Interview with a Student: Manel Santacruz Gomez

Manel is a law student from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain. He spent his final year studying abroad at King’s College London, where he and the author met passing handouts at a Russian Legal System seminar.

Did you find it difficult to adjust to life in London?
Not really. At the end of the day, London is one of the most international cities in the world and it is easy to find your place. However, the days here are much shorter than back in Spain and I could never get used to not seeing the sun for days. It is also true that in the beginning, living in a new place was daunting.

What things helped you adjust during that time?
I think that in the early days, it was useful to go to every student abroad meeting. They were extremely helpful for making new friends and getting involved in KCL activities and societies.

Quick: name three things that should be on the London bucket list of every study abroad student.
That’s not easy to answer! The first thing I recommend is to just get lost. That’s the best way to discover London. Secondly, visit Sky Garden. It is simply amazing – the views, the design, the atmosphere of excited tourists. Thirdly, go to Cubana along Lower Marsh during happy hour. You will meet a lot of people there and have lots of fun.

It sounds like you really enjoyed yourself, even though living in London can be expensive.
That’s true. Everybody knows it’s expensive, but no one really appreciates it until they come here to live.

How did you manage? Any tips for other students?
I think that the best thing to do is to plan a budget each month: I calculated how much I needed for food and transport and how much I could use for leisure. To save, I strongly recommend avoiding public transport and walking or cycling instead. I also recommend not being lazy and cooking for yourself. A final tip is to go out without a credit card and only take the cash you want to “waste”. Believe me, this simple tactic will save you a lot of money!

What will you miss the most about London?
I will miss so many things – the people, the university, the city itself, all the good moments I had here. At the same time, life is just stage after stage and I am really happy that I could spend a whole year here! It has been awesome and I’m taking home a lot of good memories.

But I’m guessing you won’t miss the weather.
[Laughs] No, absolutely not. For people like me that come from warm places, this past winter was a bit tough, although it was fun when it snowed!

London will likewise miss you. When do you think you’ll be back?
I don’t know really, but I am sure it won’t take long. I love this city.


Hannah Tablan