I suppose everybody thinks their university, and the city they studied in, is the best. I quite happily argue this, as London is often voted one of the best in the world. Not surprising for the capital of England, which boasts some of the U.K’s top universities. Student satisfaction is generally high.
There are a number of reasons why I would recommend anyone looking at universities to consider London as the city to study in. It is a huge importance to look at the course and the university, as these are the major defining factors to consider for a degree. However there’s no denying location can have a huge effect on whether you enjoy earning your degree or not, and whether it helps your character to improve as well. You’re dedicating 3 or more years of your life, it might as well be worthwhile.
Moving out of your parent’s house, and attempting adult responsibilities whilst navigating yourself around a degree can be hugely transforming for a person’s maturity and independence. By living in a city as huge and, in some people’s opinions, scary as London often this is more apparent. It seems to be that you are forced to become more independent because of the bubble London seems to exist in- its harder to quickly pay a home visit when you’re low on food, mostly because you don’t want to leave and miss out on all the fun. Even the little things Londoners take for granted: navigating the underground, navigating prime tourist locations, pop ups, one off events and more, getting the hang of all these makes you surprisingly adaptable to many situations, and a little more responsible in life.
This boost of independence comes from London being such a huge city, and being one person in this massive hub is as liberating as it is daunting. University life can get quite stressful, as much as it is believed we tend to sleep throughout the day and drink throughout the night all the time (I’m spending my Christmas holidays typing out 12000 words in essays whilst my dad is going on more nights out than me, boo). Not to mention the amount of dramas that unfold all the time when a vast number of students are all cooped up together. Sometimes you need to take a break away from it all, and this is much easier to do in a large city. You can take yourself away for the day without the risk of bumping into someone you know. Sometimes it’s relaxing to feel anonymous, especially in the age of social media addiction, and it’s great to be able to be somewhere where everyone doesn’t know everybody’s business.
London is also an epicentre of culture, which is useful for broadening your mind. Museums and art galleries are available anywhere, but London has some of the best in the world. You can dedicate a whole weekend for culture (and free of charge!) and there will still always be more for you to discover. It’s not just the endless cultural events that London has to offer, because it is so cosmopolitan there is always new experiences to try whether its a cuisine you’ve never sampled before or a random little shop you’ve never visited. I believe a comfort zone is something to enjoy, but not to live in. People become more open minded once they’re forced out of their comfort zone, and London is a perfect place to ensure this.
Although London is one of the top student cities in the world, this can be a little hard to believe because it’s also one of the most expensive. Normally these two factors could never get along, so if you survive as a student in London, personally I think it’s an achievement that deserves a medal. As prices for everything in London seem to be about twice as much as everywhere else in the UK, it’s a valuable and lifelong skill to be able to manage rent, living costs, a social life and the odd splurge all within a budget. You have to learn to make sacrifices and sometimes say no to a social event, but it just makes the £10 cocktails worth it even more when you do go out.
Finally, London is full of connections. It is full of job connections, to discover amazing opportunities and experiences to jazz up your CV. It’s also full of travel connections, it’s almost too easy to hope on a train, coach or plane to go somewhere fantastic for a few days. Even all the universities are connected under ‘University of London’, which means you can visit all UoL libraries, regardless of which university you study at. I don’t take advantage of these factors enough and yet I know I’m having much more fun than I would elsewhere.
So just a few random reasons why I’ve found studying in London to be a great advantage to myself as a person and learning to function as an adult in the big wide world. It’s not a city for everyone, but it can certainly help anyone in learning how to grab life by the throat and feeling prepared to take on anything. Including the underground at rush hour.