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Many of our incoming students ask about the safety of London, as part of their adjustment to the city. As with any major city, there is crime, but the most important factor is always to be alert and ensure that you follow certain basic guidelines, many of which will be outlined in the Student Orientation session with AES.
Whilst in London, it is vital to abide by all British laws and regulations. Failure to do so could lead to arrest, prosecution and deportation. This will make it very difficult to obtain permission to visit England again.
Being in central London, an understanding of all aspects of security is essential. This includes an awareness of ‘suspect packages’ – unattended boxes or bags, which means keeping your own belongings with you, ensuring you do not cause a false alarm. Sometimes entire underground stations are shut down and evacuated to investigate security threats. In this situation, be aware of your surroundings and alert authorities if you have any concerns. Should an incident occur, first and foremost is to let people know you are safe. We would recommend that you return to your accommodation and contact your Faculty Director in London straight away. In the absence of a local Faculty Director, you should contact AES and let us know that you are safe. At the same time, we recommend contacting your parents, as they will be worried about you.
Please be aware it is still illegal to possess drugs in the UK (including cannabis), and the police are well within their rights to stop and search persons in the street. Anyone found in possession of drugs can be arrested (and likely deported).
The UK has very strict rules on weapons. Mace and pepper spray are strictly prohibited, and it is illegal to be in possession of it. Other weapons such as guns and knives are also banned.
The legal age for drinking in the UK is 18. Please treat alcohol with respect, and do not abuse it. Drink sizes are often larger over here and if you end up intoxicated, you will be more at risk from other forms of crime. The police have the power to arrest and detain you if you are acting inappropriately due to alcohol.
Although international students studying their full degree in the UK are covered by the National Health Service (NHS), this is not applicable for a study abroad student who is living in the UK for less than 6 months
Please ensure you have full medical insurance through the US university to cover you throughout your stay in the UK. We would recommend a thorough read of all the instructions, and what is covered immediately, to enable understanding of the process before there is a need to use it (all going well, you never will!). You should keep the insurance company contact details handy (on your phone, in your wallet, etc.). All students will be provided with an up to date health information booklet upon arrival, providing detailed information on how to proceed with health issues.