Featuring Christina Connell.
Today, we’re back with another episode of ‘What Living in London Is Really Like?”. We’re excited to share with you Christina Connell’s experience and insights into being a Londoner in her own words. Growing up, she has always dreamed of studying abroad and seeing the bigger world outside of her home country. ‘Being a Londoner’ itself is a journey and it’s one that every Londoner experiences differently.
In this blog post, we will look at a lot of practical things that you need to know and apply when moving to London - or even other places.
Without further ado, here is Christina’s journey!
1. Before getting into the exciting part – the story, would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Christina and I am originally from Spain. For as long as I can remember, I had always wanted to live abroad. I love traveling and as a child, I dreamt of living somewhere outside of Spain. It seemed so exciting and full of opportunities! When the time came to go to university, it was no doubt for me that I didn't want to stay in Spain, and that is how I ended moving to London in September 2017. Since then, I have graduated with a business degree and I have stayed to work in the city. I don't expect to stay here for many more years to come. London is a great city and it has served me very well, but the rest of the world still awaits!
2. Would you tell us about your biggest worry when moving to London?
To be honest, I wasn't really worried about moving to London. If any, I was extremely excited! I had been to London before and, as a major European capital city, I knew what I could expect.
However, I reckon I did worry a bit about living costs. London is much more expensive than my home town of Bilbao and the currency exchange from euro to pounds put us already at a disadvantage. I knew life would be more expensive here and I didn't want to ask too much of my parents who have supported me financially until I started working last July. Rent has definitely been the biggest item on my budget, so I've tried to stay reasonable on other expenses. Luckily for me, I like staying in and cooking at home (although I love restaurants and London has amazing ones), so that has helped keep costs under control.
3. What is the biggest preparation you would recommend those who are moving to London to do?
Check on the map where your main activities are going to be, either work or your studies, and try to find accommodation at a nice distance from there. London is a big city and commuting can be tiring, long and expensive. You will gain in life quality if you live close to where you spend most of your time.
Also, be prepared for a city that might be more expensive than you are used to, drafting a budget can help ease the shock! Mentally, prepare yourself for something new. Every change requires adaptation and it is fine if you feel a bit uneasy in your first months in the city. It is all part of the process of moving to London!
4. What are the three biggest recommendations you would give to fellow students/people moving to London?
Enjoy the city! It has many things to offer. Check out for events, gatherings, experiences or just locations to visit based on what you like. Simply going for afternoon tea can be an incredible experience in London!
If you can, try to live in central London. Rent might be more expensive but you will save on transportation costs and commuting time, and you will live and breathe the city´s vibe. It might be worth the higher price tag!
Get a contactless card! I love that you can pay for absolutely everything via contactless in London, so make sure you have a card that allows you to simply tap and pay. If you don't have one yet, I recommend you open a bank account with a neobank like Monzo. If you will be needing to convert currencies from your local one to pounds, then Revolut is probably the most interesting one for you to have. Currency exchange is completely free and has great rates, so you could be receiving and sending money back home easily, cheaply and instantly! Ah! and use the contactless to travel on the tube and buses, don´t get an Oyster card.
An extra tip! Download Citymapper to know how to move around the city. I still cannot live without it!
5. 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?
Living in London for the last 3.5 years has been a major pivoting point in my life. It is great to live in a capital city like London where there are so many things going on for you to enjoy, from events to restaurants, to simply a nice walk in the park. It is here that I have learned how to be an adult and where, I believe, people discover and develop themselves.
Captured by @connelchris