Alright friends, here’s the thing: Moving away from home (and to another country) is massively overwhelming, but take a deep breath, drink lots of tea, and you’ll be fine.
Or at least that’s what I’ve found out over the last couple of months.
To prep for my upcoming move to London (from sunny Singapore), I took a month off work to pack, finish up my pre-study modules, work on my CV and meet up with family, friends and loved ones. It’s been 5 years since I graduated university, and right now, just the thought of going back to school is prompting late-night phone calls to girlfriends and an extremely high intake of ice-cream — In other words, I’m stressed out.
Okay fine. Now that it’s 5 days to the big move (and long haul flight), I’m less stressed out and really much more psyched to be starting out on a brand new journey.
Being able to live for a year in London and study at one of the top universities in the world is really too amazing to give up, so I’ve decided to bite the bullet and just go for it.
Before you freak out and panic – don’t. There are a few simple things you can do to make this prep time (read: A month before term time) much easier.
Kristie’s top five tips for a fuss-free move
- Start your prep work early. If you’re like me and come from a non-business background (I have a BA Hons in History and Pol Sci and worked in Corporate Relations in the healthcare industry), you might also have the same look of sheer panic when you realize you’ll have to do both math and accounting before the first day of class. Not having a basis in business or an affinity with numbers is a common condition for arts graduates, so don’t worry, you’re not alone. Start your prep work early. The tutors are helpful, approachable and extremely prompt in replying to queries, so do make it a point to ask any/all the questions you have. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re not clear on a point, chances are someone else isn’t as well. Do everyone a favour and speak up! (Also, if you would like a back to basic on Accounting 101, I found The Accounting Game by Darrell Mullis and Judith Orloff really helpful!)
- Sort out your housing situation. I really hope you were able to lock in a place a couple of months before term time, but if you haven’t don’t worry! London has a ton of options, both in private student halls and also student accommodation. On top of the facilities and prices, I think it would be helpful to consider the time it’ll take to travel from your potential new home to class – I was obsessively on google maps for a good two weeks before deciding on a place to stay. I locked in a (hopefully) nice place in Hammersmith, located 3 mins from the tube station. From there it takes me 15 mins to get to South Kensington, and a five-minute walk to the Business School. Hopefully, on a good day, it’ll take me under half an hour to get to class.
- You’re not going to be able to bring everything – don’t try. When I was 19 years old, I moved from Singapore to Australia to begin my Bachelor’s education. Then, I packed three suitcases filled with everything from sheets, to towels, to winter wear, to snacks and stationery. I kid you not, the guy at customs had his mouth wide open when my bags went through the luggage scanner. Thanks to advice from my London friends (cheers, pals), I will not look as ridiculous this time. Pack the necessities for two weeks, some knick-knacks from home, your winter wear (especially if you have a good winter jacket already) and then embrace the shopping culture for everything else. Remember you’re moving to London, not Cambodia, and there’s no need to pack everything but the kitchen sink.
- The exception to the above is – always pack anything you need pertaining to skin care or medication. Go to your doctors and whatever prescription you need for at least two weeks as a safety net, just in case. It’s always good to be prepared. Take note of whatever medication, or skin care products you use. You will likely be able to find them at a local drugstore, but it’ll be easier if you know what you need.
- Bring some cash with you. Get out some money and get it exchanged for some pounds before you fly out to London. You’ll need cash on arrival – for your Oyster card, or the taxi, or even just that triple shot venti caramel macchiato to combat the sleepies after a long haul flight. The last thing you want upon arrival is to stare wistfully at coffee and realizing you’ll have to navigate an ATM first before getting your hands on that brew of black gold…
That said, if there were only five things to do before flying, I’d be much more relaxed than I am now. I’ve found that taking one step at a time and enjoying things as they come helps. Enjoy the pre-study refresher courses, make use of the Facebook group the administrators have started to get to know your course mates (cheers!) and start making a list of all the things you want to experience in the UK (and Europe). It’s going to be an adventure, and I for one can’t wait to get started.
See you on the flip side,
Kristie will be studying our MSc International Health Management programme starting in October 2016.