Living in London in 2021 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Many of us associate life in London with the high cost and even luxury available only to oligarchs or tough businessmen. But life in London is also available to ordinary people, for example, students of higher educational institutions in England or language schools in England.
Of course, life in London has its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will try to discuss all the life conditions in the UK, what you will face there, and also discuss the main pros and cons.
What are the main benefits of living in London?
1. A chance to become a man of peace. London is a huge metropolis, home to millions of people of various nationalities. Life in London allows the student not only to master English, but also to become an integrated member of the world community: expand the circle of friends, learn to live in London in an international environment (in a family in England, among classmates at a UK university, in a peer group, etc.).
2. The wealth of choice of educational institution. London has it all: the largest and leading universities in the UK, prestigious language schools in England, international language centers and other educational facilities.
3. Food for the soul. To say that life in London enriches a person by introducing him to the culture and customs of England is to say nothing! London is the center of world fashion, culture, art, film industry.
The museums in London collect not only the rarest exhibits that tell about the history of Britain itself, but also works of art by the greatest masters of the world.
Life in London acquaints the student not only with the history, way of life, way of life, traditions of the British, but also with the culture of other ethnic groups inhabiting the British Isles.
Such an abundance of information enriches the mind and gives food for the mind, changing the psychology of the person himself, his outlook on life, career, interpersonal relationships, attitudes towards oneself, ancestors and national traditions.
4. You can combine study in England and work. Living in London while studying at a UK university is a great chance to find a job and fully support yourself. As you know, students who have a student visa for more than 6 months are eligible for official employment.
5. Opportunity to make a career. London is the world’s center of economy and business. Therefore, many students actively undergo practical training here, becoming qualified specialists after graduating from an educational institution, quickly moving up the career ladder.
6. Excellent transport links. Public transport runs strictly on schedule, you can always take a taxi or metro. Even at bus stops you can see how much time is left before the bus arrives.
In addition, there are night buses that run until the morning. Therefore, you can walk around the city as much as you want without fear that you will not get home.
Such little things significantly brighten life in London, because you always want to get acquainted not only with the sights of London during the day, but also to learn the nightlife in London.
What are the downsides to living in London?
1. Language barrier. If a student or an employer comes to English courses in England, then at first he/she/they will surely face a lack of knowledge of the language. Therefore, you need to be extremely careful not to get into an unpleasant story, from which it will be difficult to extricate yourself in a foreign country without knowing English.
2. High housing prices. Life in London is expensive, and this is primarily due to the high cost of housing. Often, students have to rent either the worst housing, or housing on the outskirts of London, or huddle with other students to save money.
You can still find suitable cheap housing in London, but for this you need to know where to look or what to save on when choosing a suitable apartment, and only a few foreign students or employers possess such information.
3. High prices for public transport. As you may know, taxis in London are very expensive, so many expats prefer to use the metro or ground transportation, although if you do not use special passes (for example, Oyster), such a daily trip will seriously hit the your budget, turning life in London into a never-ending economy.
4. Rooms in residences, rented apartments or host families in England are tiny. Many foreigners are simply not used to such miniature squares. Add the austerity of the decoration to the scale – and all this for a fairly high price.
Security and crime level
Britain is one of the safest countries in Europe. The level and type of crime varies greatly in different areas of London. London Police have created an interactive crime map where you can see the level and type of crime in different areas. Please note that Westminster is usually shown as a high crime area, but these are mostly petty thefts from tourists on the streets and in pubs.
You can significantly improve your security:
- Do not keep valuables in your back pocket or outside of your backpack. Especially at major events and near popular attractions. London is a tourist city that attracts thieves.
- In South London, try not to display expensive cell phones or jewelry.
- In pubs, do not hang your bag over the back of a chair or place it far away from you, even if many people around you do this. Place the bag so that it is impossible to reach it when passing by. Ideally, make sure that you constantly feel her around. In a pub, everyone is usually caught up in conversation and distracted. The premises are overcrowded and very noisy, people are constantly moving in them. This is one of the thieves’ favorite spots.
- When you top up your Oyster Card on the subway, you pay first and then bring your Oyster Card to the machine for the amount to be credited to it. If at this moment someone presents his card, then the money will be credited to him. Usually such people pretend to be mistaken and quickly leave. Try to keep your Oyster Card ready and pay attention to who is nearby.
- In an emergency, dial 999 and you will be connected to a service that can help you. If you want to report an already committed crime and the situation is not urgent, call 101.
The British police differ for the better from what the inhabitants of many countries are used to. The police officers are always friendly and ready to help with any questions. Police officers on the streets do not carry firearms.
This tradition goes back to the founding of the London police in the 19th century. The police see their purpose as helping and persuading, not limiting or coercing. Therefore, the police themselves vote against carrying weapons, since they believe that this will make them less friendly and accessible in the eyes of those whom they are called to help.
They rely on communication skills, self-control and deserved respect for the police to resolve conflicts. At the demonstrations, you can sometimes see several imperturbable police officers standing between the swearing groups of people and calmly restraining the situation.
Job searches in London
According to official figures, the UK issued 538,817 work permits in 2014. This is 37% more than in 2013.
However, finding a job in London can be tricky – whether you’re in the city or looking for work from abroad. If you want to move to the British capital, but do not have EU citizenship or family ties in Britain, then getting an offer from an employer is practically your only option.
Highly skilled workers from outside the EU have three main ways of obtaining a work permit. It is issued for professions in which there is a shortage of personnel; in cases where it was not possible to find a local candidate that meets all the requirements; and for the transfer of personnel from one branch of the company to another.
In February 2015, the British Government Committee on Immigration added 10 additional specialties, mainly technological and medical, to the list of professions in which there is a shortage of personnel.
Even if you have the right to live and work in Britain on some other visa, for example, a spousal one, you still need to study the labor market in advance.
Getting a work permit in England is not easy. You may send your CVs and get no response for a long time.
It can be difficult to understand all the intricacies of obtaining a visa – many are helped by professional advice from specialists in their company or third-party private consultants. Typically, a visa that gives the right to look for work is valid for six months, and until the end of this period, the British Immigration Service will contact the holder.
Housing in London
London is one of the six richest cities in the world, but the situation with housing is sad. Finding shelter in a city of 8.6 million people is not easy.
According to a few recently done reports, a first-time property buyer in London needs income in the region of £ 77,000 ($ 188,000) a year.
In reality, the average income of a Londoner is 28 thousand pounds (43 thousand dollars). Renting is also not easy, since there are a lot of people willing. HSBC advises you to be ready to take the lease as soon as you inspect a potential rental unit and pay a deposit covering six weeks (given that the average rental price for a three-room unfurnished apartment is £ 1,700 a month, or about $ 2,600).
Housing and rental costs are significantly lower for those willing to live outside London. But remember that transportation is not cheap. A short metro ride costs almost £ 3 ($ 4.30). Car enthusiasts pay a toll to enter the city center, and parking in it costs a lot of money and is often limited in time.
However, not everything in London is exorbitantly expensive – free education will be a big plus for those who come with children. London has good public schools, but there are also paid options for those who can afford it – for example, an American school and a French Lyceum for immigrants from France. A year of study in a private school (without accommodation) will cost about 12 thousand pounds (more than 18 thousand dollars).
Museums and parks
Most of the major museums in London are free. But those who take money for the entrance take a lot, about 15-25 pounds. Many museums and attractions are organized into communities that offer annual passes or significant discounts. In some museums, you can register a purchased ticket in your name and it will be valid all year round.
It is difficult to list all the museums in London, but we will describe those that allow you to better know the life of Britain and the capital.
Tower, Hampton Court (residence of Henry VIII). Membership costs 80 pounds, unlimited visits throughout the year. Little secret – Hampton Court has a community room that few people know about. Ask the employees about it and you can relax there, have tea or coffee and look through books about the castle.
Tate Modern and Tate Britain, here the annual membership costs around 70 pounds. You will be able to enter all paid exhibitions free of charge and without queuing (the main exhibitions are always free in both museums). You will be able to use the cafe, which is open only to members of the community and their guests. And you will receive the Tate magazine.
Transport Museum. You can enter your name and email address at the same counter where you buy your ticket and it will be valid for a year.
Buckingham Palace is open for sightseeing tours in August and September. At the exit from the palace, you can register a ticket in your name, it is valid for a year.
How expensive is it to live in England with a family?
The cost of living in a homestay in England depends on many factors: the distance of the host family in England from the educational buildings of the UK university or the language school in England where the student is studying, the range of services included in the price, the quality and equipment of the room, the number of people living in the room and etc.
But, as practice shows, living in London with a family in England is much cheaper than renting an apartment in London.
What are the pros and cons of living in London in a residence?
Of the obvious advantages of living in London in a residence, the following can be noted:
1. Residences of universities in Great Britain and language schools in England are located mainly on campus, which is guarded around the clock.
2. Students are provided with a room for 1-2 or more people. Usually primary school students live in rooms with a large number of students. High school students are offered individual rooms.
3. The rooms of the residences have everything you need for a comfortable life in London and study in England.
4. If life in London in a residence is included in the cost of the educational program of a language school in England, then, as a rule, three meals a day are also included in the price.
5. Even the most expensive residence is cheaper than living in London in a hotel or in a rented apartment.
The disadvantages include the following:
1. The cost of living in London in a residence for adults is usually more expensive than living in a residence for children.
2. In many residences, places for foreign students are often limited. Therefore, in order to secure your life in London in a residence, you need to book a room in advance.
3. One of the drawbacks of living in London in a residence is a noisy youth environment. Some students like it very much, but for adult students, such a life in London is rather tiresome.
How much does it cost to rent an apartment in London?
Alternatively, students can rent an apartment or room in London. Living in a rented apartment in London is more comfortable and independent, but in all this splendor there is one significant drawback – the high price.
The most modest apartments in London’s 1-3 zones can cost around £ 500. The cost of an apartment in London depends on its distance from the center, size, location and available amenities. But before a student settles into a rented apartment, he will have to make a deposit in the amount of the rent for 1-1.5 months.
Many language schools in England and higher education institutions in England offer their students assistance in finding housing for rent. It is much cheaper than independent searches. In addition, life in London in an apartment accredited by an educational institution is much safer.
How much is hotel life in London?
London hotels are not cheap. Most language schools in England offer this type of accommodation. The cost of living in London in a hotel depends on its prestige, location, room category. But one thing is clear – living in a hotel in London will cost significantly more than renting an apartment. As a cheaper option, students can choose to stay in London hostels.
How to open a bank account in London?
Life in London is not complete without using a bank card. To open an account in one of the London banks, a student must register with the police within 10 days, then make an appointment in advance, present the bank with a certificate from the University of England and a passport. If there are no queues, the student will receive the card rather quickly.
Nightlife in London?
London is the capital of temptation. As the sun sets over the horizon, a completely different life begins in London, full of bright lights, noisy discos, luxury restaurants, fun parties and pubs shrouded in beer fog.
For students, nightlife in London is the Klondike, where every night you can discover a nightclub, an original themed party, swim in a sea of entertainment and, of course, meet adventures, and not only funny ones.
London nightclubs abound. Here every student can find an institution that suits his musical tastes: disco of the 80s, hard rock, alternative music or folk. Some of London’s nightclubs are only attended by locals and some are renowned for their international flair; some nightclubs have a reputation for elite establishments (Jalouse, The Rood Gardens, etc.), others are distinguished by a reckless atmosphere of incendiary drive, and still others are known as places where mind-blowing theme parties are held (Mouvida). Therefore, if you plan your evening in advance, then the nightlife in London can get quite interesting.
In addition, the nightlife in London can be seen from the windows of special buses that organize night tours of the city. These trips are always interesting, unusual and will remain in the memory for a long time.
What’s the weather like in London?
Poems and anecdotes have been written about the weather in England for a long time.
Nature throws up the most unforeseen surprises for the British and guests of the capital in the form of instantly changing rain and sun in summer or snow combined with frost in the morning and evening rain paired with high humidity and a piercing wind in winter.
At first, these vagaries of the weather will seem strange and annoying, but life in London trains in the student not only patience, but also the habit of temperamental England.
But despite the stories of London fog and rain, London is one of the driest European cities, so life in London is quite comfortable in any season. According to forecasters, about 590 mm of precipitation falls in the capital of Great Britain per year. For comparison, in Milan they are about 1000 mm.