Tips for Studying Abroad in London

In London, Tips, The Art of Travel Fall 2014 by Sally4 Comments



Academics are pretty rigorous in London, especially if you’re taking economics or politics courses. I hear the creative writing class also has an incredibly heavy workload. Be sure to stay on top of your assignments and readings or else you’ll be struggling during finals week (me, currently). Traveling is great, but not at the expense of your EXPENSIVE EDUCATION! REMEMBER: Work hard, play hard.


At least in my experience, they’ve been. I think it’s the british humor that doesn’t translate well when you first arrive, but you’ll get used to it. I know during the orientation seminars, a lot of people were offended by the speakers BUT I don’t think the speakers intended to be rude. There’s just a different understanding of humor here.


Whether it’s going to a Les Miserable show, or going to the Harry Potter studios, be sure to sign up for as many activities and trips as possible, as soon as possible because they’re FREE and they fill up FAST! The Harry Potter Studio Tour was full in 1 minute. I was fortunate enough to get a spot… but didn’t end up going, which brings me to another point – you can always skip out if you plan a trip after signing up. Don’t worry about the commitment.


One of my biggest regrets is signing up for a gym at the University of London. Not only is it a small space ALWAYS packed, it’s a pretty far walk. Its time consuming walking to the gym, walking back, then walking to class. Also, having a gym so far deters me from wanting to work out. Maybe this tip is only applicable for me, but I really recommend getting a gym membership nearby like Fitness First or Nuffield.


First of all, cabs usually don’t take cards. Secondly, they’re ridiculously overpriced. I really recommend you download the UBER app, if you haven’t already, and use it whenever you need a cab. It’s super convenient and cost-efficient. They have UBER all over Europe, so don’t waste money on cabs from the airport and use UBER. Our cab ride from the airport to our place in Brussels was 60 euros compared to our UBER ride back to the airport that was only 15 euros.


The London abroad site is really unique in that we partner with University of London. Use their resources and get involved. Go to the club fair early on in the semester and sign up for clubs you might be interested in. My flatmate joined a business club and loves it. This is an easy way to meet other students in London.


Go out and explore the city. Don’t waste your Fridays recovering from the night before in your bed. Drink some Vitamin Water, get up and go to the Tate Modern or try curry on Bricklane. Go to their amazing markets. I know my flatemates and I have spent too many days at home doing nothing but rotting. Instead of watching Netflix, I wish I spent more outside in London. Now that I’m leaving in 12 days, I can’t help but feel regretful of my lazy choices.

(Image: ; Source: )


  1. Hi Sally,

    I love how you get down to business in your post with some truly helpful advice. I actually am pretty jealous of the sassy British humour you’re experiencing. Australians are known for being a bit crass, but all of my professors don’t really enlist any dark comedy or crudeness, which I would actually find quite amusing. I think your last piece of advice would serve every college student well. Too often do I see myself and others recovering instead of living, even in NYC. Thanks for a great read!

  2. Hi Sally,

    I studied in London all of last year and I wish I had access to your tips last year. I really agree with all of your tips, but I want to comment on your tips about classes and the gym. In London, classes are not easy in any regards. They require constant thought and study if you want to get an A. I am not sure if you are going to believe me, but the classes at NYU Shanghai are even harder. It is almost ridiculous. For my finals, I have one exam, two papers with lengths between 15-20 pages, and one paper which has to be between 25-30 pages. It’s borderline ridiculous, but I guess i just have to accept it. In regards to the gym in London, the only reasonable solution is Nuffield, as you said. It was completely redone while I was in London, and although it is a bit expensive, most of the money goes to a good cause. A lot of people don’t know this, but Nuffield health is actually one of the largest charities in England.

    Anyways, good luck with finals!!!


  3. Hi Sally!

    I agree with five of your seven tips. Regarding the British humor thing, I think this is mostly, but not always, true. Many of the speakers during Global Orientations were just using a dry sense of humor. But the professor, who may have thought he was being funny, definitely diverged from a different sense of humor into saying things that were just tasteless and offensive (at least to me).

    Regarding Uber, it’s great to have an alternative cab service, but I would advise people to be careful. Uber is coming under fire all over the world for not properly carrying out background checks on drivers, and there have been incidents of altercations between drivers and passengers. I think the best bet for London transport is the buses.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the semester here too!

  4. Hey Sally,
    So funny that our tips could not be more different.
    Classes in Florence are usually easy, Uber will probably never make it to this city and no one in Italy seems to go to the gym. But what we both agree with is that exploring the city is really important. It seems like you had a great time in London!

Leave a Comment