London Waterloo and King's Cross
Hansard Society Scholars offers accommodation in a beautifully refurbished 1816 building, now a student residence hall in central London. Conway Hall offers 24-hour security, self-catering facilities, communal study spaces and on-site laundry services. The halls, located in Waterloo, are very well connected by trains and buses, and conveniently situated within walking distance to both the LSE (where Hansard classes are hosted) and the Palace of Westminster (where most internships take place).
Conway Hall flats include kitchenware, bed linens, and towels, as well as a weekly communal area clean. The Scholars team will also provide each flat with a starter pack of kitchen and bathroom cleaning supplies.
You will be advised of your flat assignment closer to the start of your programme.
Autumn 2017 scholar Kathleen Larkin reflects on her experiences studying with Hansard Society Scholars and training with the RAF in the UK.
Summer 2018 scholar Apurv Baichwal argues that an independent London would be possible, and potentially stronger in a post-Brexit world. Submitted as part of Hansard Society Scholars summer course, Inside Westminster, AP's blog gives 'Londependence' some serious consideration.
Autumn in London
As the Scholars team prepares for the arrival of the Autumn 2018 scholars, our Assistant Programme Director reflects on why you should study abroad with Hansard Society Scholars in the Autumn term.
A Woman's Place is in the House (of Parliament)
As part of Hansard Society Scholars summer course, Inside Westminster, summer 2018 scholar Alicia Zhang wrote a piece on women's rights and the 'Vote 100' celebrations in Parliament this year. She reflects on how far the movement has come, and how far it still has to go.
From Westminster to Rome
A few months before leaving for London, I woke up to the news that the result of the EU referendum was to leave the European Union. This unexpected outcome came as a surprise to all of us, and as I prepared to come to London...
Scotland in the post-referendum era
When the last general election took place on June 8th of 2017, it was the seventh time that 22-year olds in Scotland had cast their vote in the space of three years.
Experience Politics from a Different Angle
Hansard Society scholars are aspiring global leaders who engage with policy issues at local, national and international levels, and build lasting networks abroad.
A Fascinating Time to Study British Politics
June 2016 will be one of the most fascinating months in recent British political history. On Thursday 23rd June, Britons will head to the polls to decide whether the nation should stay in or leave the European Union.
A Welsh Love Story
When I tell people back home in Texas that I worked in the UK Parliament for Plaid Cymru, the Party of Wales, they respond with blank faces. "Wales? Is that in England?" they say.
Once you are accepted onto the programme, the Scholars team will be in touch with specific information regarding health, safety, and travel. In the meantime, please refer to this general information, and contact us with any further questions.
How do I use public transport in London?
Transport for London provides underground (tube) and bus services throughout Greater London. In order to use these services, scholars will need to purchase an Oyster Card. Full details and information about public transport can be found on the TFL website.
Do I need a visa to come to the UK?
Unless you hold a passport from any EU or EEA countries, or from Switzerland, you will need to apply for a UK Tier 4 Student Visa to participate on the programme. Please visit the UK Visas page for more information. Upon acceptance to the programme, the Scholars team will send you detailed instructions for applying for your Tier 4 visa, along with your CAS number, an essential part of the application.
Am I eligible for medical care in the UK?
In order to participate on the programme, all scholars on UK Tier 4 Student Visas MUST have international health insurance, as they are not eligible for the National Health Service (NHS).
Scholars from the EEA or Switzerland must have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), obtained in your home country or online.
If you use prescription drugs, we strongly encourage you to secure a large enough supply of medicine to last for your entire term abroad. You will also want to know the generic name of the drug, in case you need to obtain it abroad. Remember to bring all medications (and copies of the prescriptions, if possible) in their original containers. Please note that prescribed controlled substances (i.e. many ADHD medications) may require further preparation and documentation. Make sure to speak with your doctor ahead of your time abroad. If you are bringing prescription drugs into the UK and/or may need to obtain further supplies while you are here, it is advisable to bring a letter from your doctor.
How do I arrange mobile phone service?
One option available to scholars is to purchase an international phone plan through your home provider. The Scholars team highly recommends using a UK mobile number for your time abroad, as this will make it easier for staff, internship colleagues, and other programme participants to get in touch with you.
If your current phone is unlocked, you can buy a SIM card from any mobile phone provider and purchase a monthly plan or pay-as-you-go credit. There are many different types of SIM card plans, so make sure you shop around to find the best calls/text/data plan for you. Some options include:
Hansard Society Scholars are also required to have WhatsApp downloaded to their phones, as this is used by the Scholars team to communicate with you in the event of an emergency. We recommend downloading this to your phone prior to your arrival in London.
What should I pack?
Whether you are coming for the spring, summer, or autumn programme will determine the type of clothing you want to pack for your time in London, but some items will be required year round.
- An umbrella and/or waterproof jacket. Rain is pretty much guaranteed at some point during your time in the UK!
- Layers! Temperatures often fluctuate in London and you may start the day cold before warming up for the afternoon.
- Comfortable walking shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking during your time abroad, much of it on uneven cobblestones! Your feet will be grateful for the consideration.
- Business professional clothing. Some Hansard Society events and internships require scholars to dress professionally (suits and ties for men, dresses/skirts/trousers & jacket for women).
- A smaller travel bag for weekend excursions. Most budget airlines (i.e. Ryanair and EasyJet) have very specific requirements for carry-on luggage sizes. Review these and bring a bag that fits!
- Power adapters. Make sure you have multiple adaptors for the UK and wherever else you plan to travel to.
- Skip packing toiletries unless there is something specific you cannot live without. London will have most of the brands you are familiar with, and anything else you may need. No use letting your shampoo and conditioner weigh you down before you’ve even left!
- Leave the hair tools (i.e. dryer/flat iron/curling iron) at home! You can purchase an inexpensive one upon arrival and can share the costs with your flat mates. The UK has a different voltage system than most other countries (specifically the US) and you run the risk of burning out your appliances and ruining your hair.
- No linens required! The programme housing provides linens for each scholar upon arrival. Should you need anything further once you’re here, we can certainly recommend an inexpensive place to purchase something.
Where can my friends and family stay when they come to visit?
Programme housing does not permit overnight guests. There are plenty of hotels and hostels in the area and throughout London. Here are some local suggestions.
How safe is London?
Scholars’ safety and security is our primary concern. In addition to the Health and Safety session on the first day of orientation in London and the emergency instructions that will be included in your Welcome Pack, here are some tips and guidance that will help you prepare for life abroad.
- Have a working, accessible mobile phone and make sure you provide this number to the Scholars team (to be completed during orientation).
- U.S. citizens should enrol in the U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) - this will enable you to receive security messages as well as make it easier for the US Embassy to locate you and provide you with information and support should an emergency arise in any city you're travelling in.
- Non U.S. citizens should register with their country's embassy and respective programme.
- In the event of an emergency in London, please call 999 to reach police, ambulance, or fire department.
- The Metropolitan Police provide excellent support and advice. Visit their website and follow them on Twitter (@metpoliceuk) for up-to-date information. https://www.met.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/violence/stay-safe/
While we certainly hope you will never need to use any of the safety information we provide, it is best to be proactive. If you have any questions about your health and safety while preparing for your time in London, please contact us.