A GUIDE FOR STUDENTS DOING AN EXCHANGE OR ERASMUS PROGRAM IN LONDON
“Look right before crossing the streets” they told me before getting on my plane bound for London, UK. And, before I immersed myself in the most fascinating experience of my life: a study abroad program for six months in a country 11141 km/6923 miles far away from home.
If you are doing an Erasmus or an Exchange program in London, here is my advice for you: LOOK RIGHT BEFORE CROSSING THE STREETS.
I’m not going to lie, getting used to the culture and how everything worked in London, was not easy.
It was my first time living for such a long time and alone, far away from home. You probably think that I missed my home place, but let me assure you that when you are having fun and enjoying yourself, you don’t miss a bit. I already knew I wasn’t going to miss home because I was going to have a full schedule and have fun!!!
Here, you’ll find some tips on what to do in London as an Exchange Student:
Regent’s Park campus
London NW1 4NS
Tel +44 (0)20 7487 7700
I took three classes there: Introduction to Acting, Entrepreneurship and Managing Public Relation Campaigns.
Regent’s has one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever been to. The buildings are very “English”, made out of brick and creepers decorating them.
Classes at Regent’s where completely different to what I am used to in Argentina. They dictate classes as seminars and there is a lot of debate going on. At first, I didn’t like this method, but in the end I got used to it and realized I liked it a lot. I was able to participate in class, and get to know the different opinions people had and learned from them.
Taking classes in English was another challenge. I wasn’t scared of it since I know English well enough. But if you are planning on studying abroad, I would recommend that you feel safe with the language, in which the institution dictates its classes.
The class that I liked the most was Introduction to Acting. I study theatre back home in Argentina, but I haven’t taken a class of theatre in English for four years now. At first it was difficult to get used to improvisation exercises in English but in the end it felt natural. Made a great group of classmates in that class from all over: mainly from the United States, Peru and England.
Attending Regent’s was like going to a fashion show very single day of the week for me. People wear luxury brands and walk campus showing off. It is definitely not a bad thing, I am just not used to it. Either way, I got to know a lot of nice and interesting people. I made friends with a Peruvian girl studying at Regent’s full time, and she has become very close, we are already planning on visiting each other someday.
Overall, classes where easy in comparison to the ones that I take back home, which was a positive thing because it gave me the time and the chance to live the “London life”, do things and go places.
These five months that I lived in London, I stayed at a student accommodation called: The Nido Collection.
My study abroad experience would not have been as half as exciting if I haven’t stayed there.
I had a lot of trouble finding a place where to stay. It was either because it was very expensive or the locations were too far away.
The residence was perfect, many people from Regent’s stayed there. It was boutique, chick and very cool.
I had my own bedroom with my own bathroom and shared the kitchen with 7 other people. They also offered studios.
All of my flatmates where amazing. Made really good friends there at The Nido Collection, people that I will never forget.
I believe that if you are studying abroad, living in a Student’s Residence it’s the best option. You get to know more people, there is no time for you to feel alone. It is perfect especially if you are traveling alone.
Nido, also organized different social events, such as: Valentines Day Party, Full Moon Party, Live Band events, Speaker Series, Cookery classes, and even Puppy Therapy. You can check pictures from these events on their Facebook page here!
The parties were for all of the people living there and open for anyone you might want to invite. These social events were perfect to get to know more people living at the residence!
The residence is one block away from the Underground, Overground and National Railway services from West Hampsted. I was four stops away tube with the Jubilee line (Grey) from Regent’s. Nido also had a Marks and Spencer one block away, a Sainsbury and an 02 Centre within a five-minute walk.
If you are going to study in London, I highly recommend you to stay at The Nido Collection. It made my experience even more unforgettable.
I highly recommend you get the Oyster Card. If you are a student you can get the Student Oyster Card, which you have to request it online. It will take 20 days to arrive to you, but it is worth it. You get a discount on your monthly travels!!!
I used Uber a lot. It was so easy to use, especially when you are coming back home from a night out. It is just practical, safe and quick.
To be honest, I hated it at first. In Argentina I’m used to start pre gaming with my friends at 12pm. We pre game until 2/3am and then leave to the club and stay there until 7am. In London, it was different, we would usually pre game at 9 to get to the club at 11/12pm. It was very difficult at first, I had to start preparing myself at 7, so that I had time to shower, change, do my make up and have dinner. But as time went by, I got used to it and loved it. It was so much better going out earlier because in the end you arrive home earlier, get to sleep longer and enjoy the next day.
The clubs that we went to were very fancy. They were the clubs that our friends from Regent’s went to. Also, Regent’s would usually organize parties and hand out bracelets to enter to different clubs in London. The ones that I attended were:
(Five stars (★) being really fancy)
Tape London: ★★★★★
Toy Room Club: ★★★
Drama Park Lane: ★★★★★
Café de Paris: ★★★
Tiger Tiger: ★★
As you may know, I’m a dancer and since I was a Little girl I’ve taken dance lessons all over. I also teach Theatre Dance at a musical comedy studio back in Argentina.
Being six months away from home was not an excuse to stop dancing, so I made my research and found two dance studios:
Pineapple Dance Studios:
Located in the heart of Covent Garden. Perfect location.
There, I took different classes like: Tap, Street Jazz, Jazz and Dirty Dancing.
My favourite class was Dirty Dancing, it was class that incorporated salsa moves, the cha cha and mambo!
For more information check their website and timetable here!
Danceworks Studios London:
In between Marylebone and Mayfair, one block away from Oxford St.
In this studio, I took Contemporary, Theatre Dance and Jazz lessons.
Loved this place. If you are looking for a more theatrical and classical approach to dance, this is the place for you.
For more information about Danceworks enter here!
What to visit and explore:
Besides of all of the touristic places to visit in London such as: The Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St’ Pauls Cathedral, The Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge, the Westminster Palace and many more, I recommend the following:
London is full of parks, and you shouldn’t miss on them. My favorite parks are:
- Kensington Gardens: right beside Hyde Park, where you can find the Round Pond full of swans and the one and only Statue of Peter Pan. Fun fact, Kensington Gardens is the place where J.M. Barrie wrote “Peter Pan”, inspired by the Llewellyn Davies Family.
- Hampstead Heath: located in Hampstead. Since I was living in West Hampstead, I usually walked my way to Hampstead Heath, and when the day was nice I would go to the park to finish my assignments outdoors.
- Primrose Hill: it is not a Park but it is a hill right on top of Regent’s Park, where you can see all of London from there. It is really nice to go in the afternoon right before the sunset and have some beers with friends!
- Regent’s Park: Well of course I like this park, my University was situated inside of it. It is a Royal Park; therefore, Regent’s University London is on Queen’s land. It is probably one of the largest parks in London, beautiful to go for a jog or even a walk. Whenever I had time in between classes and the weather was nice, I would walk to the Inner Circle of the park and enjoy the fresh air.
- Battersea Park: situated on the south bank of the River Thames. A huge park, with different fields. Perfect to walk a dog, go for a walk, play football/soccer and practice many other outdoor activities.
Another of my favourite things to do in London is walk all the way from Westbourne Grove and down Portobello Road.
If you are in the mood of walking, I loved crossing over the Albert Bridge, connecting Chelsea and Battersea.
Mayfair, Marylebone and Kensington are my favorite neighborhoods! Near to the Victoria and Albert Museum, which I highly recommend to visit, you can find the house where “The Parent Trap” was filmed. The location of the house is the following:-23 Egerton Terrace, Kensington, London, England, UK.
Another activity that I enjoyed a lot, was taking a Helicopter Ride. It was an 18 minute ride where they take you all through the River Thames and point you out at places like the Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park, Battersea Park, Westminster Abby, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Eye, The Big Ben and many more!
And of course, you can’t miss out on the London’s West End Theatre. If you want to know what’s on, you can check my latest post here!
Where to eat:
If you are looking for vegan and trendy places to eat, I highly recommend three places located in Westbourne Road. These are:
A trendy restaurant, where everything is organic! They have the best Coconut water on earth!
They’ve got amazing juices and their Salmon Tartare is DELISH!
It is always full of people, go with time because reservations can not be made! They serve Australian type of food!
If you are looking for Italian cuisine, you should try Strada – Riverside, with views of the Thames and Tower Bridge! You can enjoy a nice meal with a perfect view.
The Blues Kitchen
For burgers and beers in the heart of Shoreditch. While you have some food and drinks you can enjoy yourself with some live bands that play around 22:00. Go with time cause there is always a que!
Located in Chelsea, it is one of the best places to eat in London. They have delicious plates but you should book a table before going.
AMAZING Lebanese food! Be prepared for a huge meal!
For pizza. Located in Notting Hill! Delicious!!!
If you are looking for french cuisine, definitely go to to Aubaine up on the 2nd floor of London’s Selfridges.
And of course, you can’t miss out the five o’clock tea!
For brunch, Farm Girl is the place you want to go, cool, hipster and trendy!
The Alice House-West Hampstead
Since my student accommodation was in West Hampstead, every Sunday I went for brunch at this place. I could find English traditional foods!
Seafood restaurant with a Peruvian touch! Highly recommended!
Before I travelled to London, I researched a lot, and I wished someone had written some tips for students living in London, that is why I wrote this. I hope it is helpful and that you enjoyed it. If you have further questions or comments do not hesitate on messaging me! X.