I will always remember getting off a delayed coach in the Victoria station and facing the overwhelming buzz of the station, stunned and scared. The size and beat of London, represented by the station on an autumn day in 2015, was one of many shocks I experienced in London and learning how to fight my way through crowds was just one of many things I’ve learnt. After three years of living in the capital, many things come naturally to me and I feel confident and safe – well at least about 50% of the time.
Moving to London on my own without knowing anyone in the city was the most terrifying and empowering journey of my life so far. However, I did not come unprepared and I knew what were the first steps I wanted to take to when setting up my life, having previously checked various forums. To give you a quick overview, I listed things that I see as essential steps for any newcomer to London. Unfortunately, I can only provide guidance for those coming from the European Union pre-Brexit, although some of those tips apply to anyone. I also attached links to relevant websites for more information or any pre-registration necessary.
1 | Find somewhere to stay or a someone with an address
Obviously! I have previously written a guide on renting in London, but the truth is you might be more comfortable staying in a hostel or hotel when you first move to the city. If you are moving for work, this might even be something your employer takes care of or if you are a student, there is the option of halls. Whatever it is, you should find a place that you are going to stay for at least a week or two and use it as a base. You will find it hard to take the steps described below if you do not have somewhere to stay and address that you can use on official documents.
Some people come to the city and stay with their family or crush on their friends’ sofas and that is perfectly okay. The importance of this step is not so much your comfort but the address you will be giving to the bank and the council.
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I have been missing university lately. You probably think that I am talking about the parties, fewer responsibilities and eating pasta three times a day without regrets. Yes, I miss those, although I still happily eat pasta three times a day without a second thought about carbs, I miss how my energy and time were almost entirely dedicated to learning. It was days, weeks and years to learn and explore.
When I started to think about how much I miss university, I soon realised that putting my university life and life after into a contrast n is wrong. Many of us have taken their lives in completely opposite directions than what they were ‘meant’ to be according to their degrees, and this might make one think that university is a separate episode in the life of those who are lucky enough. But that is not true. I believe that by remembering things we did at university and, more importantly, our mindsets, we can enhance our lives after graduation. Try and bring a little bit of the student in you back rather than trying to suddenly transform into someone who only thinks about university when they deal with a hangover on a Saturday morning, praying to have their 19-year old body. When I reminded myself of the basic rules I followed that made my university years successful and worth remembering, I realised I can easily do the same now.
Firstly, being focused is about paying attention like you’d do in a lecture. Listen to your boss, colleagues, friends and partner. Be present. There are a million things that go through my mind when I am at my desk. What am I gonna cook for a dinner? Why is my skin so bad lately? Taxes to pay… but now I remind myself to focus on one thing or task at a time and switch off the rest of my brain. In a way, I reset my brain to the less stressful time of my life – when I didn’t have to pay taxes – and this way I am giving the present person or task my full and undivided attention.
Secondly, choosing your university degree was about focusing on one particular subject you enjoyed. Maybe it wasn’t what you wanted to do as a career or it was the only program you were accepted onto but you were able to keep the focus and take appropriate steps to achieve a focused goal. Let that inspire you when you set goals in your life or career. Write a list of things you need to do – like you would write down the modules you needed for credits; research classes and opportunities – like you did with extracurricular activities; and network with the right people – like you would for group tasks.Read More »
Despite its size and the number of people that live in it, London still has a communal feeling to it. It might be because each neighbourhood is very different and to an outsider, London must feel like a patchwork. Try visiting Brixton, South Kensington and Camden in one day and you will see what I am talking about!
After the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge in March 2017, Londoners showed their defiance as well as companionship. Brexit is almost a dirty word in London, home to millions of migrants from around the world, who form the backbone of staff in many industries, including hospitality – and boy, Londoners love to drink.
London can get lonely, stressful and people are always busy here. But they also take time to take care of their communal spaces, organise neighbourhood markets and talk to tourists about this great city over a pint or coffee.
Londoners are aware of how much tourism means for their city and. In fact, many came as tourists and decided to stay because they fell in love with the city. However, now, all settled in, some of us do get slightly annoyed with the hoards of tourists we have to fight on a daily basis. We really want you to have a great time but we also want to get to work on time. So what are the top annoying things that I know get on nerves of those who live in London?
*Disclaimer: those things are not necessarily London specific and you can easily treat this article as A Guide on Being a Better Tourist in a City.*
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I have not had too many jobs in my life but I have always had a strong idea of what I wanna do and more precisely, how I wanna do it. I wanted to love my job and do it well. I wanted to enjoy it. And then I started my current job. On paper, a PR Coordinator role in a global company seemed like a great opportunity to learn and grow. The job involved what I always thought I wanted to do – writing, attending press trips and coming up with ideas and stories that journalists want to write about. Plus free dinners and drinks…
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I have never lived in Paris, New York or Tokyo and my experience only comes from London. I hope – for the sake of readers from those cities and everyone else – that this only applies to London…but it seems to me London is home to the loudest kind of neighbours.
I appreciate how many books, songs, podcasts and blogs about self-love and acceptance exist. learning how to love yourself is one of the most important things to do in life and everyone should take their time to do so before they try to love others.
You should always supply positive energy to both your mind and body. It changes you and changes people around you. But, I believe that people often forget that there is more to this than love. For me, an important part of acceptance is born from negativity, from something that I don’t actually like about myself but I am willing to accept it and make it work for me.
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London is famous for its rain and gloomy weather. Coming from continental Europe, it took me some time to get used to how quickly but quietly the seasons change at this island. You can experience spring, summer, autumn and winter in one day in London but you can also forget summer is a season at all.
Fortunately, this summer, even England experienced very warm temperatures and not only for one day. While most people complained about the heatwave, I enjoyed the hot days. It was easy to plan my days and evenings when it was warm – all the London parks became very inviting and rooftops were places to be.
However, with the temperatures taking (hopefully) a temporary dip this week, there is now space to plan some indoor activities. If you are bored of the same old Netflix and chill, take a look at my recommendations below. Those are some activities and destinations I explore on rainy days, no matter the season.