A Guide to Packing

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Shopping for practically anything is a breeze in London – if you know where to look, that is. Finding out which establishments have the best deals will take some trial and error, and you’ll be a seasoned consumer in no time. However, in your first week of arriving here, the last thing you should do is wander blindly in the streets of London searching for a shop that sells shampoo because it had completely slipped your mind to pack it! To avoid such a hairy catastrophe (and other similar disasters) from occurring, take a look at the following check-list:

1. Things you can’t live without
I know this sounds fairly obvious, but some items have fused so seamlessly into our lives that it doesn’t even cross our minds to pack them. Try going through your daily routine at home, whilst compiling a list of things that you used along the way – your medicines, toiletries, phone charger etc. It’s amazing how many things we take for granted!

2. Documents
Nobody likes going through the identification check at the customs, but it’s not exactly legal to bolt past the security gates either. To speed things up, have your passport, visa and confirmation of studies letter ready in your hand luggage. If you’re a pursuing a healthcare-related course, you would be required to take your immunity records as well to facilitate your immunisation process later in the year.

3. Clothing
If you’re from a tropical country like me, chances are you’ve only been accustomed to the sweltering heat and torrential downpours. However, don’t fret if you’re completely lacking any winter attire. September is usually not the chilliest time of the year, so there’s still plenty of time to purchase some after you’ve settled down. Besides, your local retail outlets might not have the most appropriate winter attire for the chilly and damp London atmosphere. As a side note, pack a set of formal-wear for official ceremonies and a pair of gloves for protection against the harsh winds.

4. Books & stationery
We all know that one guy who has perused the entire semester’s textbooks before classes have even commenced, but is it really advisable to purchase them in advance? The answer to that would be a resounding “no”. During your induction, your lecturers will outline the few mandatory core books, and the libraries at King’s should provide you with sufficient further reading material. Also, there are numerous second-hand book sales in September that you should absolutely watch out for. Stationery doesn’t weigh much anyway so go ahead and buy all the pens you’ll never need.

5. Cooking
Nothing conjures stronger feelings of nostalgia like eating your favourite food from home. However, if you’re currently stuffing your luggage with bottles of soy sauce and curry paste, you might want to think twice about that. London is a multicultural city and as such, is populated by international merchants who stock up on many imported food items. The best example to illustrate this would be Chinatown, where you’ll be able to find a slew of exotic condiments and ingredients. Kitchen appliances are fairly affordable as well, so there’s absolutely no need to pack your heavy frying pan. That being said, I wouldn’t imagine that many Asian mothers (mine included) would permit their children to leave home without a rice cooker, so just be an obedient child and do so. Soon enough, you’ll realise how versatile it actually is!

chinatown london

6. Bedding
Most student accommodation will not come with blankets or duvets, so I would recommend compacting these in a vacuum bag and cramming them into your luggage. Pillows take way too much space, so don’t even attempt to squeeze one in.

7. Miscellaneous
Do check if your devices are compatible with UK’s plugs; if they’re not, it would be wise to purchase a few adapters. While it is extremely useful to own a personal printer, it would be unfeasible to fit one into your luggage considering its sheer bulk. Hence, I would suggest just purchasing one here.

8. Personal items
Being in a foreign land with hardly any familiar faces around you, there will inevitably be times when you’ll feel rather miserable. Nevertheless, you’ll be surprised by how much a few tokens from home can cheer you up and provide the motivation you need to keep going. Be it a birthday card or simply your stinky stuffed animal, take whatever it is that will evoke some poignant memories of home. Just remember – whatever it is you are going through will come to pass eventually, and things will get better if you persevere and march on.

With all that said, I hope you don’t get overwhelmed by the whole packing process and I bid you a safe journey to London! You don’t know it yet, but your best life chapter is just about to begin.

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Chinese New Year Away from Home

long distance reunion dinnerAuthor: Jaycie

My name is Jaycie Chan and I’m from Malaysia. I am currently a second year LLB Law student at King’s College London. Chinese New Year is always the most important festival of the year for the Chinese. In Malaysia, we usually have the school holidays for a week and this is the opportunity for everyone to go back to their hometown to visit their friends and family. Continue reading

Winter Wonderland in the capital

Oxford street 2Author: Edith

About a week ago, I was still in my ripped jeans and t-shirts and could pass without a warm coat but now, as it’s the 8th of December, it seems London has put a spin on things. If you, like me, can’t wait a full 24 days to finish your advent calendar, will eat all of the chocolate provided in an advent calendar with your friend late at night as soon as it hits the first of December. Apart from the endless chocolate, whether it be in a mug warmed up in the microwave or just an entire block to yourself, you’ll give yourself the excuse that “Well, it’s basically Christmas”.  Continue reading

Food in London

“Being fed”

Author: Rachel

Living in London is sometimes considered a costly ordeal, however, with King’s being at the heart of such a multicultural and vibrant city, we learn to take advantage of all the deals and discounts this city has to offer.

On the way along southbank

When considering the basic necessities of living, my mind goes to two things, food and travel. One must be fed to go see the world, and one must see the world to be fed, with different cuisines and flavours. If you don’t know already, King’s has three main campuses: Guy’s, Waterloo, and Strand. With all three campuses situated no more than 10 minutes walk away from the Thames’ riverbank, there is an abundant amount of choices of places to go to visit and to enjoy a meal.

 Guy’sBorough Market campus is located right next to London bridge, with Borough Market on one side, and Hay’s Galleria on the other, there is a wide variety to choose from. Walking along Southbank may lead you straight to Waterloo campus, making it one of my favourite walks in between classes that take no more than 20 minutes. This walk takes you by the Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern, and a row of restaurants (including Pizza Express, Zizzi’s, the Real Greek, Eat) that have weekday discounts all available from their websites.

By the time you reach Waterlspain food festoo, the quick and fast selection from Waterloo station supplemented with the more well-known, group dinner places down the road, there is never a shortage of places to eat. In addition, the regular pop-up food festivals along Southbank provide even more diverse flavour choices and cuisines. Just crossing Waterloo Bridge to reach the Strand Campus, brings a whole new range of restaurants along the Strand, or evemaceronsn in Covent Garden.

The wealth of choices is definitely not a problem, but part of the excitement is the journey. So take the time to explore your options, find your favourite, and never forget to shamelessly ask ‘Do you have a student discount?’