Saturday, 5 August 2017

University - 'Moving to study in London: expectation vs. reality'

If you’re moving to London, chances are you’ve probably done a lot of research.

You’ve probably looked up the best ways to spend your weekends, the cheapest coffee shops that boast an array of milk alternatives, as well as aesthetically pleasing interior to fill your Instagram feed with, and the superfoods that are going to offer multiple health benefits yadda yadda yadda… I am here however to be the unfortunate barer of bad news. You’ll often find, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

If you’re here to study, there’s one thing you have to be sure not to forget – you’re here to study. I often find myself in a bit of a dream world, neglecting the very reason I moved to London, because it just doesn’t feel like the university experience that a lot of others have in other cities over the country. There is a vast difference in the structure and every day practice of being a student in London, and there is a hell of a lot of shocks to the system (alarming rent and travel costs being just a couple).

With this in mind, when moving to London and studying, there’s also the struggle of balancing a part-time job as well so you can, well, eat and dress yourself and whatnot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s doable, it just takes a little while to adjust and just maybe one or two mini breakdowns until you reach the right equilibrium for you.

For someone, like myself, who was a complete foreigner to London, I shrugged off the talk of expensive living costs, thinking to myself that they can’t be that bad. I was wrong. They are horrendous, and you think you just want to go for a few quick ones with your friend at the local? Forget it – that £5 you paid for one pint could have fed you for a week.

That’s another thing too, your diet becomes… questionable. Those ‘Tasty’ videos you’ve saved on your Facebook timeline of meal preps and snacks aren’t going anywhere to be honest, and going days on cup of soups, leftover pasta and cereal are more common than you would like to think.

One thing not to forget, is that London, unlike a lot of other cities, also boasts the fact that is is well, London. It has a multitude of free and inexpensive things on offer too for you to spend your free time taking advantage of. An abundance of galleries, parks and landmarks at your disposal and those Santander bikes are alright too; no need to join a gym, two birds, one stone.

Regardless of all difficulties to overcome however, you are still one of the lucky few who have made their homes, permanent or temporary, in one of the greatest cities in the world. The endless opportunities and wonderful places to visit, full of exciting history and beautiful architecture, so don’t think we’re not grateful. I can assure you, we don’t forget. 

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