I suppose I should start from the beginning because I’m sure you’re all curious about how all this started. I’m sorry this blog will mostly be boring… but it will be good while I remember for the incoming sophomores
I begin in Knoxville, TN January 3rd, 2012.
My version: Throw everything in until 48 lbs. is in one bag. (You know how airport scales are)
- Jeans. I have 3 pairs, and I’m already sick of them, but they’ll do.
- Shirts: I brought 1 t-shirt, 1 over-sized shirt, 2 nice shirts, 2 of my favorite shirts
- Undershirts: 2 white, 1 black, 1 green
- Bras: 3, 2 white, 1 strapless
- Underwear: Lots.
- Tights/Leggings: Lots
- PJs: 2 pants/shirts
- Socks: Fuzzy and one or two dress pairs
- Shoes: 1 pair tennis shoes, 1 pair nice, 1 pair boots, 1 pair flip-flops, 1 pair sandals
- Stuff: Bathroom (shampoo/conditioner/soap/toothbrush/toothpaste/hygiene/q-tips/kleenex/hairbrush/lotion/face cleanser/bobby pins/3 headbands/fingernail polish/(remover if you use it)/nail clippers (i forgot these)/hand sanitizer/makeup)
- Stuff: Other: perfume (i carried this, so less than 3 oz), all medicine (enough for 3-4 months), sticky notes, notebook, computer, pencils, pens, permanent marker, highlighter,white-out,computer cord, phone cord, adapter, converter (if your stuff needs to be converted), envelopes, picture frame, pillow case, stuffed animal :), makeup bag, alkaseltzer (spell) night/day, two tubes of chapstick, real lotion, cash
- Jackets: 2 pea-coats, 1 small jacket, 1 north face
- Internship attire: 1 suit (I brought a skirt/jacket), 2 skirts (khaki and some other kind of fabric that’s supposed to be warm), 1 sweater, 2 dresses (I wore one already to the play!), 2 pairs of pants
- Scarves: 2 (wish I had more!)
- Some snacks
- water bottle with a filter (so useful!)
- Lock for my suitcases TSA approved
- Sweatshirt (Wish I had brought!)
- Yoga pants (” “)
- Camera and rechargeable batteries (which of course don’t work… bring real ones)
So that’s most everything I brought, I plan on ditching shampoo/conditioner/etc. here, so I will have some extra room. I also plan on getting a few more clothes while I’m out here, but I’m waiting to see what major trips I want to make before I budget out that money.
Check out your appliances (hair dryers/computer/phone charger) somewhere on there should say 110-240 V which means you can use it here. If it doesn’t say that, leave it. You could buy a transformer which will convert the 110/120 to 220/240 but if it’s important to you, leave it.
When I got to customs, I had to show my letter, which we didn’t have but luckily had Lane there to help us out (SO IMPORTANT), visa, and passport. The only question he asked was what I was going to do, but the guy is pretty intimidating, but otherwise whatever. I’m in London!
Things I bought here:
- hairdryer £14.99 (split 3 ways so £5 each)
- Straightener (hand-me-down)
- bath mat
- hand towel
- another adapter (the ones here are like 5 pounds and much more simple/nice than american because they aren’t so bulky)
- phone 5 pence a minute to call home (duh!) and we all got the same kind for £12. I also use my iphone to imessage some people even though the internet is awful…
- toilet paper
- kitchen towels
- FOOD (budget at least £3-£5 a meal and make your own.)
Things to know about your dorm:
We get a small chest of drawers, lamp, two pillows, set of sheets and comforter, tall wardrobe with a lockbox (BRING A LOCK), and two towels (which are nice enough)
There is a tall mirror in our room and of course a window.
The bed is a twin, but it’s really nice! I sleep like a baby in it. Room sizes are comparable, if not a little larger than dorms, and I share a bathroom with 3 girls.
The showers are ok, warm enough sometimes scalding. The bathrooms are hideously small, but you get over it, and the water pressure is kind of weird, but not shabby.
The kitchens have pretty much everything you need (of course except the toaster). And there’s a pretty nice tv.
There is a cleaning service that comes once a week and will clean our apartment and strip/replace our sheets.
I have everything I need except maybe better internet service and enough sleep, but you have more fun than anything.
The First Day:
Getting to the flat was pretty nice because we got to pass a lot of countryside, and there’s nothing like seeing rolling hills of deep green grass with animals roaming around. I was convinced there was at least a castle or two somewhere on the horizon, but I was told there were none coming from Gatwick. I here Heathrow is supposed to be close to where the queen has a castle or something. Anyway, I took a few pictures of quaint little cottages and a few buildings coming in. We had our welcome orientation and then I had to lug up one of my bags 4 stairs (luckily I had flown into gatwick where there was a bus to pick a lot of us up. We mostly all flew over together. Speaking of: I’ll write a blog later on how to book your flight/visa disgustingness/and other preparation things…
My flatmates aren’t from GLS or even from the political science group. They were FSU interns… whatever. Two of the flats were on the other side of the building, you would think they could have at least put us on the same side and rearranged some. I’m still miffed about it, but they’re ok. Just not up for us I guess.
Anyway, as soon as I got all my stuff in my room, I went hunting for an AMEX (american express kiosk) because they only charge a conversion fee with no commission. I withdrew my budgeted amount for the month and put most of it in my safe. Don’t worry about using your credit cards because most places don’t like them. I always carry cash instead. By the way, the AMEX is in Piccadilly Circus, about a 5-10 minute walk if you can know where you’re going. Most everyone else used Barclays which is right down the street.
My budget is one I’ve set for myself, but for starters, I’ve spent £150 in the first week I’ve been here. And that’s only buying necessities. It seems pretty average for everyone else (but I only checked with one person so I could be wrong). Plan for it. Tuition ended up being around $5600 after scholarships (CIE and honors and university). So technically I’ve already spent 5900+450(visa)+50(travel to biometrics)+25(isic card)+200(travel to london–we used miles) ~= $6625 not counting books, which I didn’t buy. TIP #2 Rent your books if you really want them, you can send them back within 30-60 days (aka less than 4 weeks of class) or check them out at the library.
Of course the first night we went out to eat and to get our phones, we all got this Alcatel for like 2.95 with a 10 pound top up, but what we should have done was get our isic card to send an international sim card for free with a 10 pound top up. Now we either have to pay roaming charges going out of the country or buy another sim card. TIP for you! Also, I went to find out if any of the previous GLSers books had survived the year and found two of them on hand for stats. I don’t know if I’ll buy it yet or not. I had planned on it, but the company I had bought it from refunded me the money. SO IDK I guess I won’t learn…. haha……
So far we haven’t really needed the book, just our computers.
Alright, that’s all the boring stuff for now. Tomorrow I’ll do one on the flight/visa stuff and then we can move on to actually blogging and not just informing!
Love you all!