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London 101: An Introduction to England’s Capital

by Emma Ferguson
View of the Thames River and Big Ben in London, England

The city that I am lucky enough to spend 4 months in is London! Being the capital of England, London has history dating back to Roman times, a bustling nightlife, great shopping and even better views.

With a population of 8.6 million people, London is one of the most popular destinations for people all over the world. According to the NPI, only 40% of London’s population is white British, while the majority 60% consists of various other ethnicities, making the majority of London very diverse. All over the city you will see people from all over speaking all different types of languages. Forget about eavesdropping!

With all this diversity comes all different types of cultures in one place. Walking down my street, there is an English Pub, a burger place, multiple Italian, Indian, Thai and Chinese restaurants; most anything to satisfy your taste buds.

Luckily, England is an English speaking country, so there is no language barrier for the most part. While English is English, there are still slang terms that are completely different from what is used in America. It’s important to not get confused. For example, when they say chips, they mean fries and not potato chips. That’s messed me up a few times. Speaking of chips, eating fish & chips is a must at least once, or ten times.

As far as transportation goes, navigating the Tube, buses and trains (with the help of some great apps) are very easy to use in order to get around. “Mind the Gap” is a term I have gotten used to.

With no stress towards transportation, it’s easy to get around and see all of the amazing historical (and non-historical) places that London has to offer. Whether it be the Tower of London or the London Eye, the city is exploding with cool things to see and learn about. There are over 100 museums, galleries and exhibits to visit that offer insight into the amazing history of London.

If you ever get the chance to visit London, here are a list of must-dos:

  • picture with a red phone booth
  • selfie with Big Ben
  • a traditional fish & chips meal
  • afternoon tea at a cafĂ©
  • a ride on the London Eye
  • a bike ride in Hyde Park
  • say “Cheers!” as thank you as many times as possible (you’ll immediately seem like a local)

This post was contributed by Emma Ferguson, who is studying abroad with AIFS in London, England.

London 101: An Introduction to England's Capital | AIFS Study Abroad

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