By Ahdra Merali, BSc Computer Science and Management, Department of Informatics
- Join a society for your country
King’s has tons of societies dedicated to celebrating different cultures, spanning all the way from Spanish Society to India Society to East African Society with loads more in between. Joining a society will help you feel at home and it will be an easy way to find people who you have things in common with. These societies also celebrate any culture-specific celebrations which will help fight any home-sickness you might feel.
- Download the tube map on your phone
Navigating London can be a confusing task, even more so if you are new. There will be countless times when you will need to reference the map, so it’s handy to have it readily available on your phone. Not only will this spare you from panicking if you are on the right tube, but it will give you a sense of security whenever you go somewhere new.
- Bring something from home
Be it a little teddy bear or your favourite blanket, something that reminds you of home will be of great comfort to you on those days where you get really home-sick. Bring a snack for when you get sick, or a particular brand of tea that you only get in your home-town. The smallest things will be of the greatest value.
- Don’t bring too much
While it is good to bring a few things from home, make sure not to go too overboard. Remember that you probably won’t have much space so try to keep it light. And if you need anything you didn’t bring you’ll be sure to find it in London. Trust me, leave your book collection behind, and you will not need that third pair of sports shoes. Stick to the minimum.
- Secure accommodation.
I can’t stress this enough! Check and double-check that you have a place to stay. Make sure any deposits have been paid. If you are under 18, make sure the place you are staying knows and will allow you to move in on the move-in date. I was two weeks shy of turning 18 when I arrived in London and I wasn’t allowed to move in until my birthday. Make sure you have this sorted, it will save you a lot of stress down the line.
- Money matters
Plan a budget before arriving in London. Life here can be expensive, but planning ahead will give you an edge. Look at which ZIP oyster cards you may be eligible for, pick up an NUS card, look out for student deals. These tricks can help reduce the cost of living. Meal planning instead of eating out can save you £50 upwards monthly. And while you’re at it, make sure you have a UK bank account, even if you have one back home too, it’s cheaper than converting small amount of money and handy in emergencies.