International Students Officer Diana Yu answered some FAQs for our new international students about moving to London.
Is London really expensive?
Like all cities, London can be quite expensive, but there are always a lot of cheaper options. As far as food, students do not need to resort to McDonald’s everyday—there are plenty of student budget-friendly options near and around campus. Some students might find that it is less expensive to cook for themselves, in which case chains like Sainsbury’s are a great place to shop. Public transportation is also extremely convenient in London and very affordable with an Oyster card.
How hard is London to get around?
Public transportation (whether the on the Tube or on the bus system) is very efficient and convenient, and will take you just about anywhere. Definitely invest in an Oyster card, it makes getting around much easier and less expensive. Overall, though London is a big city, it is also very well-connected, making it very easy to explore all the sites—or to just get from one place to another.
Is there anywhere I will be able to find some home comforts?
Because London is a very international city and is populated by people from all over the globe, there is almost certainly a place where any student can find the comfort of home. Whether it’s entire cultural neighborhoods, or just a number of restaurants serving your home cuisine, you can always find someplace if you’re feeling a bit homesick.
Are English people friendly?
Wherever you go, you’ll be able to find someone willing to help you out or lend a hand. One time, I was stranded in Hyde Park with Oyster card or money because it had fallen out of my pocket. It was late, and I didn’t want to have to walk home. When I explained what had happened to the people working in Hyde Park Tube Station, they were more than happy to let me through without charging me. They even called ahead to my destination station to tell them to let me through when I got there. I cannot speak for everyone, but I’ve had only good experiences so far in London.
What’s English food like?
English food is highly stereotyped by cuisine like fish and chips, steak and kidney pie, and shepherd’s pie. To a large extent, you will get English cuisine like that in typical pubs. However, that only comprises a small fraction of the food available in London. Because it’s such a diverse and international city, there’s great food from all different cultures. There are authentic Indian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, even Ethiopian restaurants. The stereotypical English food doesn’t characterize the selection in London at all.
What’s it like being an International Student in London?
It’s exciting and full of opportunities. London is such a thriving city, and one of the business and cultural hubs of the world. With connections to all the corners of Europe, it presents great opportunities for travel. Within London itself, there are so many great experiences for international students. With free museums and beautiful historic sites, there is always something to do in London. For those who are worried about homesickness, they can always find places that remind them of home because of London’s large international community. Moreover, LSE’s extremely diverse population ensures that nobody is stuck alone.