Odds & Ends
London Weather: You’ve probably heard this one thousand times already, so let’s make it one thousand and one–it rains a lot in London. It rains less in the summer, but there is still a fair amount of precipitation. Make sure that you have a good pair of rain boots and a large umbrella (one that won’t get tossed and turned in the wind).
London Lines: In the UK a “line” is called a “queue.” You’ll find queues forming just about everywhere around the city, so be sure to get a good spot. The English take their queues very seriously, so no butting in or “queue jumping,” unless you want some pretty dirty looks thrown your way. Famously, during the 2011 London riots, Londoners even queued up at smashed windows to loot shops! Clearly this is a country where etiquette is paramount.
London Lingo: Although linguists claim that British English and American English are technically the same language, sometimes it might feel like Londoners are speaking in tongues. The distinctive British accent, mixed with unconventional lingo, like Cockney rhyming slang, can get confusing. Check out this easy guide for a list of common British words and phrases that might trip you up.
London Time: London often runs on military time – 0:00/24:00. If you’re not used to this way of telling time, consider buying a digital watch for your first couple of weeks in London and setting it to Military time.
London Money: If you’re not familiar with the British monetary system, it can be a little confusing at first. The currency in the UK is the pound–its symbols are: (£ / GBP). Visa and MasterCard are generally accepted around all of London; although, with a non-UK bank account you may have to pay a surcharge when withdrawing cash. You should contact your bank before coming to London–it may make sense for you to open a UK bank account before traveling. Check out the VisitLondon.com Money Guide for more details.
London Phones: If you are going to London for an internship, and you’re planning on spending more than a few weeks in the city, we suggest that you purchase either a Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) phone or a pay-as-you-go phone in London (a cheap “burner” phone or SIM card). Check out the GoLondon.About.Com guide to using a phone in London for more information.