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Home / Student Life / Life In Uk / Student Life In London

Student Life in London

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Student Life in London

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The simple fact is that no any other UK city comes close to London in terms of attractions, nightlife, culture or just plain size. While Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle all have their own attractive qualities, and Birmingham and Glasgow are pretty big, none of them have the gravity that London has; the unstoppable pull of the bright lights that draws people from all over the globe. The upshot is that whatever floats your boat London has plenty to offer.

There's the many galleries, from the flashing lights and piles of discarded newspapers in the Tate Modern to the classic works in the National Portrait Gallery and everything in between. There's the innumerable shops; check out the designer clothing in Oxford Street and the Kings' Road, the huge variety of second hand record shops in Berwick Street, the gadgetry in Tottenham Court Road or get a suit made up in Saville Row.

With 8 league football clubs and many more non-league ones there's almost always a match on somewhere, or else there's always Lords, the Oval, Twickenham or Wimbledon. There's the Science, Natural History, Imperial War, Victoria and Albert and British museums, which all have the major advantage of being free and there's also plenty of exciting smaller museums, who can resist the excitement of the Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum or the Church Famhouse Museum, with its Victorian scullery? And if all fails there's always plenty of sightseeing to do, what with Big Ben, 7 royal palaces, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, the London Eye etc. etc. Or you can always just go to the Dome and point and laugh.

Of course London really comes into its own at night. There's the theatres and cinemas of the West End; many of them catering for more fringe productions or arthouse movies and the Globe has to be seen at least once. If you're into food then absolutely everything is avaliable in London; it's a case of around the world in 90 dishes. If you're a normal student, though, mostly you'll be taking advantage of the bars and clubs and there's plenty to take advantage of. The number of bars in London is truly staggering; with Soho, Covent Garden, Brixton, Clapham, Islington, Camden and Notting Hill each having as many bars as most city centres, and with many smaller centres like Hoxton and Farringdon to explore as well, it would take many years to exhaust London's booze joints.

With so much competition many bars go for outlandish themes to distinguish themselves; table football (Cafe Kick), classical music (Bartok) and chocolate (Bar Chocolate) to name but three. Such variety ensures that you'll never get bored. As for clubs, London is the home of the super club, especially now the Hacienda's gone, and if you aren't excited by the prospect of going to at least one out of Fabric, Turnmills, Mass, The Ministry of Sound, Metro, or The Electric Ballroom then maybe London isn't for you after all. As well as the big names there's plenty of smaller clubs catering for all musical tastes as well as literally 100s of gigs every night so even if you're into Danish Old Skool or Japanese Death Metal there's probably something out there for you.

As for the unis, London has more than its fair share. The University of London is the main centre of learning, and in many subjects London colleges, which confusingly enough are also universities in their own right, are at least on a par with Oxford or Cambridge, in particular Imperial College for science and technological subjects and the London School of Economics for politics and economics. In addition the two largest colleges, University College and King's College have their own specialities, with Kings boasting the largest medical school in Europe. There's also some specialisation you don't get elsewhere; Heythrop College is run by the Jesuits and has a world class theology department while Royal Holloway, set just outside London, is probably the best place for agriculture in the UK.

There are some quite bizarre specialisations too; the School of Oriental and African Studies and School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine unsurprisingly specialise in Oriental and African studies and hygeine and tropical medivcine respectively. There's plenty of universities outisde the main University of London, too. Some, such as Regents College, are just as old as the Universitry of London but most, such as South Bank University, Greenwich University and the University of East London, date from the sixties. The more modern universities also have their own specialities; South Bank has a top class engineering department, for instance, while Middlesex University is world famous for its textiles based courses.

On top of the universities themselves London has a huge number of public libraries that can be taken advantage of, the main one of course being the British Library, and pretty much all the major socieities in any subject are based here and hold their own lectures so there's plenty of scope to learn outside your course, if that's what you're into. And when all's said and done if you want to earn serious money after uni or rise to the top of your field you'll most lik!ely end up in London so you might as well get a head start.

The main problem with London is that all this comes at a price. A night out is pricier than anywhere else in the UK, though at about 3-5 quid more for entry and 20-50p more a pint compared to other big cities it's not unbearable. As you may already have seen on this sight it's rents which ultimately cost you. The simple fact is that finding a half decent house or flat in an area which isn't virtually a warzone or half way to France for a reasonable rent can be an absolute nightmare. A flat in Coldharbour Lane, one of the roughest roads in London and which was averaging a shooting a week for periods while I was living next to there, costs twice as much a week as a city centre flat in Leeds. Expect to pay at least 70 a week for anywhere remotely livable and 90-100 for anywhere nice.

The so-called London weighting you get with your loan is nothing of the sort, it covers at most half of the difference. Even the top level loan only just covers the rent. The long and short of i!t is that if you're going to come to London you've got to try and get hold of extra money, quite a lot of extra money, on top of the student loan or failing that expect to have a part time job. Don't surprised to be absolutely skint for periods (that's where the free museums come in handy). So if you're going to study in London you've got to be willing to sacrifice to do so. But if you are willing to sacrifice you won't regret the decision

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