As a student, it’s important to get some form of work experience in your industry before you graduate. Because so many young people are getting degrees and graduating from university, it’s the work experience that will set you apart from the rest. Most placements will be in London, or big cities, because that’s where the companies are who are offering industry experience. Moving to London may sound scary to those from a small town, but here are a few tips to consider to make sure you’re as prepared as you can be.
Location is important
Once you know where you’ll be working, you need to find somewhere to live. The closer to the centre of any city you live in, the more expensive the rent will be. You need to decide how close you want to live to your work place, but also how much you want to spend on rent. There should be a comfortable ‘in between’ for you somewhere in the city or area nearby. Bear in mind when you chose the place you want to rent that public transport is widely accessible in London.
Depending on how long your placement is, ask family and friends to see if you know anyone living nearby. Even a small commute into the city can be better than paying extortionate rent.
How to travel around
As mentioned before, London has fantastic public transport. The Underground and bus services are both regular and well maintained. During the week, when you’ll be working, is the most reliable time to get the Underground as the maintenance work is usually left until the weekend. Bus routes are also reliable during the week and still plentiful on the weekend.
Oyster cards are the cheapest form of payment for transport in London. Buses are cheaper than the Underground, but all are cheaper when using an Oyster card rather than buying a day pass or a one way ticket. At a £5 deposit (you get it back if you decide to send back your Oyster card at the end of your employment), they are essential to getting around London. If your work experience lasts more than 14 weeks, you can also get a student Oyster, which will save you a third on fares.
You may be used to having the luxury of space and storage in student houses before, but London houses are notably smaller than ones outside of the city. Pack only the essentials first, the things you can’t live without, and then fill up the space with everything else. You may only be able to rent out a room on your budget and if you have a lot to take, you need to think carefully. Try not to fill up more than a car with the items you want to take. More than one trip, or more than one car, can be expensive and time consuming.
You’ll have already moved out beforehand to experience life as a student, but life in London is very different. It may not suit everyone, but trying it once is something that all students should do in their lives. You’ll also find out if you can cope with living there for work once you graduate.
Beth O’Brien is a Bournemouth University student, passionate about getting the best out of student life. She has experience in finding the best deals, being a member of a Car Club Clapham based, and discovering the best ways to spend the summer as a student.