Studying Abroad in London — From Central Wisconsin to Central London:
So, with the help of Anglo Educational Tours, you’ve made the journey from home sweet home to somewhere in London. Congratulations! You are probably feeling some mixed emotions driven by jet lag, homesickness and pure excitement for studying abroad in London. Remember, this is all normal and the feelings will subside as you get settled in. London is a overwhelmingly beautiful place. It has something for everyone and there is ALWAYS something going on.
Sensory overload is an understatement here so be prepared. Your first few days will probably be spent getting settled into your new place, meeting your flat mates, learning the ins and outs of public transportation, getting lost, getting more lost and then finding your way home. Upon arriving in London someone said to me, “Londoners walk far and they walk fast“. This was some of the best and most simple advice I have gotten. The pace of this city is fast and it can be difficult at times but it is a new experience and you have to rare opportunity to live in a new country and call yourself a Londoner. Take everything in strides, breathe in the smog filled air and enjoy the views.
Here are a few tips to help you get through the first few days. Before you know it, you will look less like a helpless tourist and more like a true Londoner:
Before you arrive in London be sure to order some British Pounds from your local bank or currency center so that when you get here you don’t have to scramble for money. Also, make sure your credit/debit card has a chip!
2. POST CODES!
When looking up or asking for directions the single most significant factor is the post code. It might just be the difference between a very expensive cab ride to the wrong hotel after an 8 hour flight.
3. CITY MAPPER
Download City Mapper on your phone if possible. This app is your new best friend. App, meet tourist, tourist meet app. It will get you everywhere.
When crossing the street, pay attention to which way traffic is coming from as it is a bit different than the states. The cars, bikes and people will not stop for you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
You may have a minor heart attack when you see a child in the “driver’s seat”. Remember, it’s the opposite.
When riding the tube remember to stand on the right side of the escalator when not walking. And if you are lost in the tube station or anywhere in the streets please do everyone a solid and move over. There are millions of people in this city using the narrow streets so anyone obstructing their walking path will get annoyed and run into you.
Make a list of all the places you want to see in London as there is so much history and beauty in one place. Don’t miss out on any of it.
8. SIM CARDS
Be sure to have your phone unlocked in the states if you will be purchasing a SIM card here. If you have an iPhone from the 6 on you should be good to go as they are built unlocked. My suggestion is the carrier Three as you can get great data, texting and minutes plans for 20 pounds per month. There are also hundreds of these stores all over London.
Carry your umbrella everywhere! You never know when it will be completely sunny and a random torrential downpour will happen. The bi-polar weather is similar to Wisconsin so just bring your entire seasonal wardrobe.
10. LOOK AROUND
Take a look around every day and tell yourself how lucky you are for this experience. You will not regret it even on the difficult days.