London, United Kingdom: The University of Westminster: moving into Harrow Halls, first days in London & advice (by Leonie)

Saturday, 15th of September – Arrival

 

An overwhelming wave of joy spread inside of my body as I stepped out of the airport: I made it to London. I would be living and studying here for the next months.

I arrived at Heathrow airport in the afternoon. After collecting my luggage, I went to the ticket station at the airport to purchase an Oyster card for public transport (It costs 5£ deposit and I topped it up with 15£ for travelling). I received a Tube map and a description how to get to the University’s Harrow Halls of Residence. I took a bus from the airport to “Uxbridge” where I changed to the Metropolitan Tube line. I got off at “Northwick Park” which is located directly next to the reception of the Halls.

I was friendly welcomed by the staff and guided to the register point where I received my keys and pre-ordered bedding pack, as well as a welcome booklet. Stefanie from the Hall staff helped me with the luggage and brought me to my new home: room 51B.

After unpacking all my stuff, I decided to explore the campus and the university building.

Harrow Halls

Harrow Halls

I came across some students from the Students’ Union promoting “Freshers”, a series of different events for Westminster students over two weeks. A great opportunity for getting to know other students and the other campuses of the University! So, I bought the Freshers wristband which enabled me to attend all the 20 Freshers events.

The first event was the move-in festival with live music that day. I met a lot of students from different campuses and tried cider for the first time (really recommend the dark fruit one). It took place at “The Undercroft” at Harrow Campus, which is an underground bar with terrace located under the cafeteria of the university. One advantage of living in the Halls is the short distance to the university building. It took me less than 5 minutes to get home from the Party.

 

 

Sunday, 16th of September – Exploring Harrow

 

I opened my eyes and looked around my room, at first not knowing where I was. But then I realized: I’m in my new home. In a new and beautiful city full of life and creativity.

After getting ready I met up with some new friends from the night before. We went to Harrow’s city centre for some “Bonfire spiced hot chocolate” from “Costa” (affordable coffee shop, comparable with Starbucks). Harrow offers a variety of shops, stationary stores, coffee places, ATMs and restaurants. There are also two shopping centres, St. Annes and St. Georges with various stores to shop at. You will also find the “vue” cinema and some common shops like “Primark” and “H&M”, as well as “Boot’s” and “wilko” in there.

At “wilko” I bought some kitchen essentials (in total about 20£).

Bangers and MashKitchen Essentials

I really wanted to try typical British food (other than fish and chips), so we went to a pub called “Moon on the Hill” for dinner (highly recommended for cheap but good food, as well as drinks). I ordered the “Bangers and Mash”, which is British sausages on mashed potatoes with peas and gravy sauce (it was filling, and I only paid 6£ for the food.

 

 

Monday, 17th of September – Enrolment & Central London

 

The realization of me living and studying here at this open-minded and beautiful place surrounded by so many creative and amazing people is just mind-blowing.

I was particularly excited for that day, since I would officially be a Westminster student after my enrolment. It took place in Cavendish Campus in Central London, so I got on the Tube and 30 minutes later I found myself in the middle of this pulsing city at “Oxford Circus”. After a short walk I reached Cavendish Campus. I was given a folder full of information material, an invitation for a personal appointment with the “Study Abroad Team” as well as for a boat party and my Westminster student ID card.

After the Enrolment I met up with some friends for lunch at “Honest Burgers” in the heart of London (awesome burgers and delicious chips with rosemary, together for about 10£). Furthermore, we walked around Central London, took many pictures and did some sightseeing: We passed the “London Eye”, saw Big Ben and had a photoshoot next to the typical red telephone cell.

Concluding, I just embraced the amazing weather, the beauty of the pulsing city and the beginning of an unique and precious journey here in London.

BurgerLondon EyeBridgeTelephone Cell

 

 

Some helpful advice:

 

Infografik

 

  • Packing Essentials

–        adapter for UK sockets

–        guide for London

–        umbrella (& rain jacket)

–        warm jacket (& windbreaker)

–        scarf & hat

–        waterproof shoes

–        basic toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, blow dryer, soap, etc.)

–        towel

–        laptop & USB-Stick

–        camera

–        study materials (sketchbook, pens, etc.)

–        medicine & plasters (& other first-aid-essentials)

–        ID (& passport)

–        cash in pound (about 100£-200£)

–        printed documents (insurance, letter of acceptance, tenancy agreement, payment proof, address of your accommodation, details for orientation day, etc.)

 

  • Getting settled – To Dos for you first week in London

–        get an Oyster Card and top it up for travelling with public transport

–        purchase a bedding pack (when you live in the halls of residence)

–        buy some kitchen essentials (cheap stores: wilko, sainsbury’s, etc.)

–        get some toiletries (cheap stores: boot’s, wilko, supermarkets, etc.)

–        sign up with a local doctor (the university will provide you with further information)

–        go grocery shopping (cheap supermarkets: sainsbury’s, tesco, lidl, aldi, etc.)

–        explore Central London and the area you live in

 

  • Helpful Apps to download in advance

–        “Citymapper” or “Tube Map” & “Bus London” for public transport

–        “myWährung” for converting Pound in Euro

–        “Visit London” for sightseeing

–        “Time Out” for events, restaurants, etc.

–        “UNiDAYS” for discounts for students