I cannot be happier with my choice to come to Durham
Even though I have been to the UK many times and stayed for a few months at a time living in the UK was a completely different experience. Making friends and getting settled was easy at Durham, everyone was friendly and helpful and the city center I live near has all the amenities I need, however sorting out my banking in the UK was extremely difficult. I highly recommend you look into getting a letter of recommendation (which you need as an international student setting up a bank account in the UK) ahead of time, and look into booking an appointment at the bank of your choice to set that up as soon as possible, because it took me nearly 3 months to get things sorted and it was incredibly stressful.
I chose Durham partly because of its beautiful location and setting, its world renowned reputation and for the unique and multi-disciplinary program it offered, International Cultural Heritage Management. The professor who runs the program also has a varied and rich background and has proved to be vital in giving us as students a great background to the industry and well as setting us up with great contacts through the placement module. I haven't found any other program like this and I cannot be happier with my choice to come to Durham. Its a collegiate university as well, and the college I am a part of has given me such a supportive and rewarding life outside of school; I was able to get involved with the postgraduate student society and its again one of the best decisions I have made here.
I have also had a lot of opportunities to volunteer and get experience in my field and build a network that I could use to get a job after this. There are several museums in the area and tons of opportunities to present research or papers, or participate in conferences, or even publish in my college journal. I can't stress enough to go out and take advantage of every opportunity you can, to make he most out of your experience here
I live in college accommodation, and while its a little more expensive than private renting in the town, the location is close and setting up the lease, having things around the house fixed and other issues are never a worry to me because I can simply go to the college and have it sorted out.
The cost of living is higher than in Canada, but thankfully my friends, family, the university and my advisers at Across The Pond all advised me of this ahead of time so I was able to budget accordingly. You have to be careful when deciding to eat out or not, but since I am a good cook I usually offer to host potluck dinners or lunches, which cut down on the cost of eating but still allow for socializing.
I haven't been able to do a lot of travelling as my course keeps me busy, but I have flown to Dublin and have enjoyed a number of visits within the UK with my program. You won't be short of willing travel buddies however if you need to go further out into Europe, and flights are usually pretty cheap, you just have to shop around for the best deals and make sure you plan ahead for hostels or hotels.
That's really all I have to say I think, other than saying that one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life was coming to the UK to study, and choosing Durham to study in was second.