London by Michael Flatt

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which program did you attend?
    The SDSU exchange program to London Metropolitan University.
  2. Were there different choices of where to live? Which do you recommend?
    I don’t remember having many living options available to me, but I lived in a place called Nido Student Living (http://www.nidolondon.com) in the King’s Cross area of London. Nido is an international student accommodation and you have the option of living in a single or double room. I lived in a single which has slightly more space than a double. Nido provides all the essentials: a laundry room, personal mailboxes, a trash area and they even have a fitness center and café. It is also a great way to meet other students who are not in your classes. This worked out well because King’s Cross has the St. Pancras railway station (home of the Eurostar which takes you via train to mainland Europe), King's Cross tube station (the biggest interchange station on the underground with six lines), and another train station that will take you throughout the U.K. All of my trips consisted of me walking only about 5 minutes to the King’s Cross tube/train stations, which saved a lot of time and money. I highly recommend living at Nido in this area.
  3. How close to school are the different accommodations?
    Very close. There are two campuses at London Met: north and city. From Nido, north campus is two tube stops on the Piccadilly line (about 10 minutes) and city campus is three tube stops on the Hammersmith & City/Metropolitan/Circle lines if you are a business major (15 minutes) and five stops if you are any other major (20 minutes).
  4. Did you have cooking facilities in your place of residence? Is there a cafeteria nearby?
    Yes, cooking facilities were provided including a two burner stove top, a microwave, and a mini refrigerator. However, there is no oven for baking. There is also a kitchen utensil and dish pack for purchase. As far as a cafeteria goes, Nido has its own café on the second floor where you can purchase anything from food and drinks to toilet paper for your room.
  5. Do you need to purchase a monthly travel card for city transportation?
    Yes. In fact, the cheapest tube option is to buy a student oyster card for zone 1 at one month intervals. The total cost is about £67 per month. In the long-run, this is much cheaper than paying as you go.
  6. Would you recommend getting a cell phone there?
    Yes, while a cell phone is not necessary to stay in touch with family and friends back home (use Skype for that), it is useful for keeping in touch with people you meet in London. Many students purchase pay as you go plans and I would recommend that route. You don't need a contract and you simply buy credit (called “topping up”) for the phone when your money runs out.
  7. What was internet availability like on campus? At your residence?
    Both campuses had libraries with computers that had internet access, but there was usually a long wait before a computer became available. I brought my laptop from home and used it in Nido. In my room, there was an Ethernet connection for internet but wireless was not available. However, wireless internet access is available in the café along with three computers for use.
  8. Do you need to set up a bank account there? If so, what are the steps involved for doing so?
    Setting up a bank account is not necessary. You can use your debit and/or credit card in most places and just withdraw money from ATMs. There will be a small service charge when you withdraw money, though.
  9. Where did you do laundry? What was the cost?
    I did laundry at Nido and it cost about £5-7 to wash whites and colors and then dry them together. I tried to bring enough clothes so I would only need to wash every couple of weeks.
  10. Is there any clothing to avoid wearing?
    Not really, just dress appropriate to the weather. I was in London from January – May so for the first couple of months you will need to dress warm and the latter two months it’s t-shirt, jeans, and a jacket. Always have an umbrella handy.
  11. What kind of accommodations did you use while traveling (hostels, hotels etc)?
    I mainly used hostels, although I did stay in a hotel in Ireland. For short one day trips, you can just book a night bus. There are many hostel websites that you can search online to find ones with good reviews. One thing I would recommend is to stay in a room with no more than 6 people and always try to get an in-suite bathroom. I stayed in one hostel that had 18 people in one room and it was a nightmare. The hotel in Ireland was cheaper than a hostel would cost, so be sure to look at all options before booking your accommodations.
  12. What were your favorite bars/pubs/nightclubs? Where were they?
    The Big Chill House (King’s Cross), The Rocket (King’s Cross), and O’Neill’s (Soho) were among my favorite bars. Every pub is so similar in what they offer that it doesn’t really matter which one you go to. You can find one on about every street corner. Lastly, KOKO (Camden Town), Fabric (Farringdon), and Ministry of Sound (Elephant & Castle) were my three favorite clubs.
  13. Favorite places to eat.
    For lunch, there is no better place to eat than Pret A Manger. At Pret, you can buy sandwiches, baguettes, fruit, soup, salad, coffee, and more. All sandwiches are made fresh everyday. For dinner, Bella Italia is a great place to find cheap pasta and pizza. Also, no visit to London would be complete without going to the first opened Hard Rock Café in Hyde Park. If you like Chinese food, Crispy Duck in Chinatown is good.
  14. Were your classes/tests hard?
    The classes and tests were not as difficult as I imagined, but I still learned a lot. The structure in the U.K. is different than in the U.S. Rather than having midterms and tests, most of my coursework involved writing essays and/or doing group presentations and reports. It was a nice change. Even though my classes were for credit/no credit, the grading scale in the U.K. is so different that if I received a B in a class it would actually translate into an A in the U.S.
  15. Did you go on any trips? Where?
    Yes, many. Please see the Traveling / Weekend Trips page for more info.