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Useful information for incoming exchange students

Students laughing in the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall
If you have been accepted on an exchange, congratulations! You will now need to consider where you will live, how you will get here, whether you need a visa to study and how you will support yourself during your time here.

Most exchanges at the RCM take place for one term during the Autumn Term (September to December).

If you are currently studying for a bachelors degree at one of our partner institutions in the USA or Australia, you have the option of either coming to the RCM for the Autumn Term or for the full academic year (September to July).

Tuition fees

As an exchange student you are not required to pay RCM tuition fees. You should register and pay your fees at your home institution as normal.

Getting to the RCM

Most students from outside the UK arrive in London either by plane or by train. Whether you are coming to visit the Royal College of Music, to visit friends or family, or to move into your new accommodation, you will need to plan how to get from the airport or railway station to your destination. Every journey is different and every person has different needs. The guidance below is provided for quick reference only. We encourage all travellers to spend adequate time planning their travel options and checking fares with relevant ticket providers.

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RCM term dates

The RCM operates a three term academic calendar. We do not divide the year into two semesters.

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The RCM has a purpose built halls of residence for students called Prince Consort Village. Contracts are for one academic year and rooms are allocated before the start of the Autumn Term. Exchange students who are studying at the RCM for a full year are welcome to apply for one of these rooms. There may be some availability for exchange students who are studying at the RCM for shorter periods, although this cannot be guaranteed.

If you are coming to the RCM for a short exchange and would like to explore this option, please contact Campus Living Villages, who manage Prince Consort Village, and not the RCM.

Many RCM students choose to live in privately rented accommodation. Our Student Services team is available to offer advice on finding suitable accommodation.

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Student accommodation guide

Short term accommodation guide

Student Services

Enquiries relating to student support at the RCM

Living costs

We cannot say exactly how much money students need while you studying at the RCM. Different students have different needs, preferences and live different lifestyles.

We estimate that most exchange students will need to budget for around £12,000 per year in living costs. This figure will be lower if you are only studying at the RCM for one term.

Please note, non-UK students who require a Student visa to study in the UK must show they have sufficient funds to support themselves. If you are a Student visa applicant you need to have at least £1,334 per month (£12,006 per academic year) available for living expenses and be able to demonstrate this as part of the visa application process.

We advise all international applicants to budget for additional expenses such as overseas travel. This is particularly useful for getting home in an emergency.

Visa & immigration matters

Your nationality and the length of your exchange will impact whether or not you need a visa to study in the UK and, if you do, which kind of visa you require. Our International team are available to provide advice and support throughout the visa application process.

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Insurance in the UK

You will need to arrange adequate health insurance to cover any medical treatment during your stay in the UK. You should also consider taking out insurance to cover unexpected costs such as returning home in the event of serious illness and lost or stolen property.

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The RCM enjoys a close connection with Imperial College Health Centre, which is just a few minutes’ walk away. Students who live at the RCM's halls of residence, Prince Consort Village, may register at Imperial College Health Centre as NHS (National Health Service) patients.

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Other useful information sources

A variety of organisations produce useful information for exchange students. We particularly recommend those listed below.

Life in the UK

Find out more about UK culture, the experience of studying the UK and other useful hints. 

UK Council for Student Affairs (UKCISA)

Study UK (British Council)



Visit Britain

Visit London

Alternative accommodation

Our Student Services team offers free and informed advice on finding suitable accommodation. However, you may wish to look at these websites for listings of short let rooms.




London has a wide range of travel options, including an excellent public transport network. London’s streets are well signposted and many people choose to make shorter journeys by foot or by bike.

Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for the local transport system. TfL controls the London Underground, which is also known as ‘the Tube’, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), the London Overground, London Buses and several other transport options. TfL operates a contactless pay-as-you-go scheme, which is cheaper than buying paper tickets on most services, and students on full-time courses lasting more than 6 months can apply for an 18+ Student Oystercard. The scheme works with contactless bank cards, Oyster Cards and NFC-enabled mobile phones.