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​Surviving in London: Survival Guide

04/04/2016 Sophie

From commerce and culture to finance and fashion, London dwarves the rest of the country in terms of what is has to offer both residents and visitors. As a result, the capital is where you will undoubtedly find the most apprenticeship opportunities.

But along with the expected and everyday obstacles of moving away from home and going it alone, such as making new friends and managing your money, London presents a number of additional challenges. For instance, you will need to negotiate its public transport system and figure out where is best to go out, while also trying to juggle your finances in what was recently named the most expensive city in the world in which to live and work.

Therefore, the following survival guide to being an apprentice in London is sure to come in handy...

Save on travel

Thanks to the Underground, Overground, and a multitude of bus services, getting around London is quick and easy on public transport. However, things can get expensive if you take advantage of TfL’s contactless payment system.

Instead, get yourself a 16-25 Railcard and link it to a Student Oyster, as you will get a third off pay-as-you-go journeys and your weekly travel card.

Always have your smartphone close to hand

Say you have got your 16-25 Railcard and Student Oyster, how do you know which tube line to catch or what bus goes past your house? Well, you only have to look at your smartphone.

Chances are every Londoner with a mobile device has some sort of travel app, be it citymapper, the tubemap or bustimes, which provide you with an abundance of information about routes and timings.

Get online to see what’s going on

In order to ensure you don’t miss out on something special, keep checking online guides for music, film, club nights, food and drink, culture, and community events.

Some of the best include TimeOut London, All In London, and official visitor guide Visit London. To keep costs down, search for things going in your area so you don’t have to travel far.

Look for student membership deals

If you are a fan of art and culture but don’t have the funds to support these interests, always be on the look out for student membership deals, which you should qualify for through your apprenticeship.

One great example is the Institute of Contemporary Arts, as its student membership enables you to watch movies for just £3 every week. The Picturehouse Cinema student membership also includes two free tickets and a host of other advantages.

Eat cheap

Instead of ordering takeaways every night, make the effort to start cooking and stock up on supplies at your nearest supermarket. However, if you simply cannot face the prospect of making your breakfast and lunch one day, remember to eat cheap or sometimes not even pay at all.

Head over to Brick Lane for an inexpensive morning bagel or make your way to the School of Oriental and African Studies at 12:30pm for lunch, as they hand out free curry everyday at the Hare Krishna stand.

Say yes to every invitation and opportunity

Unlike university, you do not have the benefit of joining clubs and societies or popping down the student union for an impromptu pint. Even so, there are bound to be some colleagues at work around the same age as you that still want to capitalise on London’s eclectic attractions and activities.

Therefore, don’t think twice before saying yes to after work drinks or weekend invitations. Even if you don’t enjoy yourself, every experience will contribute to your time living and working in London.