When I went home for Winter Break, everybody asked me the same question: “How’s London?” I would respond with, “Well…”
To be honest, I hated it. The weather sucked, it was expensive, and it just wasn’t exciting. After living in New York for a year, everything just seemed ‘less.’ Public transportation wasn’t efficient, there were too many tube strikes, and there was nothing to do. My friends from home told me to rediscover London.
That’s when I realized, I had never really discovered
London. Where had I been? And what had I done? Typing “Things to do in London” into a Google Search Bar really gave me some perspective. I hadn’t even stepped foot inside The British Museum, which is pretty embarrassing since it’s right next to the NYU London building. I would pass it every day, but never go inside.
As a Stern Ambassador, I’m always asked questions about the school and living in New York City in general. Prospective students and parents, after expressing their worries about sending their 17-year-old child to school in New York City, always
ask for tips. My go-to tip is simply: buy a monthly Metrocard for the first month.
This is my number one tip for London too. If you can get away with it, try to get your parents to gift you an unlimited monthly Oyster card for Zones 1 and 2. Having no barriers to travel makes it easier to explore the city you’re living in. So many incoming freshmen at NYU never go above 14th Street, but why?
When I came to London, I limited the amount of times I took the tube to save some money. While I gained a few Pounds, I lost out on exploring so many parts of London. Luckily, I was able to restart my experience in London. The first thing I did was purchase a monthly Oyster card. Instead of limiting the number of trips I took, I tried to use the tube as much as possible in the month to make up for the money I spent. I found myself saying ‘yes’ to more things, and exploring so much more of the city because of it.
Granted, I live off campus so I needed an Oyster card anyway, but the main message is explore as much as you can. By exploring, even just the little things, you can find out really useful things. I walked into a Waitrose one day and found out that if I signed up for their Club Card, I could get free coffee every morning!
Take advantage of the cultural events that NYU London provides; they’re an easy way to explore for free! Never take cabs in London. They’re expensive. If you absolutely need one, order an Uber instead. Unlike New York, they’re actually cheaper than cabs here. Definitely travel to other great places in Europe, but try to get to know London as much as you can too. It can make or break your experience.
(The image is a soccer game I went to. Tickets were free, provided by NYU London!)