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Ananya

May 7th, 2024

An international student’s experience of moving to London

1 comment | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Ananya

May 7th, 2024

An international student’s experience of moving to London

1 comment | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Moving to London can be a big transition for most people, especially if it’s to attend university. Being in one of the largest cities in the world comes with its challenges, but also with plenty of opportunities to learn and make memories that last a lifetime!

While my family is based in India, I did my undergraduate studies at University of Bath, in a city in the south of England. Being in a quiet and small place for four years meant that I experienced a big jump when I moved to London. However, my hometown of New Delhi is just as big and busy as London, so I wasn’t thrown into the deep end after moving here. Nevertheless, there was a feeling of anxiety and apprehension about living in such a big city, especially because I was moving there all on my own.

I wasn’t completely alone during the move, though; I shared a house with two of my close friends from my undergraduate university — one of them is a master’s student at LSE too! Together, we explored campus during welcome week, marvelling at the many beautiful LSE buildings on campus, trying out coffees and food at the school eateries, and having the first of our many study sessions in the LSE Library.

While having familiar and friendly faces did make the transition to London life easier, I did experience bouts of homesickness from time to time. This was especially during the first few weeks of the first term, which coincided with Diwali and Durga Puja, two of the biggest festivals we celebrate at home. However, I came to realise (and greatly appreciate) two things soon after moving to London that helped me stay connected to home.

Firstly, London is a melting pot of cultures, and the Indian community is one of the largest in the world. Going to Southhall and Brick Lane made my Indian and Bengali heart happy; I was surrounded by the familiar smells of freshly fried bhajis and samosas, as well as the sounds of Bollywood and Bengali music by street performers. I also visited the Camden Durga Puja at the Swiss Cottage Library, where I video-called my family back home and took part in the festivities together with them! Secondly, I was pleasantly surprised to see just how diverse the student body is at LSE. In my programme alone, there are about 20 Indian students, all hailing from different parts of India. We came together to celebrate Diwali and attend a Bollywood club night organised by LSESU India Society — which was just as exciting as it sounds — with Bhangra dancers and Indian music playing all night long. I also followed some of my family recipes to cook a Diwali dinner for coursemates and newfound friends, and the whole of Diwali season therefore didn’t feel as lonely as I thought it would’ve been. I was happy to know that London life allowed me to celebrate my Indian culture despite being thousands of miles away from home!

After a couple of months, I found myself slowly settling into London life. I even incorporated some key aspects of being a Londoner into my daily routine, such as automatically knowing which tube line to take when in a new neighbourhood, subconsciously standing on the right side of the escalators to allow others to walk, or even knowing local spots for different cuisines — be it a full English or a curry! I’m glad that moving to a new and big city has not only allowed me to learn a different way of living, but also find a place to celebrate my cultural background and journey as an international student in the UK.

In London, with so many people and lives around you, it’s easy to find a spot that fits you best, and allows you to become the best and truest version of yourself. For me, this was to be an Indian girl who celebrates her roots, who’s at the same time open to British influences, which can range from small talk about the weather, knowing tube etiquette — or even getting a daily fix of a sausage roll!

 

About the author

Ananya

Hi! I'm Ananya, an MSc student in the Organisational and Social Psychology programme. I'm originally from Delhi and have been living in the UK for the past 4 years. I'm very excited to be studying at LSE and experiencing life in London. In my free time, I like to cook and bake, go on walks in one of the many beautiful parks in London, explore cafés and restaurants, and watch Netflix shows!

Posted In: London life | Student Life: Advice

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