“The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world” – Oscar Wilde
As my time in London is winding down, I have been reflecting on my thoughts before I got here and how they developed and changed throughout this experience. I originally planned on doing a post called “Learn From My Mistakes”, well because I had a lot of them. But now I can look back and say that I really did benefit from making all of those mistakes and I wouldn’t change most of them ( keyword is most) even if I could. Instead, here are some tips that I could have benefited from knowing when I got here.
#1 Pack Light …. but not too light
This was actually something I struggled with a lot. Of course you should pack your basics but I didn’t take into account the weather change that I would experience in London. Our first 2-3 weeks here were wet and cold but since then, it has been mostly sunny and warm. As a result, I had to buy a few extra Spring /Summer items for the warm weather I didn’t even know London had. And even if you do decide to bring your entire closet, trust me…you will still buy more stuff, so leave room in your suitcase.
#2 Don’t let the rain stop you
In Philadelphia, I got into the bad habit of staying in doors when it rains….Londoners don’t do that. It’s funny because it doesn’t seem like the rain really affects them, so I had to stop letting it stop me from going out and exploring this amazing city. And umbrellas are actually really effective here compared to Philly, so just grab it and go.
#3 Be prepared for a lot of writing
Literally every single one of my courses so far have had at least one essay or writing component. It isn’t terrible but the curriculum here will be very different from Drexel’s. As a nursing major, I was definitely not use to this but I was able to mentally prepare for it based on some of the things I read in blog posts before I got here …. so this is your warning lol
#4 Getting a SIM card in London will always be cheaper than an international phone plan
An international plan can be costly to say the least. On the other hand you can get a SIM card in London and just have to top up around 10 pounds a month and your good to go.
#5 Citymapper is your best friend
Citymapper is essentially a much better version of Google Maps. It gives you accurate directions (for the most part), train times, updated transportation notices, uber prices and it even tells you what part of the train would be the best to sit in. It can also be used in many other European countries.
#6 Bring comfortable shoes and a backpack
We do soooo much walking in London, it’s pretty much apart of the curriculum. Your feet will like you so much better if you bring at least one pair of sneakers or flats. And the backpack is great for when you are going grocery shopping (since most stores charge for shopping bags), if you plan on traveling, or just for class.
#7 Get to know London before traveling outside of UK
I personally feel as though this was probably one of the best decisions I made while studying here. A lot of people will tell you that you should travel somewhere every single weekend or at least start traveling as soon as you get here so you can see as many countries as possible. I think that’s great for some people but I think I gained a lot more from my experience in London by taking the time to explore my new home before venturing out in the unknown.