The LION Series 2: The International Guide to London

By Camilla Einem

This article is part of The LION Series from the Freshers’ Magazine Takeover. Each post this week features a snippet from an article in The LION Magazine 2020/21 Issue 1. 

The LION magazine is written by third-year King’s students, all of whom have recently completed their BA English degrees.

The magazine helps first-year students in the English Department transition into university life.

This post is by Camilla, a Norwegian who is passionate about travel, languages, and writing and who recently graduated from King’s College London with a BA degree in English.

On my way to London! Good thing the camera wasn’t facing the other way, or you’d be seeing a very nervous soon-to-be fresher.

Moving to a new country can feel excruciatingly overwhelming at times but let me assure you that it is equally fun and exciting! Having moved from my home in the Arctic to London in 2017 in order to undertake a degree at King’s, I know all about it. You’re probably tired of hearing about this, but there’s no denying that as the class of 2023 you will be starting your degrees with the added pressure of a worldwide pandemic. Things will certainly be different to how they were when I was a fresher three years ago – however, I hope that some of these tips will still be helpful.

Although specifically targeted towards international students about to set foot on Strand campus for the first time, most of these tips will apply to anyone new to London. Having gone from being a London newbie to a self-proclaimed veteran, I’ve gathered my top tips that I wish I had known when I first arrived. You’ve got this!

Banks

Depending on what country your current bank is located in, you might find it easier to open up a UK bank account.  Personally, I waited until my third year before finally opening up a UK bank account because I kept telling myself I didn’t need one. I have, however, found it extremely helpful to be able to transfer large chunks of money whenever the currency is in my favour. Additionally, if you are looking to work alongside your studies, a UK bank account will be necessary in order to actually get paid (which is kind of the whole point, right?).

On Liverpool Street. Tip: ‘The Book Club’ and
‘Queen of Hoxton’ are both great bars.

There are many factors to consider when choosing what bank to open an account with. Because I am no expert, I will link to this guide which I personally found really helpful when choosing a bank. For banks with branches located conveniently close to Strand Campus, I would recommend Barclays (there are at least three within walking distance), HSBC, NatWest, Santander and Lloyds.

Healthcare

Registering with a health centre is far from the most exciting thing to do when arriving in a new country, but it is nonetheless one of the most important. KCL has a health centre conveniently located on the 3rd floor of Bush House, which is part of the Strand Campus. Although it is not compulsory to register with this particular GP, I found it very convenient and would recommend it wholeheartedly. Simply register online.

Travelling in London

The beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral, about a 15-minute walk from Strand Campus.

Right, so you’ve arrived in London – now how do you get around? Although Ubers and other taxi services are easily available, the cost tends to add up. Lucky for you, London has one of the best infrastructures you will ever come across, with the most popular modes of transportation being tube and bus. Depending on where you live in the city, one might be more convenient than the other. I spent my first year at Great Dover Street Apartments, which is on the South side of the river near London Bridge, and although it is ‘only’ a 30-minute walk from Strand Campus I will admit that I barely ever walked.


Blog posts on King’s English represent the views of the individual authors and neither those of the English Department, the LION Magazine and its editor, nor of King’s College London.


You may also like to read other articles from the LION series:

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