Hints and tips
Moving away from home can be difficult and adapting to your new environment may take time. It's normal for some students to experience a degree of homesickness and 'culture shock'.
To help you settle in, here are a few tips.
Get to know London
London is a huge place and the more you explore it, the more at home you'll feel. Travelling by bus is an excellent way to get to know the city. If you travel by bicycle, you'll get to know the city even more intimately - and it's the cheapest option.
You'll find that you can buy almost anything in large supermarkets such as Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, which have the advantage of having everything under one roof. Supermarkets are substantially cheaper than local corner shops or late-night delicatessens. You may find even cheaper supermarkets in your area, such as Aldi or Budgens, but these may have a smaller range of products. Most supermarkets are now open until 9pm during the week and are open during the weekend too.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are usually cheaper from open-air stalls and street markets. If you share accommodation with other people, you can save money by cooking together, provided you all have similar tastes and are prepared to share the work.
Buying household items
Prices in London vary enormously and it is advisable to check prices before buying your essential items. Though we cannot recommend particular shops, a few key department stores selling household items are listed below.
- Argos is a cheap catalogue shop. Choose your item from a catalogue, complete the order form, pay for it and collect it from the collection desk. An Argos is located on New Oxford Street in the West End
- John Lewis is a large department store selling most household items but can be quite expensive. There is a John Lewis on Oxford Street in the West End
- BHS (British Home Stores) gives average to cheap prices on a mixture of goods. Located in the St Ann's Shopping Centre, Harrow on the Hill and in the West End
- Debenhams is a department store selling a mixture of goods at reasonable prices. There are shops in Harrow and on Oxford Street
- Cargo is a mid-priced household shop located on Tottenham Court Road
London offers a huge variety of alternatives if you need to buy clothes. Chain stores provide good quality mid-price items. You can find them on Oxford Street and in most shopping centres. If you are seeking cheaper alternatives, you can buy clothes in street markets or discount stores. A good local market for this is Camden Market, which is in Camden Town (nearest tube station is Camden Town on the Northern Line).
Charity shops like Oxfam and Sue Ryder shops stock second-hand clothes. As a rule, you can expect to pay half price or less for reasonable quality clothing.
Jumble sales are sales of second-hand clothes and bric-a-brac (small, unwanted household items, such as cutlery, picture frames etc.). They are generally held in church halls at weekends, in aid of charity. Items of clothing, often in very good condition can be bought for a few pence. Jumble sales are advertised in the local press.
Freecycle is an excellent Yahoo group in which people offer or request items that are no longer wanted. It’s a great resource for free goods, from clothing to household bedding, furniture and kitchen items. You will be expected to collect anything an advertiser agrees to give you.
To find your local Freecycle group, visit the Freecycle website and select the suburb or borough nearest you. You will need to sign up to the group to post offers or requests.
Electrical voltage in the UK is 240 volts and we use three-pin plugs. If you bring your own electrical equipment, you may damage it if you don’t have the correct International adaptor, and you’ll also need to make sure your adaptor is safe for UK use.
You may use your own electrical equipment at the University as long as it is safe. If on visual inspection it appears unsafe, you may be prevented from using the equipment on University premises.
If you have a specific enquiry about your electrical equipment, you can email the Safety, Health and Environment Team for advice at [email protected].