The first thing that people seem to think about when you mention the word “London” is: expensive, the Queen, the tubes and Olympics. However, at London Cardinal Place, the interns (special thanks!) have passed on their handy hints and top tips when you make the move to London and start your working life at Microsoft.
As a Microsoft Intern living in London, here are some things that you may want to consider…
• Take some time to travel to London and check out the house and the area before you make any decisions.
• Practice the commute from the area into work to see how easy it is and how long it will take you. Don’t be put off the area if it is quite a long commute – it is something you have to expect – you get used to it!
• You are here for one year. Make it count and do everything you can. You can end up spending little time at home so no need to spend all your money on rent in a fancy apartment. Make the most of a city where you can do anything.
• Living in the zones of London: Zone 1 – the worst (everything is too expensive). Zone 2 – the best (just as close, much cheaper, transport is awesome). Zone 3 – the one… at the end of the tube links (transport takes longer and cost more, but rent is cheaper)
• London living is a balancing act. Travel cost vs. cheap rent.
• When thinking about where to live if you’re moving to London, think about the zones for your Oyster card… the further from central you live, the more zones you have to pay for, and the more expensive travel is. It’s also definitely worth applying for a student Oyster card for huge discounts and if you can afford to pay annually you save literally half! :)
• Try and live next to a night bus that goes to Oxford Circus – it means you can always get home after a night out, wherever in London you are!
• If you’re looking at house prices, rent should ideally be around £450-£550. You know you’re paying too much if its £560 and over.
• If you are going to house share, try and keep the number to around 4 or 5 people.
• Areas where the current interns live – Acton, Mile End, Clapham (highly recommended), Streathem, Balham.
• If you decide to live in London, make sure you get a house near tube stations (10mins at least away) – it makes all the difference when waking up.
How do I survive those long commutes into work if I don’t live in London, I hear you say? Thanks to Sergiy Okhotnytsky who has also given some great advice below on surviving those long journeys into work, so definitely worth thinking about:
• Be prepared for regular tube/train delays. Carry water with you at all times :) (it does help)
• Buy a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to isolate the daily noise.
• Get yourself a student Oyster card before starting – your university needs to confirm with TFL that you are a student. Offers 1/3 discount on travel cards (worth it!)
• Get a comfy and spacious (preferred shoulder straps) bag – you will be carrying it every day (laptop/gym stuff/lunch…). This is something you will use every day so it better be good.
• Work out an alternative commuting route to work in case your primary route gets major delays/closed, so that you know what to do straight away when this happens. It will happen.
• A bit personal but – best place to stand on the tube is at the very front/back of the carriage as it has windows (good), you can lean back on the padded areas (don’t have to hold onto anything), fastest exit as the doors are right next to you and also in this way you will not get judgmental looks from people when you should’ve given up your seat for them
Finally – what is there to do in London? Big thanks to Laura Chung for sharing her London nightlife tips that won’t break your bank:
Great cheap places to go out
• Jazz Café Camden during Saturday (80snight) and Friday (90s night) – Student night out, £5 entry and 2.50 drinks
• Proud in Camden is great to go for a chilled day on Saturday. Free entry, cheap drinks £3 and live jazz bands from 1-7pm.
• For something dirty and student – Infernos in Clapham (club from Inbetweeners)
• Must see sights: Portobello road, Borough market, Embankment at night, Notting Hill Festival. Take full use of the free festivals going round on the weekends. Visit the late night museums (last Thursday of every month science museum – free). Shoreditch is good place to go out.
• Highly recommended going for a drink at Graphic (Off Carnaby Street) and Sketch (off oxford street) – cool bars/venues.
• And obviously make the most out of work drinks!!
London CP Interns