London Calling – spook busting!

For some students, whether thinking about a  job on graduation or undertaking a placement year, almost as frightening as the prospect of not getting a job, is the daunting reality of getting one and having to relocate to a perhaps unknown or unfamiliar location.  Below are some myth-busting insights from a student who has ‘been there, done that’ encouraging you to take the plunge.

Thanks to Charlotte Stanbridge, a current final year student of Business and Enterprise Management, for sharing her positive reality check on what it was really like moving to London.  You can see Charlotte’s earlier post on ‘Top Tips for Placement Seekers‘ below.


What’s stopping you?

When applying for graduate and placement roles, you will often find that a lot of opportunities are London based but don’t let this put you off! I often hear ‘I’m not going to London’ from peers but it is important to be flexible where you can.

So, what is it that is holding you back from tackling the big smoke?

Londong calling

1)       ‘It’s too expensive, I can’t afford to move there’

True, living in London will cost you considerably more in terms of rent however you will find that this is often compensated by higher salaries or ‘London weighting’ which on placement added an additional £3,000 to my annual pay.  A lot of the larger companies will also pay a month in advance in order to help you get set up in London.

2)      Likewise, ‘It’s too expensive, I can’t afford to live there’

And again, travel and leisure can be expensive however as students, you will be more than used to being thrifty. Something I found particularly helpful around travel is the student oyster card which just cost £10 to issue and gives you cheaper travel rates on trains, tubes and buses which can also be teamed with a 16-25 railcard for further savings. There are also plenty of things that you can do for free in London – which I now miss greatly – including festivals, museums, television filming (check out Applause Store) and lots of tourist attractions which are free too!

dome         arts

3)      ‘It’s too big, I’ll get lost all the time’

So I did get lost once in London however there are so many landmarks (Big Ben was my landmark of choice on this occasion), apps and maps dotted around to help you and all the thousands of tourists wandering around. Some fantastic apps I would recommend downloading are; Citymapper and Tube Map (both great for navigating your way around the city on foot, by bus or taxi) and Uber and Hailo which are taxi apps.

4)      ‘I’ll be a little fish in a big pond’

Don’t see this as a negative. Focus on the fact that there will be hundreds of opportunities around you every day. London is also a great place to meet and network with others. Whilst on placement, I met other like-minded placement students who worked for all kinds of companies like Unilever, Microsoft and Arcadia. The experience and people I have met have greatly helped shape my career aspirations for the future.

5)      ‘It’s not safe’

As with any city, it is important to be aware and mindful of crime in London. Even small things, for example, not leaving your phone in your back pocket as an advertisement to thieves or travelling alone late at night. In my experience, I did not feel any less safe as in Sheffield or other cities I have visited but always be aware of your surroundings.

I feel it is important to point out that this is my personal experience of living in London for 13 months whilst on placement. I am also not a ‘city’ person at all having grown up on a family farm 2 miles from civilisation so was pleasantly surprised by how much I have fallen in love with London.

Best of luck with all your applications and hoping you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Any questions, please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.