Tips for NYU students in London:
1. Call it the left side of the road, not the wrong side. British people will be very offended if you call it the wrong side. They refer to it as the correct side. Left is neutral.
2. On escalators, stand on the right and walk on the left. We have this rule in the States too, but Londoners get much more angry if you don’t follow it.
3. Don’t get loud on the Tube. You’ll notice that most people are silent or having very quiet conversations. You will get a lot of angry looks and muttering behind hands if you shout or play your music too loud.
4. Take buses rather than the Tube whenever you can. They’re cheaper, get you closer to your destination, and allow you to see more of the city.
5. When you take your picture with a red telephone booth, stand outside the booth rather than inside. The booths are more frequently used as toilets than calling points these days.
6. Go to pubs. All the time. Even when you don’t want to drink (it’s perfectly acceptable to order soda or juice). Pubs are where you will have the most interesting conversations with Londoners, plus they’re cozy and often have delicious food.
7. Museums are FREE. Go to every museum.
8. Do not ask people what newspaper they read or where they buy groceries. The newspaper question is akin to asking what political party they support, and will lead to an argument. The grocery stores are very divided on class lines, and someone may be embarrassed to answer.
9. Join all the ULU clubs. Taking classes and living exclusively with NYU students makes it really hard to meet British people (pub conversations, while very interesting, tend not to lead to lasting friendships). Join clubs in order to become part of London student culture. The Harry Potter Society is especially awesome.
10. Carry your umbrella always. No matter how sunny it is, no matter what your weather app says, no matter how short your trip outside is going to be. If you do not have your umbrella, it will rain.
11. Do not go to Primark on a weekend. Primark is a wonderful store full of extremely cheap and cute clothing. Everyone in London knows this. Go on a weekday morning, when you are much more likely to get near the items you want and not spend an hour on the queue.
12. Plan your night out. Pubs close at 11, and a bar that’s open may not be within your immediate sightline when you leave. DesignMyNight is a very useful tool.
13. The Fleet River Bakery is a wonderful place to study. It’s a short walk from two of the NYU dorms, serves great food, has free WiFi, and will let you sit all day even if you only order tea.
14. Sign up for all they day trips. The guide who leads them is amazing. He knows everything about London and the UK and manages to be very funny while teaching history. My favorites were the King Arthur Weekend, Bath and Brighton.
15. When you complain about missing bagels (which I do every day), people will tell you to go to Brick Lane Bagels. Those are…ok, I guess, but they are NOT New York bagels by a long shot. Londoners will tell you they are. Lower your expectations.
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