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Organise your student life in the City!

keep-calm-and-enjoy-student-life-3Especially if you are studying and want to get the most out of your studies, organisation is a must when living in a great and busy city like London. It’s not a secret that being dazzled by the concept of “perfect life”,  but  keeping the balance between studies and partying, is not easy when you find yourself clustered round thousands of options for entertainment.

No matter if you come from overseas, or another city in the UK is always useful to plan carefully your life bearing in mind essential tips to succeed both, in having fun and studying.

Rule #1 – Don’t expect that everything is just like at home

Expectation by itself is something tricky, so if you think that comparison will not damage by any means your recent new-move, be careful. It’s a mistake to think that everything will be exactly the same as if you are in your hometown.

Something frequently associated with living in a big city and the lack of spare time, is the fact that most of the people feel alone and isolated. It happens because everyone is always in a hurry, less inclined to talk to each other. But for a student who lives in a student accommodation or in a flatshare it’s likely that this feeling will get away in the first month, once you will have more chances to meet new people with the same routine and aspirations as yours.

Rule # 2 – Language and culture: get out of your comfort zone

If English is not your mother tongue, that’s the first obstacle you will face. Language barriers can be hard or a continuous process, it totally depends on your goals. If you choose a continuous-smooth process, you should not be afraid to ask as much as possible for clarification. Join meetups and events to connect with other students, it will help you to improve your English skills as well as make new friends.

You have to have the same attitude towards cultural matters if you want to learn what makes sense, what’s different from your culture and what’s totally wrong, so you don’t put yourself to blush when a native tells you that your gesture or words are rude. Cultural misunderstandings are also funny, but they can become problems if you don’t learn from your mistakes. Research about the local culture and observe what others do, and how they do it.

Rule # 3 – London never stops. Neither should you

If you are more into parties, then you probably are the kind of person that torture yourself if you miss a special party where all of your friends would be. On the other hand, if you are more studious you are likely to dismiss anything related to having fun just to learn a bit more.

Remember to keep the balance! You must relax and do some activities apart from studying, but don’t party too hard if you have short deadlines, assignments and exams at your school or university. This city never stops and you will have plenty of time to enjoy as many parties as possible.

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City Battle: London x Paris

Did you know that Napoleon III wanted to give the Parisians, particularly those in the outer neighbourhoods, access to green space for recreation and relaxation? He was inspired by Hyde Park in London, which he had often visited when he was in exile there.

London? Paris? It really doesn’t matter once both cities boast some of the most recognisable attractions in the world without a shadow of a doubt (not to mention architecture and cuisine) – and here at TLS we really love both because of its particularities.

We’ve decided to condense all of this into a lovely infographic so you can check it out by yourself.

Let the battle commence!

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Tipping in United Kingdom

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Tips seem required everywhere you go but sometimes you don’t know where and how much you are supposed to give after having a real good meal.

What is the origin of the word “tip” with reference to gratuity?

In the past, this word was a verb meaning “to give” or “to hand over” and thanks to different eras we can find out several theories regarding its origins.

First theory: Through the feudal times, lords gave some “tips” to peasants they encountered along the way.

Second theory: Some people believe that this word came from the 16th-century Roman Empire which was an acronym and meant “to insure promptitude”

Third theory: Derived from thieves’ slang which meant “to give/to pass along”

Nowadays, things are different and we know that tips are a sum of money which is given to some workers for a service performed or anticipated. Nevertheless when you travel around the world, its particularity differs from country to country. For example, in United States and Canada, the culture for tipping is very present once the service is not included as standard on the bills.

In London, is highly appreciated to round up at the nearest pound through a taxi trip and if you have felt the service pleasant in restaurant, you are allowed to leave a tip although it is considered uncommon.

It happens because in London the service may be added to the bill, usually 10% – not more than that. So is always advised to double check your bills wherever you go.

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Registering to vote for UK Elections or Referendums

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Registering to vote is not only the way to choose the UK Parliament and European  representatives but it gives you a say on important issues that could affect you such as education, public transports, public health, security, climate change, etc.

It means you can if you want to and doesn’t mean that you have to. You can’t vote if you are aged under 18 years old.

At the present date, only UK, Commonwealth or European Union citizens are eligible to vote. There are two easy ways to register:

1) You should receive the registration form at home between August and September from your local Electoral Registration Office.

2) If you didn’t receive the registration form, you have to contact your Electoral Registration Office in order to fill out a request.

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Alternatives to “cliche” public transports in London

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We know that the Underground, buses, Overground and the DLR are unbeatable means of public transport allowing you to reach furthest from central London.

But what if you feel tired of your commuting routine? Well, don’t stress out because we have good tips for your survival. Some of them are a bit expensive, some of them are free, but the most important thing is to have as many options as possible.

Alternative 1: Barclays Bikes

Barclays cycles were launched on July 2010 by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London. Transport for London group is responsible for 8.300 bikes and 570 cycles stations in all over London.

How to use it: go to the nearest docking station with your credit or debit card in order to hire a bike. Follow the steps on the screen and borrow one.

Why?:  Is very cheap hiring a bike and for a period under 30 minutes, all your journey is free. Besides, you can travel by bike safely on the superhighways from out London into Central London. It is a safe, cheap and healthy alternative for commuting.

Alternative 2: River Bus

The river buses are a fast and frequent service from early morning until early evening.

How to use it: you can catch the River Bus at several places. There are different routes like Embankment – Woolwich Arsenal, Bankside – St George Wharf, London Bridge – Canary Wharf, Canary Wharf – Hilton Docklands, North Greenwich – Woolwich Arsenal and Putney – Blackfriars.

Why?: Is very comfortable to travel by River Buses and you will find some services like wi-fi and refreshments. Generally you need to buy your ticket before boarding but you can also buy it on board. The Oyster pay as you go is accepted and it gives you a 10 per cent discount on most single journeys.

Alternative 3: The Emirates Air Line

The Emirates Air Line is a unique transport to enjoy a great view and it is an amazing ride across the Thames.

How to use it: you can catch the Air Line between North Greenwich and the Royal Docks. This line was launched in June 2012 and it is operated by Transport for London.

Why?: if you are going to a concert at O2 arena, want to appreciate a good view or are just trying to flirt with someone, we definitely recommend you to try it. If you have an Oyster card you can get some discounts for the boarding pass price.

All of these alternative transports allow you to discover, and enjoy London. Try one of them and appreciate your daily journey!

Here, There and Throughout UK: The Pub Culture

If you are coming to United Kingdom the number of pubs on the streets can surprise you. Although the total number of pubs dropped, 57.071 were the number of pubs in UK in 2008.

A pub is a fundamental drinking establishment to the UK social culture for over two and a half centuries according to “UK Pubs and Public Houses”.

 The first pub known in the UK history appeared when the Romans were coming to England and established the road network. It was called a “taberna”, where the travellers could obtain a drink and a meal.

Nowadays, the pubs are very popular and extremely common on the streets. Drinking sessions are organised after working hours, popularly known as “happy hours” when you can also find some pubs with discounts for a pint of beer or other drinks.

But the pub is not only a place for drinking…

Pubs are also a place to catch up with friends and family. There are many types of pubs where you can watch a football game, listen to music, discover a wide range of beers and obviously spend good time.

The “pub lunch” is very famous and you cannot come to London without tasting one of several English recipes like the famous fish and chips or homemade burger!

When in London

 If you are looking for a traditional or a new pub in this massive city, you won’t be disappointed. In each area, you can find a perfect place to have fun!

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Driving on the right and on the left

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The origins of those rules are based on History and country. Throughout the History people used “keep left” rule. It is only recently that the world has been choosing the “keep right” rule.

The first evidence came from the archaeological time during the Roman Empire. This Empire built many roads through Europe and would have needed to create some rules in order to let people know how interact on the roads.

Some archaeological excavations have showed it was common to drive on the left side of the road at this moment of the History.

Then during the middle ages, Historians could explain the keep left rule by the fact that roads were not always very safe and people on horseback could draw their weapons easily if they met some unsavoury company on the road.

The keep right rule quickly spread throughout the United States and Canada in 18th century. Keeping right on the road was more easily for people and they would gave them a better visibility of traffic.

In Europe this rule started in France, the reasons are not clear at all but whatever the reasons, France switched to the “keep right” system. Under Napoleon Empire, this system has been spread throughout all of the countries which have been conquered.

In England the system has never changed and kept the “keep left” rule that has endured for hundreds of years ago. England was also never conquered by Napoleon.

An official law was made in 1756 in England. In the same time the British Empire was spread throughout the world, this rule expanded too.

Now you know a little bit more about the origin, practice driving on the left hand side of the road before driving in the UK!

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