After a long, complicated application process, you finally get accepted to study abroad in London, England. London is often a popular choice since there’s not much of a language barrier. This means that slang words aside, you will be able to understand what these people are saying 98% of the time. And in time, that number may move closer to 100% after picking up on all the slang words Londoners say. Before you know it, instead of asking someone to sleep with you, you’ll be asking them to bunk-up.
There are so many things to do and places to see in London, you may not have time to experience it all in just one semester. To help you soak in as much of London as possible, The Campus Socialite has created a guide with the what-to-know if you plan on going there.
Like with most places, you’re going to need money when you go to London. Obviously, you can’t use your American money. Fortunately, you can trade some of your dollar bills for the British pounds. Even better, our dollar value is higher than that of a pound, so you’ll be getting more for your money.
So what’s one of the first things you’ll do with this money? Shop, of course! Similar to the U.S., London has many department stores and markets. While they have many high-end, more expensive shops, their low-end shops are just as fashionable. All of my friends who have traveled to London were obsessed with Camden Market. Anything you can think of, they sell at Camden Market, and for good prices. Another popular store is Top Shop; London’s version of Forever 21.
If you are only visiting London for a weekend on your study abroad trip, then you’ll probably need someplace to pass out. Fortunately, there are plenty of hostels to stay at, depending on your budget. Hostels are great because you can stay someplace that is more like a bed and breakfast, or stay somewhere with a bed, a bathroom, and not much more. The best hostel to stay at in London is the Generator Hostel in Bloomsbury. It’s made specifically for students with inexpensive rates. The Generator even has it’s own restaurant, lounge, and store. The best part is, unlike other hostels, the Generator has no curfew, so you can literally stumble in and out as you please.
If you’re going out to eat in America, it’s customary to tip your server at the end of the meal. If you don’t, not only do you look super rude, but you can expect a sneeze muffin or something next time you go into that restaurant. In London, just like in most of Europe, the tip policy is different. Servers in London do not expect any kind of a tip at the end of the meal. You may feel awkward not tipping since you’re used to it, but it would be even more awkward if your server just hands the money right back to you. This would immediately make you look like a tourist (though your American accent would probably give you away also).
Another thing you must do in London is have an afternoon tea. It’ll make you feel ten times classier than you were before and it’s something everyone in London, including the queen, does. Other food you must try include: fish and chips, bangers and mash, and the Sunday roast. However, never fear you hardcore Americans. McDonalds still exist, so feel free to grab that Big Mac after your afternoon tea.
If you’re looking for a typical tourist experience, you can go chill with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, or take the London Eye and see a view from the world’s highest observational tower. Or, if you’re like me and love Harry Potter, a must-see is King’s Cross Station. You can go channel your inner child and pretend you’re off to Hogwarts. Another London tourist experience is going on a double decker bus tour. This guarantees you’ll get to see all the sights.
While in London, something you must do is drink…and drink a lot. Take advantage of the lower drinking age as often and as much as possible for those of you under 21. You can now legally go to clubs and bars, so go nuts with the London pubs scene. Pubs get most crowded during sports events, since this is where everyone goes to get drunk and watch them.
A bar you must visit while in London is the Absolut Ice Bar. The bar is kept at a constant -5 degrees and everything in it is made of ice, including the glass they give you. You even get your own thermal cape when you walk in to stay warm.
So there you have it, a what-to-know guide for going to London. There’s a lot to do and if you only have a limited time, be sure to check out all the places I mentioned before going anywhere else.
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