Going to London for 5 months - advice welcome!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by mariahlullaby, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. mariahlullaby macrumors 6502a

    mariahlullaby

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    NYC
    #1
    I am studying abroad in London next semester, and am really excited (though a bit worried about money thanks to the US economy and me not saving as much as I should :eek:....oh and that my work visa won't come in on time).

    I leave January 15th for arrival on January 16th in London and I'll be living near King's Cross. I'm looking to line up an internship, but other that, I'm going without too many plans so I can just learn as I go :p I've been to London several times before (I spent 5 years living in Belgium), so it won't be completely new, but I was pretty young when I lived in Europe, so it's gonna be different.

    I also plan on only packing two suitcases and my messenger bag with laptop stuff.

    Any advice, tips, things to do on a student budget....I always value MR members' advice :)
     
  2. student_trap macrumors 68000

    student_trap

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    #2
    nice to have more mr members coming down to the UK, and especially ol smokey! are you living in university of london accommodation, i ask because they are all around that area, and if so i can give you loads of advice. otherwise though its just the general london based comments that anyone can get ripped off/mugged etc anywhere, and that in general stuff is ridiculously expensive!
     
  3. tMac85 macrumors 65816

    tMac85

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Location:
    in a great place
    #3
    my sisters is doing the same thing you are. she is your age too. she leaves the 12th janruary though , and then will go to whales. good luck you will love every minute of it!
     
  4. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Location:
    Omaha, NE, USA
    #4
    I presume you mean Wales :)
     
  5. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #5
    Don't let the UK MacRumors members here get you too drunk. :p
     
  6. JHacker macrumors 6502

    JHacker

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Location:
    East Coast
    #6
    I studied abroad in London in Spring '06 and I'm incredibly jealous of you because I really want to go back. Let me know if you have any questions - I'll fill you in.
     
  7. mariahlullaby thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mariahlullaby

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    NYC
    #7
    Thanks guys! I am living in a student living center, brand new (don't want to post the exact name for safety's sake) in King's Cross. I also just found out that I will have a communal kitchen to make my food in, so any suggestions where to go grocery shopping for cheap would be great. Also, how much do you think would be appropriate to budget per month to live in London? My housing will be paid for, but I need to pay for meals, transportation, etc.

    Also, I am looking into internships in the UK, as well part time marketing/web design type jobs. I had a year-long paid internship in the US, but I am assuming the majority of internships in the UK are unpaid, right? Do they tend to cover things like transportation/meals?

    I can't believe I leave in about 2 weeks! :eek: Also, any suggestions on things I might need to bring? Since I've lived in Europe, I've got most of the adaptors, etc. stuff covered. I remember the UK to be rainy, rainy, rainy -- I am guessing all the cold weather clothing I had for NYC will suffice? I was thinking of buying rain boots, or are regular waterproof boots OK?

    THANKS!
     
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #8
    I know exactly where you'll be staying; it starts with an N, I walk past it every day. ;)

    Kings Cross is where my office is, I know the area very well. If you like, we can meet for some lunch and I can give you some pointers for the area and some good cheap places to eat and drink for a student. PM me to get in touch. :)
     
  9. mariahlullaby thread starter macrumors 6502a

    mariahlullaby

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    NYC
    #9
    Thanks again, everyone!

    Does anyone know anything about UK visas? I submitted the online application, got my fingerprints taken, paid for it, etc. and now apparently I have to mail them my passport. I leave in 11 days and am afraid to mail it and not get it back in time (they say 5 days, they overnight it back to you).

    Anyone have experience in this?? I don't need the Visa (it's just a student work visa) but I do need the passport for when I leave on the 15th.
     
  10. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    #10
    Bear in mind though that our plugs and stuff are quite different to those on the continent, so if you haven't any already you'll need different ones to those you had for your time in Belgium. ;)

    One piece of advice – seeing a you're here for a few months – would be to try and get out of London for a weekend or two and see a bit of the rest of the country. We've got a lot of lovely scenery, interesting towns and some unique historical stuff outside of the capital, so try to experience some of that if you are able. Obviously you're on a budget, but keep an eye out for any good offers on excursions you might find interesting.
     
  11. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #11
    Isn't that what the megabus is for? Students who want to see another part of the country for £1 except that they have to sit on a bus to get there? :p

    Buy an Oyster card when you arrive - it will get you the best deals on tubes/buses. Bookmark the tfl.gov website and its Journey Planner. It will get you wherever you need to go.

    There are a few stores which will give you 10% off if you show a student ID.

    Avoid eating in the West End - it's pricey but there are lots of little local places that you'll be fine with. Camden Market - just north of Kings Cross- is good for buying cheap cushions/throws to brighten up your room.

    Primark/Matalan/New Look are good places to look for clothes (and some homewares in the first two) which are cheap and will last for just about as long as they are in fashion! :p
     
  12. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #12
    Heh didn't even know you needed a visa to enter the UK. Shows how much I know about my own country!
     
  13. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    She needs a study-visa as she's studying, I don't think you would normally need one from the US as a tourist.
     
  14. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
  15. Osarkon macrumors 68020

    Osarkon

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wales
    #15
    My suggestion would be to make sure you have some mace or some sort of protection on you when out and about in London.

    You're forever hearing of stabbings and muggings from there these days, and it doesn't hurt at all to be cautious.
     
  16. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    Is that stuff really needed or is it just paranoia? She comes from New York, which I imagine is also equally dangerous.
     
  17. calculus Guest

    calculus

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    #17
    As far as I know mace is not legal in the UK.


    Edit - and what Eraserhead said ...
     
  18. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #18
    You don't.
    No she needs a work visa actually, or that's what she said.

    I can't really say anything about where to buy food cheap or cheaper than other places. I can say that ASDA was fun as all hell though. It seems to be similar to a Wal-Mart supercenter. There's food, clothing, DVDs, etc. Though the food pretty much makes up for more than 70% of the store of course. I also found it was cheap to eat fish and chips all the time. King Fisher is a place in Hinckley where for about 4£ you could get dinner for two. Don't ask me how that worked out. And no, I don't expect you to eat fish and chips for 5 months. Though I opted for that over most meals the 2 weeks I was there. ;)

    The tube pass someone recommended is definitely the way to go. Makes things easier and their system seems to just work well. Even during rush hour it wasn't bad.

    I would definitely try to travel north a bit so you can see the country. There are castles and amazing country sides. Oh and Stonehenge, which by the way makes me laugh now that I've actually been there.

    Anyway, you're awfully lucky to get to do this. I wish I could actually move there but alas, I haven't got the nerve.
     
  19. jSunbeam macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    #19
    nooo! The tfl journey planner is appalling. It will send you on the most ridiculous routes to get where you're going. You're FAR better off working it out yourself with bus and tube maps and saving yourself a lot of travelling time and money.

    That may have something to do with the fact that walmart owns the Asda chain.;)
     
  20. gavd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #20
    I don't live in London but my perception is that it's the same as any other big city and some parts of it are best avoided. I agree with you and don't think this is necessary.
     
  21. jSunbeam macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    #21
    Yep. Common sense will get you a long way. Avoid sideroads and travelling alone at night etc etc...
     
  22. Tom B. macrumors 65816

    Tom B.

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #22
    Another useful thing would be to learn what a chav is, and how to avoid them.
     
  23. Osarkon macrumors 68020

    Osarkon

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wales
    #23
    So very, very true.
     
  24. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #24
    Definitely! Manchester is supposedly pretty rough, but I've never known anything bad happen to any of my friends. This is just because they are sensible.

    I hope you have a nice time in the UK. I have only been to London a few times but it is a very cool place. More expensive than up here in the north though!
     
  25. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #25
    I guess YMMV. The only time that it send me on odd routes is when I'm going to Heathrow where it seems obsessed by the Heathrow Express for some bizarre reason.

    Still... for the first few weeks until you get the hang of where things are roughly and your A-Z is well-thumbed, it will probably be useful to you.
     

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