Top tips to live your best London life

Girl walks down street with graffiti in London
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Recent alumnus Chad gives you the lowdown on everything you need to know about starting out as a student in London. It can be daunting and a bit overwhelming at first, but follow Chad's useful advice and you'll be walking and talking like a confident local in no time.

Heya, I’m Chad and I’ve recently graduated from Ravensbourne’s BA (Hons) Music and Sound Design Course. I’ve lived in London for three years now and I thought I could shed some light on how I think it's best to ease yourself into this new phase of your life, now you've moved to London and joined Ravensbourne.

First off, well done! You’ve made a huge decision in your life; you’ve enrolled at Ravensbourne and, most likely, will soon be moving to the big smoke.

I bet you’re excited, nervous and probably a bit bewildered by the whole thing, particularly if you’re travelling from a different country… but fear not!

You’re not the only one who’s going through this, and there are a lot of things you can do to make the process easier and more comfortable. Below I’ve listed my top tips for adjusting to university life and moving to London. 

Hopefully, this blog will help you get the most out of your time here. So without further ado…

1. Make yourself comfortable

As much as I was eager to jump in the deep end when it came to making big life changes, it turns out it was important for me to have some creature comforts around.

Being a musician, my creature comforts were a load of my instruments and my CD/record player – endless hours of nerdy music fun. I’d suggest you bring anything you think you’ll miss with you. From something as little as ingredients you’re not sure you’ll find easily, to absolutely all of your posters and nick-nacks – you’ll soon start to feel right at home.

2. Stay in touch 

Talking of missing things, remember to keep in touch with family and friends from home. Though they’re likely not there with you, I can bet you they’re thinking of you and you’re thinking of them, so let them know you are. It’s completely normal to feel homesick and if you do, these are the people you should try to be in touch with.

Let them know about your adventures in the big city with the odd phone call, picture or message until they’re bored with it  – and then keep telling them. Keep them close and, although you’ll understandably be busy at times, try to keep in regular touch with them.

3. Get to know your housemates

Know that you’re not on your own with this situation you’ve found yourself in. Get to know and talk with the people you’re living with. Share your experiences with other people on your course and your tutors. 

As well as teaching you, Ravensbourne also has the facilities in place to support you with whatever you are going through. I’d highly suggest reaching out to Student Services if you’re finding it hard to cope, no matter how big or small the problem is they’ll be there to talk with you and lend you a helping hand.

4. Get to know your course mates

Make a point of getting to know your course mates, you’re going to be with them for three years and they’re going through the same stuff as you. They’re the ones who’ll truly understand the trials of a late-night essay rush and the elation of finishing a term.

It’s alright that you might not be as close with everyone on your course (especially film, there're loads of you!). But you really never know where these friendships will take you. Plenty of Ravensbourne alumni have ended up working side-by-side and even going into business with their former classmates. 

5. Get to know your tutors

Your tutors are clever people, respect and enjoy that. Talk about your work, talk about theirs, talk about the weather, just talk with them! Particularly with Covid-19 and lockdown, I’ve found being in touch with my tutors really helped keep my head in the uni game. If I felt like I was losing interest, they would bring me back to the point.

6. Make the effort to meet new people

When I first moved to London, I found it a struggle to adjust to my new social life, even though I counted myself as quite an outgoing person. It turns out I was more reserved than I thought I was, needing my own time and space.

I understand that it can be hard, but my advice is learn to make the effort and push yourself out of your comfort zone – the rewards are well worth it!

7. Make the most of extracurricular activities 

Check out the other extracurricular things that Ravensbourne offers; from the student bar and Rave Lates/Factory events to the prototyping rooms. You'll have fantastic facilities and incredible opportunities at your fingertips, so make the most of it. You’ll come away from anything you attend more informed, somewhat wiser and probably with a little spring in your step.

8. Be open to new experiences 

Ditch any preconceptions of people that you may have. You're bound to meet lots of new characters in London and Ravensbourne and some of them will definitely be on your wavelength – they just might not be who you imagined. Be open to new things and be open to new people.

London art scene

Everywhere you look, London is full to the brim with creative inspiration.

9. Practice saying 'yes'

Turn up to events that you’re invited to, even plan them if you’re up for it. It doesn't have to be all about drinking and partying either; a nice chill out in a park, a movie night or a meal are all fantastic ways to spend your time.

Look both inside and outside of Ravensbourne for things going on. The choices of where to go can be overwhelming, so don’t worry and don’t rush, there’s more than enough time to explore.

Graffiti in London Brick Lane area by Fernando Comet

Take a tour around London and check out the incredible street art. 

10. Don't isolate yourself

Although it’s important to have time on your own, make sure you don’t isolate yourself. It’s easy to do but not good for you in the long run. If you are struggling, Student Services are on hand to help.

11. Get cooking

Buy a cookbook or two, get adventurous. Having to go out and buy ingredients can be a great way of exploring the area you’re in, and you’re also going to thank yourself for eating well.

Though a big supermarket is handy, push yourself out of your comfort zone. You’ll be sure to find a sweet little fruit and veg shop or some local oriental supermarket stocked with tasty foods and interesting ingredients.

Eventually, once you’re in the swing of things, you can even show off to your new friends. Cook them a meal and show them just how talented a chef you really are.

12. Finally, explore London!

This is a city that people travel from far and wide to experience and you’re in the thick of it – get involved! Whether it’s a poetry night or cosplay, a gig at a grotty venue or a cocktail at a swanky bar, you can be involved in it all (sometimes all in one night, ooo such fun).

South London is a fantastic place with a plethora of things to see and do, from Severndroog Castle in Woolwich to The Windmill in Brixton, not to mention all the lovely parks, riverside paths, nights out and day events to do in between.

There are more things to explore here than you can ever imagine, so keep an open mind and get stuck in!

Image of London's skyline

London's breathtaking skyline.

Well, there you have it. Hopefully, you’re feeling a little more confident and so you should be. This is a situation lots of people have found themselves in and you’ll find your feet in no time.

Try to remember that you’re not alone in this and to keep in touch with people. I hope you have a great time integrating yourself in to London because you’re what makes this place so fun. Best of luck with your time at Ravensbourne. Make the most of it all!