1. Don’t be afraid to get lost
When going to a new city it is very easy to keep your eyes glued to a map and stay on the right path. But when you do that, you miss out on all of the things going on around you. In my first week my flat mates and I ventured out and tried to find our way home without a map and not much of a plan. Though it did take us 2 hours to get home, we were able to see so much of London and it helped later on when I was walking to recognize landmarks I had passed before. London has a lot of maps near tube stations you can reference and if you need to, hop on the nearest tube and you will be home in no time!
2. Do something you cannot do in your hometown
One day my flat mates and I had an afternoon meeting so instead of just waiting around in the flat to leave we decided to visit the house of Elizabeth James from The Parent Trap. It was cool to see a movie set and then walk through Hyde Park to get to our meeting. A day in the life of a Londoner!
3. Make a budget
Once you get to London you have a better idea of how much things will cost, so make a budget and stick to it. It is so easy to spend money on impulse buys but if you keep a budget you will find you will be able to enjoy life throughout the semester without the constant worry of money.
4. Try a London Tradition
While there are many American staples in London like Starbucks and McDonald’s, you will never fully immerse yourself in the culture if you stick with goods from back home. I don’t care much for fish but on the first night my flat mates went to get some fish and chips and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
5. Take Time to Relax
It’s really easy to get caught up in the excitement of wanting to see and try everything when you first get to London. I don’t suggest spending all day in your flat, but make sure you don’t jam pack your days all the time. Luckily you have a whole semester to take in the city, and if you don’t take time to relax, you will get burnt out.
Want to read more about London? Check out “History Coming Alive in London”