price toiletries, phone cards, fashion, haberdashery essentials, flowers and fabrics, proving a fascinating distraction from your studies, and an essential location for stocking up on those home from home necessities.
  2. 120 years ago, Whitechapel was a very different place, with its cobbled alleys haunted by the notorious serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Buildings today that house student friendly pubs, cafes, and boutique shops, might once have been frequented by this infamous London resident – sends a shudder down your spine, doesn’t it?  Relive the horror of yesteryear (and learn the fascinating history of Victorian London) with Jack the Ripper tours, which are held daily.  If you dare…
  3. You’ve finished your shopping and learnt a bit of local history – so now it’s time to immerse yourself in some local culture, at the Whitechapel Gallery. This East End favourite reopened in 2009 following a major redesign and expansion that saw the Grade II listed building transformed into a vibrant, holistic centre of art complete with a research centre, archives room and café.Since 1901, The Whitechapel Art Gallery has built on its reputation as a pioneering contemporary institution and is well remembered for premiering the talents of exhibitions by Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Frida Kahlo among others. Expect the rolling shows to be challenging and risqué.

There’s a whole lot more to Whitechapel than the above, of course, but we hope we’ve given you a little taste of inspiration for what your London student experience has to offer.

Top tips for international students adjusting to London living

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London is like nowhere else on earth (well, it’s a little bit like New York, but our taxis are black, not yellow), and settling into this bustling metropolis can be quite a shock to the system.

Here at The Curve, we’ll do everything we can to help you feel welcome and adjust to your new London student accommodation, and that includes blogging our top tips for settling in to the ‘big smoke’.  So here goes nothing…

Attend your University’s welcome events.  You’re tired, you’ve barely unpacked your suitcase, and all you want is to lie back and catch up on some sleep – why on earth would you abandon your lovely student accommodation to attend a welcome event with a load of people you don’t know?

We know, we know, but the only way you’re going to learn your way around student life and make new friends is by putting yourself out there.  Your university will offer orientation days/weeks, which will teach you about important issues like healthcare, immigration rules (for international students), welfare, opening a bank account, and police registration. There will also be social events to help you meet new friends and introduce you to the surrounding areas, such as social evenings, talks, campus and local tours.

Don’t forget that we’re also around 24 hours a day, and if you need any advice on anything, we’ll do our best to help, just pop down to reception and talk to us.

Personalise your room.  Ok, so we’re not talking about refitting your studio apartment with a Mezzanine level and hot tub, but little touches really do help keep home sickness at bay.  We provide pin boards for posters and mementos of home (postcards from loved ones work a treat) and personal items, like flowers, or keepsakes, really make a home your own.

Stay in touch. Here at The Curve we offer free Wi/Fi to all residents, so there’s really no reason not to drop your loved ones a quick Skype from time to time, just to let them know you’re settling in and enjoying your student living experience.  It’s also a great way to keep track of the gossip!

Join (start) a society. If you miss spending time with people from your culture, why not join an international society? Most London Universities have one where you can find friendship, intelligent conversation, and news of things going on back home. Remember, though, that you will get more out of your time in London and improve your English if you mix widely with all cultures and don’t just stay with people from home, so try your best to make friends with other Curve residents (they’re not a bad bunch, we promise).

There are many weird and wonderful student societies, beyond international ones (most will try and get you to sign up to them during Fresher’s week!) – whether you want to discuss economics, build the Death Star out of Lego, raise money for charity, practice Origami, or even play football with robots!  Whilst not all the examples featured in education UK are London based, there’s nothing stopping you setting up your own!

Come and live at The Curve.  Ok, if you’re already a current resident, you’ll know this already, but here at The Curve we take all the stress out of student living, so you can concentrate on learning and enjoying your time studying in London.  Our custom built student apartments are safe and secure (we have a 24-hour staff presence, CCTV in all access areas, and secure key fob access to both the main entrance and your studio), and our all inclusive costs mean you won’t have to worry about paying utility bills on time.  We’re also incredibly popular with international students, so you’ll quickly find new friends and settle right in.

We hope you found our guide useful – if at any time you’d like to book a viewing of The Curve, just fill out this form and we’ll come right back to you.