Ten tips I wish I’d had when I started LSE

Hello, and welcome everyone – whether you’re a returning student or someone coming to LSE for the first time.

The Modern Languages Society is delighted to present our new blog! Each week (or fortnight) we’re going to publish a short article written in a foreign language, the author being chosen from our membership.

Since the start of a new academic year has almost arrived, it seemed pertinent to do a bit of reflection and offer up some pieces of advice for Freshers. So…

1) Don’t panic:

It’s worth reiterating that everyone feels nervous the first day, month, even term. Just stay calm and you’ll get used to it in no time.

2) Make friends:

“Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” Sounds clichéd but it’s undeniable that friends shape our university experience. Life in London offers you the opportunity to meet people whose nationalities, culture and experiences are different from yours. It’s quite possible to end up with several different groups of friends: ones from your classes, ones from societies, ones from your halls, etc. Don’t be shy to make conversation!

3) Take advantage of student discounts:

There are certain discounts specifically for LSE students as well as generic student offers from TOTUM and UNIDAYS. Fields Kitchen in Lincoln’s Inn Fields is perfect for a delicious breakfast or coffee after class. The Delauney Counter is better for something sweeter. Check out the list of exclusive discounts here.

4) Go to public events:

A huge number of politicians, professionals, academics and, in general, notable figures come to give presentations at the LSE on a range of subjects. Just this April, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, came to speak to us. It’s a better idea to look at the programme in advance and highlight any events you’re interested in than deciding to go at the last minute!

5) Prepare yourself for English weather:

A strong umbrella is a solid investment. As are some warm clothes – especially when snow in winter isn’t unknown (photographic evidence included below!). By the way, if you’re living in LSE halls, it’s a good idea to have a jumper next to your bed; the fire alarms tend to go off during the night when it’s (really) cold outside!

6) Discover world cuisine:

If you fancy trying a particular dish, chances are you’ll find it somewhere in London. Covent Garden is close to the campus and you’ll find a good variety of little restaurants there. It’s worth visiting Borough Market too for French, Thai and even Ethiopian food. Of course, London prices can be high. You can save money by cooking at home; if you share recipes with your new friends, you can have a great evening!

7) Be sensible when packing your bags:

There are lots of things you can buy once you’ve arrived (toiletries, for example). On the other hand, it’s worth bringing other things with you. Perhaps you like certain foodstuffs from your home country which aren’t available / which are really expensive in the UK? Equally, don’t forget some posters or photos if you’re going to have a noticeboard – they’ll make your room so much more welcoming.

8) Think about accommodation for next year:

It seems ridiculous to ask you so early on where you’ll live in 2020 but time flies! Make a list of places you like in London (except Mayfair!) and have a think about your preferred accommodation style (house or apartment?), your budget and your ideal number of housemates.

9) Don’t forget the careers, languages and faith centre:

These three services are super useful! The careers centre can help you to edit your CV and cover letter(s) as well as giving you details about careers events focussing on different industries which will take place on-campus. If you want to learn another language, the languages centre offers a variety of courses, including certain ones which can be part of your degree. Finally, the faith centre organises plenty of activities such as “Interfaith Buddies” where you learn something about other faiths in a dialogue group. All students are welcome to take part regardless of their faith.

10) Join a society:

It’s often said that LSE puts emphasis on the corporate world and there is a certain truth in this. You can join societies for law, accounting, management, etc. On the other hand, there are also plenty of sports, arts and culture groups. Keep an open mind and explore your interests! We’ll leave you on that last note.

If you’re looking for a society that will allow you to stay in touch with a foreign language you learnt at school, why not join us? Visit our website and, to contact us, our Facebook and Instagram pages. We’d love to hear from you!

See you soon and best of luck!

This article is also published in French, here.

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