There are certain things only a London student will ever understand. There’s no getting out of bed five minutes before lectures when you’ve got a 40-minute commute ahead of you. Don’t expect to find ‘A-pound-a-pint’ nights, even at the students’ union. And you’ve got no real chance of getting a decent kebab for under a tenner. It’s just London life.
Honestly, it’s a tough place to be young, poor and beautiful.
Here are 20 times the beautiful people of Instagram really understood the good, the bad, and the horrific that London life has in-store for a student.
1. 20°C? Madness!
We all know that it’s cold in London, but you never ever think about turning on the heat. Wear three extra jumpers. In fact, why not six? You see, heating is expensive and your fingers are not. So risk frostbite and see 20°C indoors for what it is; a thing of the past.
2. World’s most interns
London is one of best places on earth for internships. The problem is, it’s one of the worst in the world for getting paid for them! When you live there, try and do as many as possible, they are frighteningly useful for contacts, and most people in the UK have no chance of taking them. You’re lucky.
3. This has, for some reason, become your bike
Somehow, the best way to bike around London is, according to the locals, in the same manner as a bear from a soviet-era Russian circus. These bikes are obviously silly, but at least they fit on the Tube… and in your tiny East London flat.
4. You take all your visiting relatives here… because it’s free.
All the treasures of the world laid out for you to peruse and enjoy. Of course, the main draw here is the price tag… which is nothing at all. So you’ll be taking granny to the V&A and mother to the Tate as well, obviously. Just as long as they buy lunch.
5. Worth more than your grandmother
These two little beauties, your student Oyster Card and your 16-25 Railcard, are basically the equivalent of a Willy Wonka golden ticket. Hold them close, like a dear friend or a really cheap way to get train tickets.
6. The night bus is London’s best hostel
We all know you live about 60 minutes out of the centre. Of course you do, you’re a student. So expect the night bus to become your only friend, and your worst enemy, on those ‘late’ nights out in Camden or Soho. Pray they get The Night Tube sorted asap.
7. Find your place with Uniplaces
So you’ve been looking for a place to stay, have you? Well, Uniplaces is probably your best bet (and we’re not just saying that). Expect prices starting at anything from £100-£220 a week.
8. This is unbelievably cheap for a pint
What a price! Really, seriously. You’re lucky to get a pint of beer for under £4 in most London pubs these days. So buy about six, pop ’em into a giant hip flask and bingo! That’s your night sorted. Stick to the uni students’ union, you might be a bit luckier.
9. These fake signs are all too real
Some urban joker started replacing authentic Transport for London stickers with their own satirical versions. Some are total genius, but most tell you more about London Tube culture than you’ll ever learn from a book or the TV.
10. You went in here and never came out again!
The British Library, between Euston and Kings Cross/St. Pancras stations, is ridiculously big. They carry every single book printed in the UK and Ireland, adding 3 million more a year. Alongside the 150 million books they already own, it’s a bit of an epic read. Careful you don’t find the entrance to Narnia at the back!
11. Nobody really cares how you dress
Fancy dress is a British student institution, suitable for almost any occasion. Weirdly, in London, nobody will really care. You should see how some people dress here every day. London is a world where clothing has few rules.
12. If you’re gonna smoke, you better learn to do this!
Rolling your own is the only way, I’m afraid. Loose tobacco is expensive, but cigarettes are ridiculous. Still, expect the health warning on the packets to be in any language from Portuguese to Polish.
13. Value brands are the only brands
Britain is brilliant at value grocery shopping. Not only do we have a ton of Aldis and Lidls, but every supermarket has a semi-decent value range. Be brave. It’ll change your life, not just your diet.
14. These bags are your Armani
Primark, or Primani, as it’s sometimes known, is genius for cheap and reasonable clothes. Of course, don’t expect anything to be drastically ethnically sourced. But it’s everywhere and their prices are frighteningly low.
15. So what if you can’t afford a wristwatch
Once or twice you may actually find yourself using the world’s most famous clock to simply tell the time. It’s usually perfect to the second and sounds beautifully dramatic on the hour.
16. This room is huge to you now
Whatever you thought ‘tiny’ was before, you’re gonna have to reassess your definition. Rents are high in London and the rooms are small. Somebody even tried to rent a cupboard under the stairs, Harry Potter-style, for £500 month once. Be prepared.
17. You commute to uni by boat (maybe)
Depending on where you study and live, this is actually a reasonable option. Seriously. It’s on the Oyster Card network and is pretty quick (and has very pretty views).
18. Your British neighbours are from all over the world
Ah, London, one of the most multicultural cities on Earth. Everyone is a local, but they all have a story, history, and an origin. The city is around 30% foreign born and, in some parts, 80% of people can be from an ethnic minority. It’s a true melting pot. Enjoy it.
19. There are no consonants!
Whatever this Instagrammer says, this is not a ‘British Accent’. This traditional London, or ‘Cockney’, pronunciation is still common with people across the whole South East of England. Expect long vowels, teenie tiny consonants and some very creative slang.
20. This has become your normal walk
Okay, so maybe not this exact walk, but you’re gonna get good at competitive strolling, especially if you’re three minutes late for a lecture. London is one of the best cities for high-speed people watching.
And don’t forget! If you want to study in any of these cities, wherever you are in the world, you can live rent-free for a whole semester. Just sign-up for the Uniplaces Scholarship!
Thanks for reading this post! We hope to see you soon, coming back for more.
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And remember: if you need student accommodation in London, or many other places in Europe, you’ll find the student home you’re looking for on Uniplaces.
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