– 8 things that have gotten me through my first term
After ten weeks of lectures, problem sheets, weekly tests and repeat, with the odd excitement of computing coursework, I am wondering how I made it through this term without getting too exhausted of the cycle! As much as I love the struggle of finding “the largest number of chicken nuggets it is impossible to buy, when they come in boxes of 6,9 and 20” (real question!!), sometimes you do find yourself drowning in work and you need a break, to relax and clear your mind in order to improve your focus for when you do sit down to work again.
I’m sure that your English is fluent enough for you to study in the UK (if you aren’t confident, take a look at my post about studying in English). I’m also sure that you’re able to communicate with international students withouth any problems. But do you understand what locals, i.e. English people really mean? It took me a while (and a few awkward situations), so here are a few surprising things Brits say.
How are you? You’ll hear this question dozens of times every day. In the beginning I thought: “wow, these Brits are so nice, they really care about me”.
Let’s face it: living in London is expensive. It might sound scary, especially that for some of you the first year of the university will be also the first year when you have to be fully responsible for your finances. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Here are my survival tips.
Find a good accommodation. This is the key, since paying rent will be your biggest expense. Remember that you’ll also need to cover bills – and you might underestimate how high they’ll probably be. Having said that, I must stress: don’t go for the cheapest option. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Did you get accepted to Imperial College? Congratulations! Now it’s time for the real challenge – finding a place to live in London. Something nice, clean, quiet and close to the campus.
Well, unless you’re a millionaire, I don’t think such a place exists. If you’re based at South Kensington campus, you probably won’t be able to afford living close to the college, since its neighbourhood is one of the most expensive parts of London. The only exception: student halls, which are offered only to undergraduates, so not for me L But worry not, you aren’t doomed! Everyone finds a place, sooner or later.
You decided to cycle in London. Good choice! The benefits of commuting to the uni by bike are countless. Let me list just a few.
You save money. Plenty of money! Assume, optimistically, that you live in zone 1 or 2 (i.e., in the centre or quite close). Then the monthly travelcard will cost you £126.80. For this amount of money you could buy a decent new bike, a second-hand one would be even cheaper. So the bike will pay off in just a month, maximum two, if you decide on a fancy one! Do I still need to persuade you that it’s worth it?
So there is a brand new cohort of thousands of students starting at Imperial. Imperial has buildings all over London (Halls, hospitals, research labs…!) and so it can get a bit daunting to have to leave the luxury of your mum and dads car to now travelling by yourself through London.
So I have come up with some top tips for students travelling around London!
Number 1: Make sure you download CityMapper! It honestly will save your life when you are lost on the “blue line” and 30 minutes late for something. It will get your location and let you know how/how long it will take you to get to your destination.
Living in London is amazing. There are so many opportunities and such an incredible atmosphere, however it is a massive burden of cost. Having been at uni for 3 years now (still 3 more to go…) I have a 3 TOP TIPS on how to save money living as a student in London (especially in South Kensington…so expensive)
1-Travel: Make sure you have signed up for your student oyster and linked it with your railcard to save 1/3 on travel!
2- Social: Make sure you sign up to the Times Student. It has saved so many of here at Imperial. You can sign up to the Times Student Scheme for £20 for the year.