Student life: the benefits of studying in London
The Telegraph October 10, 2013
With many higher education institutions set in and around the city, London is certainly an attractive place to study, says undergrad James Connington.
The major lifestyle benefits of living and studying in London, ranging from nightlife to food markets and culture, are located in the centre.
London isn't for everyone. However, many prospective students can be quick to dismiss it as an option; put off by the expense and statistics that suggest the capital is unsafe. Others jump at the chance without proper consideration; student life in London is very different to campus life elsewhere.
The predominant issue for most students in deciding whether to study in the city, is their perception of how much it will cost to live in the capital.
Whilst it must be acknowledged that rental prices are the highest in the country, and students should be prepared for this even with the extra loan on offer, if you do your homework, then that is where the extra costs end.
If you keep your eyes open, student discounts are everywhere and many nightclubs run student nights during the week, with student unions ensuring expensive nightlife is never an issue. And if you feel like earning a bit of extra money, generally part time work is pretty easy to come by.
The transport network is good and generally affordable, especially with the Student Oyster photocard, but the density of London means most journeys are possible by foot, and 24 hour buses ensure a night out rarely requires a taxi
One other dilemma that affects the considerable number of potential students who live close to London already, is the idea that they won't be moving far enough away from home.
However, what moving to London might lack in terms of physical distance, it more than makes up for in lifestyle and cultural differences, with the diversity on offer in the city ensuring you never feel too close to home.
Whilst some potential negatives are exaggerated, there is one area in which potential students should be wary, and that is the use of the name 'London' itself.
The major lifestyle benefits of living and studying in London, ranging from nightlife to food markets and culture, are located in the centre. Universities such as Royal Holloway, which is part of the University of London, and Brunel University, are actually located out of the city, and will offer a very different experience to what students might expect when moving to study at a London university.
A final benefit of the city for students, that is seldom considered by most until they actually arrive, is the power of London to connect people; even in a globalised world there is still little substitute for proximity.
London's status as a world city means employers, including banks such as HSBC, media companies like BSkyB, publishers such as Penguin and every kind of business in-between, choose to locate their headquarters in London.
Many of these employers provide opportunities such as networking events and interview training, which are often advertised through London universities themselves, while internships, work experience and graduate schemes are all available within the city.
Ultimately of course it comes down to personal preference, and London is just one city on a long list of options, but before deciding, prospective students should endeavour to find out the true reality in terms of the costs and benefits to them personally.