Updated: May 6
It’s no secret that London is one of the best cities to live in the world. Some people said it’s because of the opportunities the city offers. Others said it’s because of the people and places London has. But what really makes living in London such an exceptional experience?
Well, we got you some insider news through an interview conducted by Maria Greiner with Joshetta Gavriella (Gaby). Maria is no other than the founder of WeFindFlats. Which is established out of her passion to help people relocate from one part of the world to another. On the other hand, Gaby is a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) student in London, UK, from Indonesia. Relocating to London when she was still 17 years old - has not even reached the legal age in the UK, comes with its tears and laughter that we will uncover here. Well, at least a snippet of it!
Credits to @meinelense
Maria: Hello! Nice meeting you. Before getting into the exciting part – the story, would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Gaby: Sure! My name is Gaby and I’m originally from Indonesia. I’m an alumnus of HULT International Business School whereby I pursue my BBA degree.
Growing up in a suburban area, I was never a city girl. The busyness of London shocked me for some time. London has such a fast-paced lifestyle and as a 17-year-old that never lived outside of my parents’ house alone for more than a week, London could get slightly overwhelming at times. Despite the big dreams I have and how fascinating the city is.
Maria: Would you tell us about your biggest worry when moving to London?
Gaby: Probably knowing nothing about the city and no one. I wish I’m at least sure of my accommodation and its situation. For example, how to get around – since I should go to uni, and what my neighbourhood is like. I feel very unsafe in the area of the first accommodation I lived in. But back then I had no choice. It was kind of like ‘this way or no way’ kind of situation, so of course, I had to take that accommodation.
Equal to that worry is not knowing anyone in the city. No family and friends at all. Not even acquaintances. But I remember one thing people from HULT continuously told me – be it, staff or alumni, they always said, “don’t worry about making friends because everyone is in the same boat. Just be open and talk to them”. I think that advice got me a long way. By now, I have tested the truth of it and glad to report back to you that it is one solid and valid piece of advice!
(Left; Notting Hill. Right; Lambeth Bridge.)
Maria: That’s nice! What about some of the places you wish you know before arriving in London?
Gaby: Besides the obvious such as Tesco and alike, I would love to know that Chinatown and Asian supermarkets exist too – LOL.
Secondly, good coffee shops to get coffee and brunches with friends! Coffee shops’ history is as fascinating as to how far it has come today. I have discovered SO many different coffee shops with various backgrounds and stories that create such a unique environment and ambience. Putting it in a nutshell, it has very quickly become my comfort and happy place.
Thirdly, the different Sunday Market in London. Oh, all those street food … It feels a bit like home too. One piece of advice I would give when visiting Sunday Market is to not buy anything until you got through the whole market to avoid regrets - because there are so many things!
Maria: What are the three biggest recommendations you would give to fellow students/people moving to London?
Choose your accommodation wisely. Especially, all about the accommodation’s jargons like differences between single or double bedroom, all-inclusive bills or not, etc. Get to know your ‘data’ and rights correctly.
Choose your ‘flock’ wisely too. Needless to say, London is a big city that is full of life. Meaning, your life can go very right or left here. Therefore, I hope you do not forget the reasons why you are here in the first place.
Go out and explore London as ‘much and wide’ whenever you have time. There are SO many places to visit and they all have mesmerising history from landmarks and museums to Sunday markets and cafes. Whether you are living in London for three months, six months, or more than a year, never think that you have a lot of time to do so because time flies before we realise it. This could be tricky especially if you’re in London for more than a year - we tend to think there’s still a lot of time left. I’m definitely guilty of having that mindset - oops.
Maria: Thank you for all the insights! To conclude, would you tell us your experience of living in London for the last 3.5 years in a nutshell?
Gaby: Of course! I remember during my first month in London, everyone was so hyped up about living in London. Don’t get me wrong, it is a really great city but not when you don’t know how to enjoy it. Truth be told, London is a city I learned to love.
However, after some months, I begin to explore the city such as visiting parks, museums, different brunch places, etc, and it gives me a kind of consolation and comfort. Especially for my mental health which can be tricky to manage when it’s exams period. London makes you dream bigger but also appreciate the little things more. I think the switch of perspective is what makes me can call London ‘home’ too. But this also would not happen without the people I met here.
If I would give some last bits of advice, I would say, be courageous and smart while remaining genuine. Be friends with everyone but choose your comrade wisely. Do the things you love, challenge yourself, stay humble, and I hope you too realise how blessed we are to be in London – shoulder to shoulder with some of the most notable people.
(Some rooftop in East London.)