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A little while ago, we interviewed a number of students to find out what they really thought of the halls they had called home during first year. We thought they were so helpful we just had to put them all together in one handy blog post.
“The best thing about living in intercollegiate halls is the time you spend with people from other unis as it gives you the best of both worlds. However, you may sometimes feel cut off from LSE life but this can be avoided if you put yourself out there to make friends during your time on campus.
The nightlife was great and there was a real attempt to create a buzzing community vibe with trips to UoL events, the intercollegiate sports day and plenty of nights out. Before you move to halls make sure you focus on taking the essentials and be prepared to buy a few things in London that you hadn’t thought of previously.”
Jamie, a second year Government student.
“I loved meeting people and living on my corridor. You could just go to your friend’s room and knock whenever you wanted. The games room was a great place to hang out and the committee organised great fresher events with open bars. The social life was the best feature of the hall. Everyone loves to have a good time and we have a few regular nights out a week. The location was great and it was such a nice walk to School. There were some maintenance issues including no hot water at some moments and you’ll need to take some home comforts with you for your room. Sharing kitchens can be tricky and sometimes food will get stolen so just get ready for student life!
When packing I would recommend a door wedge, food and drink to break the ice, and nice duvet covers and cushions to make it feel like a home from home.
The food is alright - the salad bar provides a good alternative and there are three options for dinner which means plenty of choice. And the cake is great! They give huge portions but some meals can lack flavour and options are quite different from what you may get at home.
The one tip I would give is to get the freshers band early before term starts! If you don’t then it will make integrating a lot harder – in the week you want to focus on making friends instead of queuing up to get one of the last few. And make the most of freshers because once the work starts you’ll find yourself hiding in your room a lot more!”
Beth, a second year International Relations student.
“The best thing about Bankside in my opinion was the size of the halls. The number of undergrads (600) and postgrads (200) studying there means you get a fantastic diversity and variety of people, which allows for a really vibrant community to develop. One of my greatest fears before coming to uni was that I wouldn’t be able to find friends but at Bankside, the size of the halls means you’re that much more likely to find people who you’ll get along with. The bar is another great aspects of the halls, and acts as Bankside’s social hub. Finally, Bankside has an unbelievable location just off the Southbank, which means you’re never far away from all of the amazing things London has to offer.
Make sure you pack a kettle! It can be a real hassle walking down to the communal kitchen every time you need a hot drink, so I found my most prised possession this year was a kettle, which could be a life saver on a hungover morning when all I needed was a coffee!
I would also add that the nightlife around Bankside is really good. Within walking distance you can find Ministry of Sound which is one of London’s best clubs, and because of Bankside’s central location, transport to all of the other major student clubs in London like XOYO, Fabric and LSE’s infamous Wednesday night venue Zoo bar is very easy.
The food in Bankside was pretty good. There are three option to choose from at dinner which include a meat, fish and a vegetarian option (along with Halal and Kosher specials) and the staff make a real effort to vary the menu each week. As a vegetarian, my choice was always a bit more restricted, but I never had a problem with Bankside dinners. The best thing about Bankside dinners is the chance to get together and socialise as a group at the end of the day!
Finally, the one thing I’d say to a Fresher would be not to worry. LSE and living in London can seem like a daunting prospect, but the reality is that you’ll settle in to life here really easily. The staff and support networks available to students at LSE are fantastic, and it means that any problems you might have are quickly resolved. London is an amazing place to live, with so much to see and do and so my main piece of advice would be to really get stuck in to life here and you’ll amazed at what you can get out of your time at LSE.”
Seth, a second year Government student.
“The location is excellent and being so close to LSE has been such a help. It also means that when going on nights out you don’t have to travel too far and nearby Covent Garden is great to explore at the weekend. This does mean that that hall is expensive but you save on travel so it doesn’t feel as bad.
The rooms are quite basic so pack things that remind you of home - it’ll help a lot!”
Hannah, a second year Economics student.
“The hall was quite small therefore you got to mingle with most people at the socials - mind you, those were well organised by the committee.
The location was ridiculous - on the corner of Trafalgar Square - a melting pot of festivities over the weekend. The downside was the noise; the windows aren’t well sound proofed.
My one tip for a fresher? Get yourself involved in as many activities as you can muster.”
Avi, a third year Law student.
“Passfield was the perfect size - not tiny like Northumberland but not massive like Bankside. You at least recognise if not vaguely know a huge percentage of students living there, which is decent by LSE standards.
It is extremely convenient for campus as well. I walked in most of the time during first year and it took 25-30 minutes. Wardens are laissez faire enough to let people get on with studying and living in the Hall which is another plus, and they only seemed to step in when things actually got out of hand.
It’s probably one of the best halls at LSE for the social life.
All in all I’d give Passfield 8/10 and I would live there again. If Passfield was a chocolate bar it’d be a Dairy Milk; dependable, and never a disappointment.”
Theo, a third year Economic History student.
“The fact that it was so small meant that it was really easy to make friends and this was helped by the great nightlife as well. There was always someone who wanted to go out and we had a great community vibe.
The one problem, however, was the overnight guest policy whereby you had to sign the person in the day before they arrived to get permission. For stays over three days long you had to write to the warden.
The staff were really friendly and always willing to help despite this and there were few complaints about the food. The location, close to the BT Tower, was also a real advantage to Carr Saunders.
It was a great year.”
Tilly, a second year Geography student, and Kamran, a third year Economics student.
If you want any more information or advice about housing for next year then you can contact the SU at any time either through our Facebook group or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What handles 24 million journeys a day, has 19,500 bus stops and oversees 535 underground trains at any one moment during peak hours? It has to be London’s public transport network, which runs the third busiest metro system in the world, and carries over a billion passengers each year
This blog post will get you clued up on the basics: how to use it, when you can use it and where you can go, as well as a few tips and tricks.
If you are intending to board a tube, bus, boat, or even cable car, in London, you will either have to buy a day travelcard before boarding, which is very expensive, or for a one off payment of £5 you can buy an Oyster card. These contactless payment cards can then be topped up and they allow you travel around the city at a much more affordable price.
To pay with an Oyster card you simply tap in at circular yellow pay points (these can be onboard buses or at the barriers in tube stations, for example) before travelling.
The driver will not be able to sell you a ticket and instead you will have to put credit on your Oyster card either using a ticket machine in tube stations, at some small convenience stores, or online.
TIP: Have you got a contactless debit card? If so, these can be used instead of an Oyster card. Simply tap in and you’re good to go!
While you’re getting used to London, it can help to pop some tools into your phone to make the city more navigable.
If you don’t like taking the tube, or you want to try cycling, for example, then these will let you change your transport preferences.
TIP: During Welcome Week see if people want to walk into campus together for the Freshers’ Fair or subject specific presentations. It’s a great way to get to know people and may become a more regular thing well into the term!
Okay, this bit is complicated.
It sounds obvious to some but you’d be surprised how how easy it is to get it wrong!
TIP: Don’t worry about travelling around the city on a weekend - it won’t cost you a fortune! Bus journeys are charged at a flat rate of £1.50 each while tube journeys can vary from £2.30 to about £5. However, your Oyster card will cap the amount you’re charged after you’ve spent a certain amount each day. For example, if you’re travelling during off peak hours (after 9.30am on a weekday/all day weekend) and you’re staying within zones 1 and 2, it will cost you between £5 and £6 for a full day’s travel including unlimited bus and tube journeys.
Just a quick thing to note - the London transport network is divided into zones. As a general rule:
Understanding the zones will help you to place yourself within the city, and with journeys to Heathrow from Zone 1 taking around 45 minutes on the Piccadilly line it’s still all within easy reach.
TIP: Can you walk it instead? Just over 100 underground stations are within walking distance of each other!
London is packed with things to do but how do you afford the travel? There are lots of ways to save money while you’re travelling around the city. Here are some suggestions:
TIP: Bus routes can show you a lot of London. For the price of one bus ticket (£1.50) you can see famous sights including Brick Lane, Shoreditch, the Bank of England, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Oxford Street within an hour on the number 8. The number 9 runs from LSE to Hammersmith via Trafalgar Square, Green Park, Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace. A special mention goes to the number 11 as well which has an absolutely stunning route - a total must do.
If you like buses then this documentary also comes highly recommended:
By planning ahead a little, making sure you are paying the best price for your journey, and using public transport to help not hinder your time exploring London, you can really have some fun getting around the city.
The TfL (Transport for London) website is a great source of info, and you can contact LSESU for further advice.
Packing is almost as dull a blog post about packing, so we won’t keep you for too long
But if you’re anything like us you’l be wondering what exactly you’ll need to bring with you as you start what is essentially a whole new chapter of your lives. Big deal, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
This is especially for anyone who is in halls for first year and they have to move out at the end of each term. Trying to get your stuff out of halls on the holiday breaks is one tree no one needs.
Take whatever you need - including little luxuries from home - but bring too much and you will very possibly come to regret it when you have to move out. It’s not too early even now to make a list of what you want to take and then stick to it.
It is important to take things that you might not have thought of so you don’t have to spend Welcome Week in Ikea.
IMPORTANT! People will “borrow” things in halls which is unfortunate so make sure you keep the stuff you really like in your own room.
It’s likely that on that first Sunday night you will hardly be in your room and instead socialising around halls.
Make sure that you take with you the essentials for survival including soap and snacks so that you spend the first few hours making friends and not looking for a Sainsbury’s Local.
Even if your room isn’t properly unpacked, at least you’ll be clean!
BUT: A quick warning about mini fridges… If you want to pack one then you will be charged £15 a term for the privilege of using it in halls… Grr!
PSST! And it rains, a lot…
Whether it’s your favourite mug, a framed photo of people you are close to, your favourite food, the cosiest bedding, or all of the above, taking things that are already familiar to you can help you to feel more at home.
Living in halls can be stressful when the works kicks in and people start getting more stressed but if you can create a little sanctuary in your room then it would make for a great place to relax.
ESSENTIAL: LSE has its own little safe haven! The Shaw Library in the Old Building is full of plush armchairs and on Thursday lunchtimes it plays host to free classical concerts:
If, later on, you have any queries about your course, or your wellbeing, then you can visit student services in the Old Building Atrium at the LSE, or the LSESU Advice Service can provide free and confidential support.
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