10 things you will notice when you study in London

When I moved to London I didn’t really know what to expect. I am from a small village, so obviously moving to a city as big as London was a very big step for me. One year later I’m finally able to (sort of) find my way around in (small parts of) the city (thank god for Citymapper!) and I have discovered some things about studying in London.

1. You are going to be shocked by the rent prices

Your friends might complain about their rent, and you might smile in agreement about ‘the ridiculous price they are paying’, but really, on the inside, you laugh/cry (both at the same time probably). Because truth is, in London, you might be paying per week what they are paying per month. Oh, and their room will be about twice as big as yours. But then again, you live in London, so who’s really winning here?

2. The money that you are not spending on rent is probably going towards food

There is just so much good food in London. So. Much. It doesn’t even matter what cuisine you like, you can find everything in London. Famous food markets (like Borough market), take away, cafés, coffee shops… Of course, it’s London, so it all comes with a price. £5 for a burger seems legit when it’s the best burger you’ve ever had, right?

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3. You didn’t expect it to be that green

I think a lot of people don’t know that London actually is the greenest major city of Europe, and one of the greenest cities in the worlds. When people think of London, they tend to think about all the famous buildings. I, on the other hand, like to think about all the parks. Running in Regent’s park, relaxing in Hyde Park on a sunny day and photographing deer (yes, deer! in London!) in Richmond Park are all amongst the options you have, and there are many more.

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4. Deciding what to wear might be a challenge at times (okay, maybe every morning)

Be prepared for all the weather types London has to offer within one day. It’s sunny outside you say? Okay, but check again in one minute and it might be pouring down with rain. London is quite famous for its bipolar weather, and although it doesn’t rain as much as people might like to believe, it is good to be prepared. If you want to make it even harder on yourself, try to look cool as well.

5. You are going to walk so much more than you are doing now

This might be truer for Dutch people, because we are used to cycling everywhere we go, but I’ve heard from several (reliable, international) sources that they are walking more than they did before they moved to London. It’s probably because it’s the cheapest way to get around and a lot less risky than cycling. Of course, you can always take the tube as well…

6. You will realise the tube is the best invention ever

It really shows how important the tube network is for London when there is a tube strike. Which happened on my first day ever in London. The city will become quite chaotic, but don’t expect the tube to be totally stress free when the tube is running normally. If you do want to relax, just grab a free sauna by taking the central line during peak time (stripping down will not be appreciated, unfortunately). And while we’re at it, never ever assume taking the tube means you will not walk. Changing tube = walking. You have to get your exercise somehow, you lazy person.

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7. When you go out, there will be a lot of really drunk people

This really shows when the tube does not go anymore (which is after midnight), and you have to take the night bus. Again, this might be slightly different for other countries and cultures, but since I’m Dutch I’m quite used to social drinking. Which is, drinking because you like the drink, you like the people you’re with, and it’s fun. In England, you drink to drink. The general thought seems to be that you cannot have a good night out without getting totally hammered/wasted/pissed (whichever description you like the most). So, if you want to see proper drunk people, take a night bus in London.

8. You will meet people from all over the world

A lot of people in London, didn’t grow up in London (surprise, I know). But I never expected to meet so many people with so many different backgrounds. I do study at a very international university, which helps as well. Being ‘just British’ is considered quite boring. To illustrate this, next year I will live with a half French/half English girl, a half Chinese/half German girl from Hong Kong, a British Chinese girl and a British Indian girl. Talk about squad goals.

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9. If you went to state school, you might realise how cheap your education was

Before studying in London, I had not really met any people that went to boarding, private, public or international school. Now, I’ve met many. I once googled what these schools cost with a friend of mine, just for fun. Sometimes, it is even more than university, which is really quite expensive, so I was quite shocked about it, especially since my education was (mostly) free. Up to now, that is.

10. You will fall in love with the city

London just has so much to offer. When you live there, you really come to appreciate the city and I can honestly say it is only place where I could see myself living during different stadia in my life. Of course, I can’t say yet if I will actually end up living there for the rest of my life, but I do know that I will always love London. It will forever be ‘my’ city.

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This guest post was written by Anniek Stuut, a Dutch student who went to the United Kingdom for her high school exchange and then decided she loved it so much she wanted to do University in the wonderful city of London.

 

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