The Betches’ Study Abroad Guide To London

Not to literally be the f*cking worst, but I can definitively say my semester abroad was the best semester of college so far. Admittedly, it could be because I didn’t cry over boys, have stupid drama, or fall down the steps of a frat house. I might not have gotten a Madonna-esque accent or pulled a Meghan Markle and married a prince during my three months abroad in London, but I’m still chuffed with the way I spent my time here.

While London may not be every student’s first thought when picking where to go abroad, it should really at least be in the top of five (if not top of the list). During my semester across the pond, I balled out in pubs, shopped waaaay more than I should have, and ate some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. London is a crazy, huge, exciting place, and I sadly didn’t experience everything. However, whether you’re thinking of a semester in the best city in the world (seriously, don’t fight me on this) or you’re just taking a short trip, think of this list as a starting point. Cheers!

General Living

One of the significant perks of studying abroad in London is that it’s pretty much New York, but with accents. While the U.K., and, specifically London, is definitely more western and modern than places like Madrid or Rome, some random things may be confusing at first. 

Your home in London will likely be a dorm or a flat (aka an apartment). I really lucked out and lived with three other girls in a 2br/2ba apartment. While this may have made things difficult when we were getting ready to go out, it was a perfect set-up for a transition between on-campus and off-campus housing. 

Your flat will likely have some weird washer-dryer hybrid (if you have a dryer at all), and you’ll probably have a dishwasher, which is honestly super nice.

If, upon arriving abroad, you discover the sheets and towels your program gave you are grimy and insufficient (seriously, we were each given one small hand-towel and that’s it), don’t freak out. The city is littered with home goods and department stores. While literally nothing could ever compare to Target, chains like M&S and TK Maxx (the British TJ Maxx) will have everything you need to get.

If you’re looking for something like Walgreens or CVS, I have great news for you. Boots, my new favorite store, is basically what I imagine CVS and Ulta’s love child would be. Seriously, I got my eyebrows done in a Boots that was located in a Tube station. I could write an essay about it and will go on for days, but truly, where else can you buy Calpol (British Tylenol) and YSL products in one place?


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As far as food shopping goes, the most common grocery stores are Sainsbury, Co-op, Waitrose, and Tesco. M&S is the closest you’ll get to something like Target since they carry food, clothes, and a ton of random things. There are also a few Whole Foods locations scattered throughout the city if you’re into that, but they tend to be far from where students are based. When you go grocery shopping, they do charge for bags, so I found saving bags or purchasing reusable ones to be both fiscally and environmentally responsible

While London has a thousand amazing restaurants, many of them are pretty expensive, so I recommend saving those for when your parents come to visit. London can be a pretty expensive city overall, so it’s essential to keep track of your spending, especially as it pertains to food. I promise that while the local cuisine is good, it isn’t worth bankrupting yourself within the first month. 

When it comes to electronics, sh*t gets dicey. Due to my lack of understanding of voltage conversion, I accidentally blew the battery on my laptop during my first week here. Do yourself a favor and make sure you’re getting the right type of chargers that will properly adapt to the outlets, and won’t break your stuff. 

Keep in mind the outlets in the U.K. are different from those in the rest of Europe (because I guess having different currency isn’t already enough of a pain in the ass). If you’re planning on traveling during your time abroad, which you should, I recommend getting one of those converters that let you change its settings so you don’t have to buy separate ones. 


London is very walkable, and there is ample public transport thought the city, which makes it easy to be sustainable and to ball on a budget! While the transportation system is admittedly confusing at first (I accidentally got on the Tube alone my first week and had a minor panic attack), it is super easy to adjust to and figure out. I recommend downloading the app CityMapper. It has minute-by-minute updates of line closures and shows you every way to get to a location by comparing the costs and travel time.

Flying: While London isn’t the cheapest place to travel to and from, flying is definitely the easiest way to get to most cities in Europe. Flights in and out of Heathrow are pretty pricey, but there are a ton of other, more affordable airports surrounding the city. Look for flights on Ryanair and EasyJet, they’re basically the European equivalents to Spirit.

When it comes to getting to the airport, I recommend taking the train from the city. Train times are predictable where London traffic is anything but. If you decide to Uber, give yourself tons of extra time. 

Trains: Trains are great to get anywhere else in the U.K. and places like Amsterdam and Paris. I took the Eurostar to Amsterdam and flew back, and the train was 100 times more pleasant. Make sure you book a ticket beforehand, and I recommend paying extra for a seat; otherwise you might end up standing for three hours, and I know from experience it’s the f*cking worst. 

Buses: Public transport is everywhere in London, and there’s a bus stop every hundred yards. While the buses are super convenient, they aren’t the fastest way to move around. Again, traffic in London is literally terrible. 


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Just put the finishing touches on this lovely destination for a very special VIP family. The kids will be so excited when they “receive” their travel plans to London this Christmas morning! I love designing the perfect holiday gift to put under the tree. What would you like to have waiting under your tree this year? Be sure to tag your significant other so they get the hint😉!

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The Tube: The crown jewel of London’s public transport system. Seriously, picture the subway but way cleaner and way more chill. The Tube is usually the fastest way to get from place to place. We were given oyster cards (aka transit cards) at the beginning of the semester and refilled a few times before we realized we could use Apple Pay to get in and out of the stations. 

Uber: Uber is a little uncertain in London right now, as there’s an ongoing legal battle about whether they can keep their license to operate there. However, they left before and made a comeback. There are a variety of ride-share apps that are specific to the city and similar to Uber if it isn’t around when you visit. Uber can be a necessity, especially late at night, because public transport stops around 1am. 


One of the most significant aspects of culture shock I experienced in London is that people actually dress up for class. Leggings and the frat sweatshirt you stole from the guy you hooked up with freshman year won’t cut it. I obviously dressed cute on the first day to make a good impression on hot guys from across the pond, but I was shocked to discover my classmates wearing, like, dresses to class in the second week. People in London tend to dress really well, so be prepared to step up your game a little bit when it comes to daily attire.


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My face when someone is telling me their side of the story but i know the truth.🤗✨ – La mia faccia quando qualcuno mi sta raccontando la sua versione della storia, ma io conosco già la verità.🤗✨ – 📸: @dani_bosch88

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When it comes to hair and skincare in London, there are a few essential things to remember. The weather is somehow frigid, humid, and dry all at the same time. The air quality is also no friend to sensitive skin. While drinking water might combat some of this, I also highly recommend investing in a few good face masks (I like Drunk Elephant’s Babyfacial and Glossier’s Moisturizing Moon Mask), deep conditioner, and some sort of hydrating hair product. 

If you’re like me, and super reliant on your heat tools, I highly recommend investing in those made explicitly for European or British outlets. It’ll save you a whole lot of heartbreak when the flat iron you’ve had since junior year of high school burns out on the first week. RIP.


Breakfast and Brunch

There are many fantastic breakfast and brunch places here. While I’m not huge on breakfast, there were a few spots almost every study abroad student will consider a “must.” I recommend exploring your area to find breakfast places because there are cute cafes all over the city. 

EggBreak: EggBreak, located in Notting Hill, is the best brunch I had in London. We ordered half of the menu to split, but I honestly wish I had gotten everything. The neighborhood is super cute, which makes the long wait bearable.  


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It’s brunch time and we’ve got you covered. 📸 @londoncoffeeshops

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The Breakfast Club: There are a few locations throughout the city, it’s pretty affordable and has a huge menu.


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High Tea

If you’re of the mentality that there’s no point in going to London if you aren’t going to high tea, you’re not necessarily wrong. Most of the time, champagne is included, which is super fun, especially if you’re not a huge tea drinker. Tea will typically eat up a few hours and take a sizable chunk of your abroad budget, depending on the place. I recommend a nicer, more traditional tea with your parents if they visit, and one of the trendier ones with your friends. 

SketchTHE place to go for bathroom mirror selfies. It is super vibey, and the restaurant is totally gorgeous, and the tea itself is also great. As a bonafide allergy kid, I really appreciated their nut-free option, mainly because most high tea places have set menus. 


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Beyond space and time…Christmas reaches far and wide… ____________________ Christmas is here, there and everywhere with the help of @cirocvodka @champagnepommeryuk @casamigos @belsazar_vermouth #sketchChristmas #sketchLondon #sketchPods #EATMUSICDRINKART

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Beas of Bloomsbury: This place is super cute and there are a few locations. It’s a pretty traditional tea, but definitely worth going to. 


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A selection of fine cut sandwiches & mini brioche, with specially selected sweet treats and your choice of @cantontea ☕ Vegetarian and Gluten Free options available. Head to the link in our bio to book 💕⁠ ⁠ . ⁠ . ⁠ . ⁠ ⁠ #london #prettylittlelondon #instagram #londoninstagram #pinklondon #londoncoffeeshop #londoncakeshop #londonbakery #londonafternoontea #afternoontea #hightea #champagne #teatime #tea #tealover #foodie #londonfood #londoneats #londonlife #londonrestaurants #londonfoodblogger #londonblogger #londonfoodies #timeoutlondon

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Mad Hatters (Gin &) Tea PartyNo words can do this justice, but it’s a crazy-fun experience. You’ll never do anything else like it, and it’s a must if you’re visiting London. 


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Head to the post for details of our giveaway where you can win a pair of tickets. Comp closes at 4pm so don’t be late! ⏲️ Or book tickets from the link in the bio. • • • • • #madhattersginteaparty #cocktail #london #wonderland #cheshirecat #popup #gin #immersive #theatre #aliceinwonderland #mixology #madhattersteaparty #cocktails #happy #secretlondon #madhatter #londonlife #teaparty #madhattersgtparty #mixologist #bar #gintonic #drinkporn #drink #londontown #instagood #fever #feveroriginal #kitandcaboodle #purveyorsofwow

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Peggy Porschen: We went here for tea on my friend’s birthday. It was super cute and the brunch food was delicious. We didn’t get the high tea menu, but the atmosphere was super pretty. 


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The sun is out today in our pretty and pink corner of London 💕 #Mondaymotivation Thank you for the pretty photograph @thewonderoflondon 📸 #peggyporschenchelsea @kingsroadchelsea #pasteldreams #prettycorners

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CocoChan: CocoChan is hands down my favorite restaurant in London. Its Asian fusion menu has something for everyone, even super picky eaters. The restaurant is aesthetically pleasing, and the drinks are amazing.  


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VEGAN EVERYTHING! ✨ With our sharing towers you get to try all the best #vegan dishes! Check out the Garden tower with #veggietempura, mushroom #dumplings, Robata #grilledtofu, #japaneseseaweedsalad, #moromimiso broccoli and #enokifritters! You heard it here first! 💕 #foodvibes #veganinlondon #madewithmeaning #cocochanlondon #veganvibes #sharingplates #marylebone #bondstreet #londonfoodie #panasian #asianplates #cocktails #stchristophersplace _______________________

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Coppa Club: Coppa Club is super yummy, if a little expensive. It’s perfect for sharing a ton of stuff. They have igloos you can dine in that fill up months in advance, so make sure to plan ahead.


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With just a few days to go until the February-April Igloo bookings become available, we wanted to show some of the details from our very own Winter Woodland, that was designed by @gina.brennan

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NandosYour London experience isn’t complete until you’ve had a cheeky Nandos with ~the lads~. It’s really just chicken and variations on normal chicken dishes with killer sides. Get the Peri Chips; you won’t regret it. 


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Friend pouring gravy: “Say when” Me: . . . . . . . “…When”

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DishoomThere are a few locations of Dishoom around the city. It’s really great Indian food


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A Friday-night feast, to be sure.⁣ ⁣ 📸: @alfadalah

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GloriaThis is part of a restaurant group that has locations in Paris and other cities. It has incredible Italian food and is great for both brunch and dinner. The second location in London is called Circolo Popolare, and it’s equally as amazing. 


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Feel good Friday just got better 🔥#pastafrescaporn

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Santore Italian: We found this place on the second day of the semester by accident, and it was our go-to. Tbh, it isn’t, like, the best Italian ever, but it’s close. The thing that really drew us in was the pizzas—you can order a half, ¾ or full meter pizza which can be split up with whatever toppings you want. I’m not saying three of us finished the full meter, but I’m also not not saying that.  

Gordon Ramsay Bar and Grill: Honestly, I’ve never watched his shows, but if they are half as good as the meal I had at his restaurant, I might have to start. Save yourself the stress over what to order and go with the Truffle Burger. Trust me. 


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This truffle season, why not treat yourself to a homemade Truffle Burger! Visit our stories for Gordon’s world-class recipe. ✨ @makersmark #TruffleSeason #TruffleMakers

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Quick Bites and Others

Ben’s Cookies: These cookies were THICC. Always ask for them fresh out of the oven. 


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Everything we love unconditionally about #benscookies in one clip! 😍 👉🏻 @maxime_lrnt

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Hummingbird Cupcakes: We got my friend’s birthday cake here, and it was terrific. Honestly, it’s similar to Magnolia Bakery in NYC but still worth visiting. They have a few locations around the city and are very accommodating with allergies. 


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Here’s our lovely Star of the Month, Maria-Chiara Carra, recently promoted to Front of House Team Leader at our Islington bakery! If you’d like to join our bakeries in any role, kitchen or front of house, send your CV to [email protected] 🌟 . . #mariachiara #maria #islington #bakery #baking #kitchen #frontofhouse #cupcakes #starofthemonth #career #jobs #londonbakery #londonjobs #newstart #apply #jobhunting #bakerylife #teamhummingbird

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Itsu: Itsu is a chain sushi place. It might not be Nobu quality, but the food is good and the service is always fast. 


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🎶 i’thai to say goodbye and I choke⁣⁣ Try to walk away and I stumble⁣⁣ Though i’thai to hide it, it’s clear⁣⁣ My world crumbles when you are not here⁣ 🎶⁣ ⁣⁣ Full disclosure, Macy Gray came up on shuffle yesterday whilst I was eating an i’thai udon for lunch, and now here we are. That’s my creative process. ⁣🤯⁣ ⁣⁣ I’ll take any excuse to rave about this little beauty though – creamy, crunchy, spicy…and it’s steamed, not fried! ♨️⁣ ⁣ Bow down to the enviable photography skills of the @foodtease_ gang 📸 ⁣ ⁣ #vegan #ithai #healthy #noodles #itsu

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Harrod’s Food Hall: These are fantastic food stands on the first floor of Harrods. It’s so worth a visit, and you can find literally every type of food there. 

Going Out

I’m not a huge club person, but London has an incredible nightlife with a ton of things for everyone. Clubs, bars, and pubs are all different things, with pubs being the most chill option. 

If you’re looking for a good night out and don’t want to spend a ton of money, check out Wicked Student Nights. It’s a website that shows you all of the deals in the city for students, and where you’ll have the best chance of meeting people your age and other students who are abroad. 

Barrio: I have a few friends who are local to London, so when I went out with them, they always tried to take us to places tourists tend to stay away from. Barrio was one of my favorite places we went out, and I definitely wish we went more often. It’s almost a frat party vibe and is the perfect mix between a bar and a club. However, it’s weirdly 21+, even though the legal drinking age is 18. Nevertheless, we were friendly to the bouncers and ended up not having any issues getting in as 20-year-olds. 


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Did you get to try Barrio Brixton’s special Chillirinha?! What were your thoughts? It was voted London’s Best Exotic Caipirinha by you in this year’s London Caipirinha Festival and of course, we’re absolutely thrilled! Thank you for your love, support and votes. 🤗🏅⁠ -⁠ -⁠ -⁠ #londonbars #londonvenues #cocktailbars #latinbars #brasiltolondon #londontobrasil #spirits #cocktails #mixology #drinkoftheday #whatsonlondon #caipirinhafest #london #brazil #cachaça #caipirinha #brasil #londoncocktails #londonbylondoners #cocktailsanddreams #drinkpretty #cocktailoclock #boozy #cocktailsarealwaysagoodidea #londonsbest #friendswhodrinktogetherstaytogether⁠ #LondonCaipirinhaFestival⁠

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Big ChillI wish I went here the first night, but I waited till my last week to visit. It’s in Shoreditch, which is the best area in the city to go out because it’s super easy to hop around from place to place. Like Barrio, it’s a mix between a bar and a club and has a really cute outdoor area for the rare nights it’s not negative 100 degrees! The drinks weren’t crazy expensive, and the atmosphere was (excuse the pun) very chill. 


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Feeling fragile? Along with drinks, our crew serves up the best hugs 💛

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ICE BAR London: Very hyped up, but way worth it. Really, we paid like, 20 pounds for one drink and an Insta pic. However, I’m totally comfortable saying that I did it for the ‘gram. This is a place you go with a small group of friends, and not somewhere you stay all night. You book your ticket in advance, and it includes a drink, a jacket and gloves, and forty-five minutes inside the bar.


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J chillen, hbu? #abroad

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The AlchemistOne of the coolest bars I went to, with locations scattered around London. If you know anyone who’s basic and ever visited London, I’m sure you saw 100 pics and Boomerangs of a smoking cocktail on their Snapchat and Instagram stories. All of their drinks have some science element to them and taste amazing. It isn’t the cheapest option, but truly worth every penny. 


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Join us for a masterclass in mixology at the Eat & Drink Festival at Olympia on the 10th and 11th of April! On Friday join us for a science lesson you won’t want to miss! Our Head of Bar Training & Development, Elliot will be talking all things molecular mixology 👨‍🔬⚗️ If you manage to bag a seat in the front two rows you’ll also nab a mini cocktail concoction ✨ On Saturday get stuck in yourself* with an hour-long cocktail masterclass where you’ll learn how to make some of our theatrical showstoppers! 🍹Bag your tickets via the link in our bio! *Ts&Cs apply – sample volunteers selected• • #Olympia #London #Hammersmith #eatanddrinkfestival #foodies #drinks #mixology #londoneats

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Old Street RecordsI’ll be honest, I never went here, but plenty of people I know did. It seems fun enough and similar to Big Chill. From what I’ve been told, it’s good vibes and pretty relaxed. 


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Join us for a night of live tunes from James Willard this evening, washed down with a cocktail or three 💥 . . . #shoreditch #eastlondon #londonders #hackney #hoxton #oldstreet #visitlondon #timeoutlondon #oldstrecords #oldstreetrecords #DMNDrinks #MyFavouriteCocktail #CocktailsUK #ttcocktails #CocktailPicsDaily #timeoutlondon #londonscocktails #foundlondon #londonder #igerslondon #londonblogger

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Slug and LettuceI said it to my friends, and I’ll say it here: scatter my ashes in Slug and Lettuce. There are dozens of locations throughout the U.K., and all of them are super different. Still, the drink menu is pretty much the same at all of them (order the Pornstar Spritz, it’s the best drink I’ve ever had). My favorite location is located right next to the Gherkin. It’s always filled with cute finance boys who just got out of work. 


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🤎✨NEW COCKTAILS✨🤎 ———————————————————— Sicilian Spritz joins the ‘Spritz family’!👯‍♀️ – – Our NEW Gordon’s Sicilian lemon gin🍋💚 – 🌟Enjoy 241 on all our cocktails from 4 to 10pm every day🌟#newdrinks #newcocktails #happyhour #cocktails

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Ballie Ballerson: Similar to ICE BAR, Ballie Ballerson is more the type of thing you do for the experience and isn’t the move for a real night out. It’s best with a small group of people as you have to book your tickets in advance. Ballie Ballerson is the type of place you go to for good pics and good company, not for a clubbing vibe. 


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Leap year babies! Time to make up for all those missed birthdays with free ball pits, a cocktail and a sweet cake on 29th February at Ballie Ballerson. Just give us a call to get booked in, phone number in bio 🥳✨ #leapyear (please note, ID is required to prove leap year birthday)

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O’Neill’s: This place is an American student magnet on Thursday nights. Seriously, almost everyone you see here is someone studying abroad or a creepy older guy. Go with a big group and pregame hard, and you’ll have an enjoyable night. If you go there earlier in the night, you can expect to see a live band playing classic rock. 

Tiger Tiger: If you’re looking for a place to peak, look no further. Tiger Tiger was one of the most fun places I experienced. It has several floors, an entertaining crowd, and is great for a proper night out. 


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🍾🥂🍾 Want to get yourself a VIP experience at Tiger Tiger? Tickets starts at £5 and we have drink packages for every budget. 💃🏻 Join us this weekend! Happy Hour is on from midday till 6pm. 🥳 🎟

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Piccadilly Institute: Similar to Tiger Tiger and O’Neill’s. I loved Piccadilly Institute and wish I had more chances to go. They frequently have deals for students and are always playing good music. 


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Join us for happy hour 🍻🥂 • • • • • #drinks #goodtime #friend #happyhour #friendship #dj #cocktails #goodtimes #memories #birthday #cheers #edm #bestfriend #bartender #mixology #cocktail #instafun #besties #nightlife #bff #club #bestfriends #rave #mixologist #crazy #chill #bf #booze #laughing #goodfriends

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Markets, Sights, and Activities

There are more things to do in and around London than there were days I had studying abroad, so I sadly didn’t get to visit every single attraction. Something I wish we’d done at the beginning of our time abroad was list everything we wanted to do so we could make real plans and fit in all of these sights. London has tons of museums, many of which are free or affordable for students, and are totally worth taking advantage of. 

Abbey Road: Home of the famous Beatles album cover picture, f*cking obviously. If you’re super committed to taking the perfect Instagram pic there, you better get there as early as possible because it’s just a normal crosswalk and is located at a pretty busy intersection. There is also a store dedicated to the record label and The Beatles that is super cute. 

Big Ben: The entire thing is under construction until next year, so there’s scaffolding everywhere, but I couldn’t just not mention Big Ben.


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@MrLondon serving up some #London 2017 nostalgia … some parts of London are forever blowing bubbles… 😍 // #thisislondon #bigben #elizabethtower #westminster #coyi #housesofparliament

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Borough Market: Okay, this was the BEST food market I went to in London. When my mom visited me, we got spiked cider and walked around the market for a little bit. It’s excellent for artisan food shopping (if that’s your thing) and even better for getting a few things to split for lunch. Honestly, some of the best food I had abroad was in Borough Market. 


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In @kitchenstories_official new travelling web series ‘To Market We Go’, they visit some of Europe’s very best markets to show you how to find, cook, and enjoy the very best produce back in your own kitchen. In this episode, chef turned tour guide @rocketandsquash journeys through the Market to uncover some of the not-so-hidden gems it has to offer. Head to our Stories to watch the full video now 🍴. #boroughmarket #ourboroughmarket #producemarket #foodmarket

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British Museum: The British Museum is a super cool place to visit. They house the Rosetta Stone, which, if you’re like me (aka a huge nerd), is a pretty big deal. 


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The Enlightenment Gallery – photographed here by @solo_irenee – is the oldest space in the Museum, and once housed King George III’s Library. Share your photos of the Museum with us by tagging the location 📍🏛📸 #BritishMuseum #London #photo #UK #museum #📸

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Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard: They don’t do the Changing of the Guard every day, and it’s honestly kind of confusing if you aren’t able to see the whole thing. Make sure you check the dates and get there early enough to get the right spot. If you aren’t able to see the Changing of the Guard for whatever reason, the palace is still really cool to look at. 


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Blossom is springing up all over Britain now that spring has finally sprung!🌸🌺This 📷 from @snowflakesfairy captures the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral in London, with that oh-so-lovely cherry blossom in the foreground . . #buckinghampalaceshop #StPaulsCathedral #londonsun

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Camden Market: Camden Market is one of my favorite places to go in London. There is an art market and a dozen or so food stalls that are all, like, out of this world. As the Taylor Swift song suggests, Camden is a really cool place to walk around and explore. 


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You can finally pick up your #blackroses from our #darkromance pop up from today onwards! Pick up a stem or bouquet from 12pm onwards 🖤🖤🖤 #camdenmarket #valentines #valentinesday #roses #blackbouquet #perfectgift #stablesmarket #camdenlockmarket #northyard

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Churchill War RoomsI can’t say enough about this. The Churchill War Rooms are tunnels and rooms underneath Westminster that protected Winston Churchill and his team while they strategized during the Second World War. It was easily the best thing I did in London, and I may or may not have been so moved by the museum inside that I cried a little. This is a major must-visit. Seriously, you have to go.  

Covent GardenA little bougie, but super fun to visit. There’s a ton of small, cute restaurants and an art market surrounded by high-end stores. It’s a great place for people watching and walking around. 


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Sparking joy and spreading love, that is what Le Pink Figaro is all about. The love bug was given a Valentine’s Day makeover and is sharing the love this weekend. Have you spotted Le Pink Figaro in Covent Garden? #CoventGarden #LePinkFigaro #PrettyCityLondon #VisitLondon #ThisisLondon

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Football Games: I’m not a huge sports girl, but, when in London, right? There are a ton of Football Clubs (teams) in the area, and while one of my frat guy friends passionately told me which team to root for, I had no idea what he was saying. Anyway, if you want the authentic British experience, it is definitely worth attending a game. 

Hampton Court: While not quite as far as Stonehenge, Hampton Court is still pretty far from the city. I recommend carving out a little more than half a day to tour this stunning palace and the gardens. Since most of the palace and the coolest things to see are outside, I’d recommend doing this in warmer weather. 


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On 25 February 1723, Christopher Wren died. He was one of the most distinguished and popular architects of the 17th century, and he was appointed Surveyor of the Royal Works in 1669. Fountain Court at Hampton Court Palace was designed by Wren and building began in 1700. It was part of an ambitious rebuilding project of the palace commissioned by William and Mary, creating a fashionable baroque palace to replace large parts of the Tudor building. His gravestone inscription reads “If you seek his memorial, look around you.” Read on about the building of Hampton Court Palace – follow the link in our bio . . . #history #baroque #baroquearchitecture #architecture #christopherwren #otd #onthisday #thisdayinhistory

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Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum: If you’re abroad in the winter, going ice skating is totally worth it. Honestly, there are a ton of places to ice skate, including a really gorgeous rooftop bar. 


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Lookin back on #abroad like (The boomerang took me 8 tries at least)

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London Bridge: It’s right above the Borough market, and the coolest thing about it was the view you get of Tower Bridge. Nonetheless, the cool history makes it worth a visit. 

London Eye: The London Eye offers an incredible view of the city (duh). As someone who is terrified of heights, I can confirm it’s not as scary as I thought it would be!


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Sundays are for relaxing, eating…oh and being 135m in the air 👏 #EyeLoveLondon 📸: @garancejuliette

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Museum of London: The Museum of London takes you through decades of London’s history and has incredible exhibits featuring musicians and other interesting Londoners. It’s no Lady Gaga’s Meat Dress, but it’s still awesome. 


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We’re so excited to have reached a new and important milestone on our #NewMuseumforLondon journey: the planning application is IN. Find out more about our plans via the link in our bio. 📸: Atelier78 . . . . . . #NewMuseum #museum #museumoflondon #planningapplication #cityoflondon #movingamuseum #westsmithfield #farringdon #london #news

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Parent Trap House: My mom and I were really excited to go to the Parent Trap house for obvious reasons. However, it turned out to be a bit of a letdown. Someone actually lives there, so it’s not like you can tour the inside or even get that close to the house without being super awkward. While I recommend going if you love the movie and have the time, it isn’t a must-see. 

Portobello Market: This market is in Notting Hill, and honestly has the best crêpes ever. There are tons of food and art booths, and it’s a great place to walk around for a while. 


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@MrLondon wandering down #PortobelloRoad… another weekend, another storm. 🤷🏻‍♂️☔️ Heading home for pancakes with @alice.sampo 🥞 Could be worse…! 😜 __________________________________________ #thisislondon #london #nottinghill #portobello

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St. James Park: Right near Buckingham palace, this park is super pretty to walk around when you visit the palace or are in the area. 


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There’s a little slice of Japan’s famous cherry blossom in St James’s Park at the moment. The blossom is treasured because it’s so beautiful but so fleeting. 🌸 📸: @wayoutwest2015 . #park #parklife #london #visitlondon #lovelondon #thisislondon #londonlife #igers_london #igersengland #nature #mothernature #naturephotography #naturelovers #instagood #beautiful #photooftheday #ukpotd #gloriousbritain #hanami #cherryblossom #sakura

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Stonehenge: Ok, full disclosure, I didn’t make it to Stonehenge, and that might be my biggest regret of abroad. It’s super far from London, but I genuinely think the trip would have been worth it.


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Cabin fever setting in this half-term? We’ve got lots of family fun with Moon Mayhem, a fast-paced drop-in show exploring the moon and its connection with Stonehenge. And look at all that space and fresh air! Come see us ☺️

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Tower of LondonThis is where the Crown Jewels are. The line is always super long, but it’s worth the wait, and it moves really fast. 


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A stunning rainbow above the #TowerOfLondon is our favourite #PalacePhoto this week 🌈 Thanks to @justadamtalk on Instagram for tagging this picture 💛💙💚💜 . . . #photooftheweek #photography #palacephotos #london #londonphotography #rainbow

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West End: Seeing a show on the West End is a must. The tickets are waaay cheaper than Broadway, and the shows are just as good, if not better. If you go on a Wednesday afternoon, you can stop by a ticket office to find really cheap tickets. 


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King George said we’ll be back. He was right. (Get it? Bc I’m abroad in England? Haha)

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Westminster Abbey: This historical church is totally stunning. A trip to London isn’t complete without a visit. Seriously, no words can do it justice. 


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If you’d like to explore the Abbey after dark, we offer reduced rate entry on Wednesday evenings Take a self-led tour and see highlights including the Coronation Chair, Poets’ Corner and Grave of the Unknown Warrior Visit our website for more details – link in bio #Museum30 #AfterDark #WednesdayLates

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Working Out

As I mentioned above, living in London has a few similarities to living in Manhattan, and many of the workout class options are similar (if not the same) as what we have in the states. 

SoulCycleI don’t really think this needs an explanation. My friends usually went to classes at the Mayfair location, but there is a Soul in Notting Hill. 

Barry’s Boot CampSimilar to SoulCycle, this really doesn’t need an explanation. My understanding is that Barry’s is a HIIT-style workout where you run on the treadmill and then lift weights. There are a few Barry’s locations in London, and I’ve never been to a single one, but I have friends who are obsessed with it.

KoBox: KoBox is the hardest workout I’ve ever done. If you are familiar with Rumble boxing, it’s pretty similar. You’ll spend your class split between bodyweight workout and hitting the bag. I frequently go to more traditional boxing classes at home, and while this isn’t what I was used to, it is my new favorite. There are a few locations throughout London, but my favorite studios are Mayfair and City. 


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⁣ Our very own @fitnesswith_mk working out and having fun in the brand new spanking gym #13! ⁣ ⁣ If you haven’t checked out the new gym yet, what are you waiting for? ⁣ ⁣ #13⁣ #BoxingJustNotAsYouKnowIt⁣ #FightClubMeetsNightclub

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Studio Lagree: Again, this studio has locations scattered throughout  London. It offers a traditional mega-former workout, so if you’ve hopped on the SLT bandwagon, this is your best bet at finding something comparable when traveling in the U.K. 


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Look in the mirror, that’s your competition. It’s YOU vs YOU. Don’t compare to others only try to better yourself and improve for yourself. This way you’re going to see the biggest progress 👏

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Fitness Clubs: This is what gyms are called in the U.K. I recommend looking into joining whatever your Uni has to offer, since they tend to have the best student rates. However, although my roommates and I all joined our Uni fitness club, it was really far from our flat, so we rarely used it. Distance is essential to consider if you’re going to sign up for a gym. 

London is enormous, and there’s no way to experience everything the city has to offer in one semester. It can be hard to truly take advantage of everything in the city and still maximize your weekend trips. Like I said before, studying abroad in London is really the best of both worlds. You get close enough to a real ~European~ abroad experience, without having to deal with language barriers or people who like, really dislike Americans. 

Honestly, and I know it’s so obnoxious to say, but abroad did change me, and I wouldn’t trade a second of my time here for the world. 

Pip pip, cheerio, mates! 

Images: Aron Van de Pol / Unsplash, Santore Restaurant, Harrods, Giphy (3)

The Types Of People Who Get Back From Studying Abroad

The spring semester is full of exciting experiences, like spring break and the return of #dartyszn. It’s also full of some pretty dreadful things: like listening to someone begin every sentence with, “last semester, when I lived—sorry, studied abroad—in Par-ee…” While it’s definitely great to see all of your friends who were gone the last semester, hearing about how everything is “just sooooo much better abroad” over and over again gets pretty old pretty f*cking fast. Not to worry, I’m here to salvage your relationships with some tips for dealing with your friends who can’t help but use every breath to remind you they studied abroad in the fall.

The “Bilingual” B*tch

People who study abroad looove to act like they’re suddenly fluent in another language after just a couple of months. Even the ones who went to London. Like, sure, I may not have a clue what a crumpet is (it has something to do with tea, right?) but I’m 100% positive it’s in the Oxford English dictionary—emphasis on English, so chill out, Jessica. All you’ve got to do when someone starts slipping Spanish, Italian, or French words into the conversation is tell them that you must have taken the same language course: reading a restaurant menu. More power to you if you’re able to hold an elementary conversation in another language, but let’s be real—the only words most people learn while they’re abroad are the names of the food and drinks from that country.

The Self-Proclaimed Foodie

Look, I get it. Food that isn’t from America is “life-changing.” If I could have freshly baked bread and burrata for literally every meal, I would. But unfortunately, that’s not how it works in college dining halls, where you can only hope that your food is made with some ingredients that could legally be classified as food, and not “eggs” that came from a bag. Next time your friend starts going on and on about how the food here just doesn’t compare, say “listen, I f*cking believe you. But let’s make the most of this mystery meat cardboard pizza, unless you actually have some of that mind-blowing food you keep talking about to eat instead.” As long as you keep throwing their mediocre food account on Insta some likes, they’ll get over any initial hurt feelings.

The Cultured One

Obviously, traveling is a great way to immerse yourself in other cultures. There are a sh*t ton of museums and monuments and to visit, and the fact that you’re in a different part of the world altogether is a learning experience. Get ready to listen to your friends talk about how ~cultured~ they’ve become since living abroad. How they went to different museums every week, and were always trying new foods, and reading new books, and speaking to locals in their native tongue. Ask them if they’ve stepped foot in a museum since getting home, or watched anything more foreign than the British version of The Office, and they’ll be forced to come to terms with the fact that they haven’t really changed as much as they’re putting on.

The One With A Story For Everything


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you blacked out last night and woke up with your ex? lol bitch i blacked out and woke up in jail

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Apparently, even the smallest thing can remind someone of a never-ending story about their time abroad. You can’t mention traffic, going to the grocery store, or even f*cking breathe without them going, “OMG that reminded me of when I was in Florence…”  *cue eye roll.* Be sure to follow up every study abroad story with an equally as uneventful story of your own to show them that doing something as boring as washing your hands does not suddenly become interesting just because it happened in a different country. I physically couldn’t care less about how you accidentally used the wrong tense of a word while ordering breakfast one time. I do that all the time in English, and you don’t see me bragging about it.

The One In A Long-Distance Relationship

Chances are at least one of your friends is going to come back with some ridiculous whirlwind international romance they primarily pursued in an effort to live out their Lizzie McGuire Movie fantasy. Now that they’re back in “the States,” they’ll love regaling anyone within earshot with the details of their love story and the hardship that comes with FaceTiming across time zones. Give me a break. You can probably get them to shut up about it (and hopefully just end the whole thing) by asking if their newfound soulmate has any plans to be in the country in the next 6-12 months. Once they realize they have a better chance of making tuition money by selling feet pics than they do of over seeing Paolo again, they’ll come to their senses.

Honestly, your friends are just excited to share their new experiences with you (and also convince you that they definitely never felt any FOMO while they were gone. No, not even once). Give them a week or two to tell as many stories as they want (even if you’ve heard the same one a million f*cking times), and indulge them by asking questions to help get it out of their system. Then you can start giving them sh*t after a few weeks if they’re still talking about how different the water tasted. They’ll get the point.

Images: Atikh Bana / Unsplash

What I Wish I Knew Before Packing For Study Abroad

Whoever came up with the idea of studying abroad was a f*cking genius. Seriously, there are endless benefits to a semester in a foreign country. You get to take dope Insta pics, put a minimal amount of effort into classes, travel around with your friends, and like, grow as a person and experience a new culture or whatever, I guess…and then talk about it to anyone in a five-mile radius for the next decade.

The hardest thing about studying abroad is packing for it. Naturally, I asked every person I know that has ever gone abroad for a packing list. They all told me to pack light, and since I really didn’t like that advice, I decided it didn’t apply to me.


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I’ve had to google “what time is it in toronto” multiple times today just to post this at a decent hour. #whereami #carmensandiego #pizzaexpress

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I’ve always been prone to overpacking, but this time I went tooootally overboard. I thought I was cheating the system with Pinterest packing hacks, space bags, and carry-ons. I was literally so confident in my packing that I didn’t even weigh my bags before going to the airport. As I’m sure you can guess, I tragically overestimated my skills and let me just tell you, if you’re ever thinking of blindly packing for a long trip without weighing your bags first…DON’T.

When I rolled up to JFK to check into my flight, I was informed that one of my bags was thirty pounds overweight. I’m not even being dramatic. Literally. Thirty. F*cking. Pounds. 

Soooo, if you don’t want to have to pay an additional $200 just to get your bags on the plane, I suggest you follow my advice. 

1. Use Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are perfect for keeping track of what you pack and staying organized. Beyond that, when you get to your temporary home, you’ll quickly realize that you will have about as much space for storage as you did to pack. Packing cubes are perfect for keeping your sh*t organized, providing free storage, and even better for maximizing the small amount of space you’ll have for weekend trips. 

2. Space Bags DO NOT Work

First of all, space bags are kind of a scam. I mean, they’re great for storing all of the sorority shirts you’ll never wear, but they’re rarely useful for packing. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, space bags are vacuum-sealed bags meant to decrease the amount of space your clothes take up. By using space bags, I visually tricked myself into thinking I was packing less than I was, causing my suitcase to weigh more than a fifth-grader. 

3. Check The Size Of Your Carry-On

The scariest thing about October is being haunted by study abroad kids at Octoberfest who post on insta with the caption “Prost” or “omg I still don’t like beer.” Like I get it Becky wear your dirndl and chug a stein and talk about how study abroad changed your life

— zuzu (@khan_zuzu) October 7, 2019

If you’re smart, you’ll bring a rolling carry-on with you as extra packing space (and as your weekend trip bag). Sadly, the same black carry-on that your dad has been using every business trip for the last twenty years probably won’t cut it. If you don’t want to pay an additional fee, wait for checked baggage, and run the risk of a crappy budget airline losing your bag, it’s worth investing in a new one ahead of time. I recommend looking for ones with the word “continental” in the bag title/description. 

4. Buy A Converter…Or Three 

Because I’m like, super good at planning ahead, I figured that I’d be able to buy a converter once I got abroad. Obviously (this seems to be a reoccurring theme) my logic was flawed. It’s not like British people are buying converters that make it possible to plug in things from the US, so I wasn’t able to just go to a corner store and get a US to UK converter. Amazon has great ones that allow you to plug in multiple things at a time and work with several different outlet types. Highly recommend. 

Pro Tip: If you have a Mac, buy Apple-made converters for your charger. I have the worst luck, and my computer reacted really poorly to the change in voltage, causing the battery to break and forcing me to find an Apple store and go weeks without a functioning laptop.

5. Bring More Than One Portable Charger 

When you spend all day obsessively checking to see who’s watched your ~super cultured~ Insta story of really ~authentic~ Italian gelato, your phone battery dies fast. It’ll die even quicker when you’re taking the Euro Rail to Amsterdam. Being in a foreign country with no phone is a straight-up bad idea, especially when you don’t speak the language. Although it can be a “learning experience” to be disconnected for the day, you don’t want to find yourself in a bad situation where you’re unable to contact someone. Plan ahead, please.    

6. Plan Your Budget Ahead Of Time

me: ya of course i’ll pay a $8 delivery fee

also me: 35¢ for potato? no no no no no no no no

— jonny sun (@jonnysun) January 8, 2017

Everyone’s financial situation is different, and if your parents are funding your abroad experience, you’re one lucky betch. However, many people will find themselves struggling to stay to a strict budget when they study abroad. Personally, I had a really hard time managing my money when I first got abroad. What can I say—covers for clubs are super expensive! 

Definitely have an explicit conversation with your parents (or whoever may be contributing to your experience) about who is paying for what.

7. Jackets Will Be Your Best Friend

One word: layering. As if we weren’t already in a climate crisis, the biggest issue I’ve had abroad is that it’s cold outside, hot in your classroom, and straight-up hellish on public transportation. Now, this obviously mainly applies for those of us studying in famously cold or rainy places, like the UK, or those going abroad during the autumn and winter months. I’m a big fan of the thick jacket, cute sweater, and tank combos for those mid-autumn days where you’ll experience four seasons in 45 minutes. 

8. You Don’t Need Stilettos

Heels are impractical, uncomfortable, and a total waste of space. This was the one piece of advice I followed, mostly because my mom took my heels out of my bag before I left, but it still counts. Instead, you should pack lots of cute sneakers, a few pairs of booties that you can walk around in, and one pair of heeled booties for going out. The one exception I’ve heard to this rule is if you’re studying in Paris. Some of the clubs there are bougie as f*ck strict with dress code, so you will need to dress to impress.

Pro tip: Bring cheap flip flops as shower shoes and/or to wear around the apartment, for all you know wherever you end up living could be more disgusting than your freshman dorm’s communal bathroom.

9. Pack Lots Of Sweaters And Tops

You can wear the same pair of jeans (or leggings) a million times without anyone noticing (and before they get that “it’s time to wash me” sag in them), but the same doesn’t go for tops. Students in Europe somehow haven’t gotten on the wearing-leggings-to-class bandwagon, so plan on dressing chic to class. Worst case scenario, you’ll probably be doing a lot of shopping, so you can always stock up once you’ve arrived.

10. It *Is* Possible to Have Too Many Black Crop Tops 


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Today I wore a white crop top… you know what that is? Growth.

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When you’re packing, you’ll probably come across the impossible dilemma: limited space and unlimited crop tops. Trust me, I get it. I also know the majority of your nights abroad will be spent going out. However, black crop tops are reusable! Hopefully, your friends will be cool and like to share, so you’ll have even more options. Don’t overpack clothes you’d wear to a frat, they’ll make you look trashy in the eyes of chic Europeans. Above all else, leave your frat shoes behind.

11. Leave Your Hot Tools At Home

Listen, more than anyone, I understand the deep relationship a girl has to her heat-styling tools. I never go anywhere without at least my flatiron. But, trust me on this one—do not pack any expensive hot tools. Due to the weird-ass voltage conversion, my blowdryer literally melted on day one, ending the longest relationship I’ve ever had. Instead of bringing your favorite products (and risking ruining them), buy cheap ones there. 

12. Deal With Prescriptions Ahead Of Time 

It can be really hard to get the prescription meds you need for three months at a time. One of my friends ended up having a screaming match with her insurance company, and it took mine like, a few weeks to figure out how to get me three months worth of my prescription at once. Make sure you leave plenty of time for anything that could potentially go wrong with this process.

Pro tip: Getting stuff like Dayquil and Sudafed is little different in Europe. Bring the basics just in case you can’t get meds when you inevitably come down with a cold. 

13. Bring Your Own Tampons

Every. Single. Time. I have tried to buy tampons, they’ve ended up not having applicators. I know it’s better for the environment, but this is an important lesson. You should definitely bring your own supply unless you want to end up standing in a public bathroom, staring at an applicator-less tampon like it’s from Mars.

14. Laundry Bags Aren’t Just for Dorm Rooms 

Unless you’re gross and want to keep your clothes on the floor of whatever dorm/apartment you’re living in, bring one of those inexpensive cloth laundry bags with you. It’s also not a given that your living space will come with a washer, and it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll have a dryer. Bringing a laundry bag both helps you keep track of your dirty clothes and will be a lifesaver if you need to transport them to a laundromat. Do your research and plan accordingly.  

I’ve only been abroad for six weeks, so it’s not like I’m a total pro, but I learned the hard way that any advice is worth considering. It’s worth saying, though, that every city is different. I’m spending the semester in London living my best Caroline Calloway life, and I have friends in Paris, Rome, and Madrid. Like, all of us needed to bring different things, but the basics are pretty much the same. Yeah, packing sucks, but the rest of abroad is pretty lit. Once you get past the fact that you have to actually look cute most days and start exploring your new city, it’s guaranteed that abroad will be the transformative experience that everyone says it is.

Images: Ross Sneddon / Unsplash; sarafcarter, lexniko / Instagram; jonnysun / Twitter