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A Quick & Easy Guide To The Basics In London

The trip over to United Kingdom was difficult, including a connecting flight with only an hour in between. There were so many bumps along the way, but getting to London was well worth it.

Upon arrival, I met my amazing on-site coordinator and an ambassador at the meeting point at Heathrow. I was welcomed with warm smiles, laughs and people who knew how to make the awful post-flight experience so much better. Other CEA students who are studying abroad in London and I waited for our shuttle to campus and once we were at our dorm we were assigned our rooms. 

 Big Ben. London, England.

Once inside my dorm, basic questions started to arise: Where do I go for groceries? Where do I buy bedding? Where do I go to buy kitchen supplies? What about a SIM card? How about toothpaste? Here are some (hopefully) helpful tips for your easy transition into the London life:

Bedding & More

Primark. The best way I could describe it is: Forever 21 and H&M mixed with bedding. This is not the Target equivalent I had hoped for. 

When I left to buy bedding, I went to Primark for the unbelievably low prices. Everyone was moving in, and it was so busy (worse than Black Friday shopping). People had actual buckets of clothing and more.

The biggest suggestion I can make is leave immediately to buy your stuff. You can always finish unpacking once you bought everything.  

Kitchen Appliances

There is a local store called Robert Dyas that actually had fairly cheap plates, silverware, pots, pans, and more! The shopkeepers told us ways to save money and gave us a 10% student discount. You can also go to IKEA and even Tesco. 

Groceries & More

There are different versions of Tesco. It’s a grocery store within London, and depending on if you go to the Metro or the Express, that will determine how large the store is.

There are also many other grocery stores like: Waitrose, Sainsbury, Morrisons, and other ones that you can definitely look up. Tesco’s and Sainsbury are apparently more convenient—probably because there is so many of them. However, f you want fine artisan cheese and such, Waitrose is the place for you! Remember that it really depends on your budget and what works for you.

 Waitrose. Local grocery store.
 Inside Waitrose!
 Inside Waitrose part II. Looking at the magnificent fresh baked bread.

SIM Cards

You can walk into any phone company: O2, Vodafone, EE, and so much more. Check out what's available and which option works best for you.

Walgreens & CVS Equivalents

According to locals and our lovely CEA on-site coordinator: Boots or Superdrug. These two places are the go to for stores like Walgreens and CVS. 

Closing Thoughts

Moving to any new country is quite difficult.There are new things to learn, necessities to buy and fun to experience. London is quite friendly, though, so if you are lost, looking for a store, or just anything—feel free to stop someone on the street and ask! They don’t bite, promise.  

 Regent Street, London, England. CEA Bus Tour

Michelle M. is a Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in London, England. She is currently a junior studying cinema art & science, concentrating in directing and post-production and minoring in photography at Columbia College Chicago.
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