When it’s time to choose a city or country to study abroad in, there are a number of factors to take into account—your field of study, maybe your ancestry … and an important factor is what you’ll be doing outside the classroom. Being a global center for fashion, finance, art and culture, London offers a lot for someone passing through, or especially for a student studying abroad.

If you have the incredible chance to study abroad in London while in college or another academic program, you’ll find your classes can teach you a lot. Seeing the city in between classes or on your days off can show you even more.

Here are some tips and tricks for making the most of your education (while having fun) in the U.K. capital:

Visit museums

It can sometimes feel overwhelming when you first arrive in a major city like London. It can be stressful to figure out what you should see first. Visiting one of the many museums London has to offer is a great way to get situated and find your way around the city.

Many of London’s museums are located in and around the city center and are either free or have student rates. Visiting museums can help you get a better feel for the layout of the city while learning more about the cultural hub you’ll be living in.

Some popular spots include:

  • British Museum
  • Tate Modern
  • Natural History Museum
  • V&A
  • Natural Gallery
  • Imperial War Museum

Hang out in local parks

Similar to New York City, London is packed with parks all throughout the city. Whether you have a break from classes, want to hang out with friends or even just get some fresh air, London has miles of green to wander around.

Hyde Park houses Kensington Palace (where part of the royal family lives), a lake, meadow and thousands of trees. Here you can find countless spots to lay out to read a book or have a picnic with friends. On a nice day, Hyde Park can also be ideal for taking a stroll or riding a bike.

If you’re looking to get some exercise during your free time, Regent’s Park is the place for you. You can wander around its many acres of park and gardens or play a game with friends at the largest outdoor sports arena in London—complete with facilities for football, softball and rugby.

Some good spots to people watch can be found in St. James’ Park. With many green acres that also house the Mall near Buckingham Palace, tourists and locals are constantly moving through the park. Plenty of animals such as water birds, pelicans, and woodpeckers can also be seen around the park too.

Visit local markets or restaurants 

If you have a lunch break or are looking for a snack between classes, London offers an array of new culinary experiences unique to Europe and the city itself. From local markets to restaurants, you have the chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of London you might not realize it has.

Some of the most popular markets include Camden Lock, Borough Market and Brick Lane to name a few. Each is packed with creative bites for snacks or meals. Many also feature clothes and gifts made by local artists. Exploring the markets of London can help clear your mind between classes or be a new adventure for the weekend.

Explore new neighborhoods

Getting around London is easy. If you’re looking to stretch your legs and have some time to kill after a class, exploring London’s different neighborhoods can help you get comfortable in your new home. Grab a friend and hop on the next tube or bus to where you want to go. Neighborhoods like Kensington, Notting Hill, Greenwich, and Primrose Hill among others each have their own personalities and hidden gems.

Studying abroad is about your academics but it’s also a chance to learn about a new culture first hand. Even if your days are packed with school work, find time for exploring! If your study experience is like mine, it’ll fly by in the blink of an eye!

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About The Author

Mina Lezenby is a writer at Scribewise and a travel fanatic at heart. Along with adventures around the world, she has had the chance to live in London, Boston and her hometown of Philadelphia. Visit www.scribewise.com.

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