As a prospective student, especially if you never studied in the UK, have you been wondering how to be better prepared for life at LSE? Well, considering I have survived the first two months at LSE, here are my three top tips:
One, do some exercises, work out on your muscles.
Yes, you are not getting me wrong, I do say ‘muscles’ not ‘brain’. I say this based on a simple fact which is — you will need strong muscles to support your brilliant brain. When you study abroad alone like me, the last thing you want to experience is getting sick, especially with the unpredictable pandemic going on.
A regular activity like jogging, cycling would bring a sense of stability in life. Since the first day at LSE, I have been practicing yoga every morning, just as I did at home, which brings a taste of familiarity and smooths my nerves whenever I get too anxious or overwhelmed by the new settings.
Student using the weights equipment in the SU Gym on the fourth floor of the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre.
Of course, you can pick up whatever sports or activities you like. And I do suggest beginning your practice before coming to LSE. In this way, you would have more time not only to explore what is best for you but also to establish a routine for you to rely on when becoming an LSE student. The good news is we do have a gym at LSE and there is a wide range of sports and recreation activities in the LSE Students’ Union waiting for you to check out. From basketball to tennis, from fencing to rowing, I am sure you will find the particular one to stretch out arms and legs in a pleasant way.
Two, learn how to cook, fill your stomach.
Do you know what I think before or after a long day of study? Most of the time, I’m thinking about only one thing- fix something to eat! I suppose studying, as a kind of brain activity, does consume a significant amount of energy, especially when studying at a university like LSE.
I can never emphasise more how much I regret that I should have learned more skills in the kitchen before coming to the UK. Can you imagine how agonising it is when you’re staring at colourful vegetables, beef, chicken, all kinds of known or unknown sauces and seasonings with an empty stomach, not knowing how to cook yourself a decent meal?
As a prospective student of LSE, you should always keep one thing in your mind: London, the city where LSE is located, is an international metropolis with all kinds of food materials you would need for cooking. Therefore, sharpen your cookery skills, be a proper cook before packing your books for LSE. That’s my advice about your self-training session: Keep it healthy, keep it delicious, keep it simple.
Three, read, read, read.
There are two recommended ways to start your reading: Find whatever interests you and read it in English; Or think about the programme you are applying for and read some fundamental books in the field of your specialty. In the case of the latter, it does not necessarily have to be in English if you have limited resources. And if you’re not sure how to begin, just go to the local library and talk to the librarians – I’m sure they could help you to do some digging.
Another more casual way of starting reading would be going for the “big names”, such as books written by Charles Dickens, whose once lived house is now a museum, just 20 minutes walking distance from LSE.
The Old Curiosity Shop on Portsmouth Street (before and now)!
From all my two months of experience, reading is the essential skill in need when you join the LSE family. And the sooner you get used to reading the whole piece of a book (not articles, as a means of practice as books may be the better choice here) in English, or the more basic concepts you have of the upcoming programme (which might be more useful for students pursuing postgraduate studies), the better and easier you would keep up with the rhythm of LSE melody.