Okay, so London isn’t just the perfect city for students – it’s the perfect city for everybody who cares to visit from across the globe. London is so generous with its awesomeness (that’s not a word, but go with me, guys), that I challenge anybody not to fall in love with some aspect of its multi-faceted fabulosity (that is a word, admittedly it sounds a bit dubious).
If you are a student with your suitcase packed ready for some London-style learning, then here are some less obvious reasons why you have made the right decision about your place of study.
Get Over the Clichés
Tourists and the generally ill-informed believe London is all about double decker buses, iconic (yawn) black cabs and those weird prehistoric public telephone boxes – have these people never heard of Smartphones?
Anyways, London is all about these things, but to be honest, once you’ve clocked a bus a cab, a Beefeater, Big Ben and a British Bobby, you get kind of used to the quirkiness of it all.
Look Closer, Learn More
For students, especially those coming from overseas, it’s more rewarding to look deeper and get closer to the under-belly of London living. The less obvious places to visit are more exciting and you get a truer reflection of the real culture, as opposed to the polished confections pumped out by the tourism industry.
Because in reality, London is a hugely multi-cultural city with influences from across the globe. Yes there are Pearly Kings and Queens, jellied eels to feast upon and Cockney cultural references coming at you from every angle. But equally, you can discover the styles, customs, cuisines and traditions of many cultures. You don’t often find the every-day markets of London on the tourist guides, but in places like Brick Lane in the East End, Dalston’s Ridley Road market, Golbourne Road in Kensington and Edgeware Road in the centre, you can travel through many countries of Asia and Africa without leaving the capital.These vibrant, colourful spots demonstrate the diversity and richness of contemporary London life and are the sort of places tenacious students find bargains and social-commentary all in one place.
London is a city with an exciting ‘pop-up’ culture, where new and innovative projects just..er…pop-up. Whether that’s local dining clubs, theatrical performances or community initiatives, keep your eyes open for things happening organically and spontaneously in your local area. Check out the long established Time Out guide to get clued up on what’s going down in this cool and exciting city.
There are many perfect locations to live in London, most of them beyond the means of cash-strapped students. Gorgeous areas such as Belgravia, Notting Hill, Primrose Hill, Hampstead and Richmond are places where the living is easy…and expensive. Fortunately cheaper options are available, it’s just a matter of locating them.
Once you know for sure you are London bound, start your accommodation search. There’s no denying, the competition is stiff and the prices can be high. Many students automatically head for university halls of residence and whilst this may be a good option, capacity is limited and the quality isn’t always fantastic.
The most popular alternative option is all inclusive accommodation specifically aimed at the student population. For student accommodation Camberwell in south London is a great place to start looking. It’s a lively, arty part of the city with Camberwell School of Art at its heart, as well as good travel connections to several nearby universities and colleges. Keeping on top of your student budgeting is made easier with the type of student accommodation Camberwell offers because utilities, heating and Wifi are included in the rent. And with other great facilities thrown in such as gyms, student restaurants and laundries, you get convenience as well as comfort. It certainly pays off to look past the obvious first choices where student accommodation is concerned.
High Culture on the Quiet
London has enough art galleries and museums to keep the hungriest culture-vultures satiated. Many museums are free of charge which is the perfect price point for skint students. But what is the secret to getting the best out of these amazing facilities? Follow the smart students and try going against the flow by visiting early in the morning or an hour before closing time – these are the quiet times when you are able to enjoy it all in silent contemplation.
Studying in London is an opportunity to be seized with both hands. The chance of spending time in a city so rewarding on every level is one not to be missed. Just remember, the deeper you dig, the more treasure you find…