4 Tips for Navigating the Wonders of London

Rachel Lewis is a student at St. Ambrose University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in London, England.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably never traveled abroad, let alone boarded an aircraft. Maybe you’ve only ever seen the sea twice. Perhaps you’re also a relatively introverted, shy person, and you prefer quiet nights at home. Navigating London, socially, culturally, and geographically is no doubt a challenge, but one that is worthwhile at the end of every day.

1. Familiarize yourself with every form of transportation possible, including the adorable Barclay’s bikes. Once you’ve mastered the Tube, the buses, walking, or using the bikes – you’ll find that it’s easier to connect the many pieces of the puzzle and start to really understand where you are and just how easy it is to get from place to place.

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And here, behold, the Instagram-worthy and picturesque view from one of London’s infamous double decker buses!

2. When meeting with your advisor, make sure to try and fit in London-specific classes. While it’s great to take classes for your major–I’m going half and half with classes related to my major and classes that are London specific–it is also important to come to know London in more unique ways than exploring it on your own or even through ISA. For example, I’m taking two art classes, both of which require students to visit a new museum in London each week. I’m visiting two London museums per week and learning about the history of London through its art in the process. It’s a win-win situation.

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The famous “Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red” by Piet Mondrian was one of the many museum highlights – including “Sunflowers” by Vincent Van Gogh, which I also was able to see!


3. Keep your eyes pealed for opportunities because they’re everywhere. London is a large city so no matter what your hobby or interest, London will have something to accommodate you. And sometimes – London offers them for free! Look out for people that hand brochures or coupons out on the streets because sometimes you can strike a major deal. For me, I love stand up comedy – and what do you know, I was handed a free ticket to visit an underground comedy club called “The Top Secret Comedy Club.” Thanks, London. It was a real treat.

4. Lastly, meet and make friends with local students! When you connect with British students, you learn 10x more about the culture in the UK than you ever thought you would. You’re able to spend time with locals and, if one of your goals in mind is to be able to live like a local, meeting British students will help you do just that!

Want to read more about London? Check out “5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your First 2 Weeks in London”