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    Hey all

    I am wondering what experiences, stories and opinions are of doing PhD study in London?

    I ask as it was my absolute *dream* above all else to live and work in London
    However, the opportunity has come up to do a doctorate at Royal Holloway and despite thinking it over I'm really struggling with a gnawing feeling of it not being 'quite right' because it's on the outskirts of the city. It may seem like a silly little thing but especially with three years of postgraduate study being in an environment and day-to-day routine you're really happy with seems crucial. I think I would live in west London and do the 20-30 minute commute each morning (but this may be daft, as from reading on here it seems the big advantage a lot of people put forward for Royal Holloway is not having to pay to live in London). Though it still wouldn't be like actually working in the bustle of central London, which is something that's always excited me more than just about anything! I'm not sure if I should just swallow this though as Royal Holloway itself is gorgeous, the position is funded, I'd have the chance to pursue a fantastic project with state-of-the-art facilities, collaborate with some of the top names in the field (even though I'm aware Royal Holloway itself doesn't have the gravitas of somewhere like UCL, for example) and best of all I'm lucky enough to get on with the supervisor like a dream.

    So I'm wondering what the experiences of studying for a PhD in central London itself are? In my mind's eye the excitement of finally living and working 9-5 in a busy city is wonderful (and with long PhD hours at lab computers it would be especially nice to walk out into Bloomsbury at the end of the day, rather than an empty road in Egham for a half-hour train ride home!) and overshadowing how great the opportunity at Royal Holloway could be. If it was a central London university I would be over the moon! At any rate, the alternative would be to apply to UCL for a masters only this year and pray for funding, or apply for the UCL/King's 1+3 programme next year and cross my fingers to get it. So I'm not sure if my dream of being in central London is worth the gamble :rolleyes: Anyway, if anyone has stories/ experiences/ wisdom to share I'd be really grateful, no matter how small they may be. Thanks!
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    I can only tell you I enjoy being a PhD student (1st year) in a leading uni in London.
    When I was looking for a PhD, I have to say the location played a major role as I couldn't imagine doing my PhD in a small city or in a city where there is nothing really exciting to do. But this is strictly a personal choice. However you have to be aware that the environment is something that influence you.

    Life is expansive though, I live in East London Z1 and spend 40% of my "salary" for my accommodation (flatsharing) but this is the only downside I can think of.
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    I can't speak from experience of having done a PhD, but I have done 2 masters and an undergrad at LSE/UCL plus worked in central London, and lived in west London for most of that time (though I spent 6 months living in Bloomsbury). For the most part I loved it, but the commute in rush hour is hell (I have fainted on the tube from the heat from so many bodies... in November. And I've lived in Africa so it's not like I'm not used to these things!) I'm considering applying for a job on the outskirts of London, with the idea of living in west London again, so am in a similar situation.

    A friend of mine also living in west London changed jobs about a year ago from central London to one out in Surrey, so she commutes out rather than in. In her opinion it was the smartest move she ever made - she gets to avoid rush hour in central London, get out of the city (which you will want when you live there) and work in a more open/green/pleasant environment (central London university campuses are nothing to get excited about, much as I've loved being a student there). She said it makes her really enjoy going into central London at the weekends or for dinner in the evenings, as she doesn't feel like she's tired of it/soured by the daily commute. Whereas before she hated going into central London during her time off, now she no longer works in the centre it's become something she looks forward to.

    Again I'm not sure how relevant all this is to a PhD experience but it might give you something to think about. It sounds like your offer from RH is amazing, and it might allow you to get even more out of living in a capital city to have your day-to-day grind placed slightly outside it. That way you can make the best of what the city has to offer without being ground down by it.
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    Thanks, steepest descent and mj0911 And that's actually a great way of thinking about it, mj0911!
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    Sorry to hijack the thread!

    I too am moving to London next year to take up a PhD offer. I've never lived in London before and would really like some advice on places to live and budgetting.

    How much should I spend on accommodation? I would really like to live on my own in a studio flat. What do other living expenses (travel, food, socialising) usually work out to per month?

    Where are good and safe areas to live? My lab is in E1 so I would like to live in one of the surrounding postcodes but are they safe and cheap?

    Thanks in advance!
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    With regards to postgrad study, you'll need to be in London rather than Egham for resources (having done it myself)
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    alleycat393 -
    I may not be the best source but from a few people I've spoken to (friends doing a PhD in London at the moment) a place that pops up alot as not-too-expensive but not-too-dodgy to live is around Clapham - it's a ten-minute train from Clapham Junction into London Waterloo, and you can get reasonable studio flats around the area for approximately £120-70 per week A great place to look for accommodation is www.gumtree.co.uk, and you can filter your search for studios all throughout London, or in certain areas. So hopefully that will be a good start (zoopla is quite good too!)
    In terms of other living expenses I'm probably not the best person to say, given I've not lived there myself Travel it depends, but you can get a travelcard/oystercard for around £20 (?) a week. Food and socialising is very much contingent on your lifestyle I suppose, but I imagine you could get by on say £45 food (a £30 grocery shop and £15 for a meal out one night!) and whatever you felt reasonable on socialising

    And thanks for that, apotoftea! Do you mean from having done postgrad at Royal Holloway? I would be doing a science subject so would need to be on campus some of the time for lab-based work, so I am not sure how that would change it? If there's still an excuse to be in London a few days a week though that's great It does sound silly but everytime I see the gorgeous streets around Bloomsbury and think of walking out there in a lunch break or after work each day I do melt a little inside :rolleyes:

    I guess another thing that came to mind too is that socialising with other postgrads and the people you work with may be a little easier in the centre (going out for a drink after work, or going for dinner and the train ride back not being too huge a hassle, that sort of thing), but perhaps I'm being unfairly biased If RH has a friendly postgraduate community that's great, though I did wonder if everyone lived on campus or if it was quite common to live in London and commute?

    Thanks for your reply anyway, and hope you do manage to find somewhere nice to live alleycat393 - it is an important thing
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    (Original post by Mademoiselle33)
    alleycat393 -
    I may not be the best source but from a few people I've spoken to (friends doing a PhD in London at the moment) a place that pops up alot as not-too-expensive but not-too-dodgy to live is around Clapham - it's a ten-minute train from Clapham Junction into London Waterloo, and you can get reasonable studio flats around the area for approximately £120-70 per week A great place to look for accommodation is www.gumtree.co.uk, and you can filter your search for studios all throughout London, or in certain areas. So hopefully that will be a good start (zoopla is quite good too!)
    In terms of other living expenses I'm probably not the best person to say, given I've not lived there myself Travel it depends, but you can get a travelcard/oystercard for around £20 (?) a week. Food and socialising is very much contingent on your lifestyle I suppose, but I imagine you could get by on say £45 food (a £30 grocery shop and £15 for a meal out one night!) and whatever you felt reasonable on socialising
    Thanks...might end up sharing coz a studio may be too expensive. Anyway, I still have a while before I need to start looking seriously seeing as I only want to move in mid-September. Terrified of ending up living with people I don't get on well with though coz I had a really bad experience last year. Fingers crossed!
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    I've never understood people who are so bonkers about living and working in London. Quite frankly, I don't think I could stand it. I certainly hated studying in there during my undergraduate degree. But then, I am a rural bumpkin from the Sussex/Kent border.
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    (Original post by Haloface)
    I've never understood people who are so bonkers about living and working in London. Quite frankly, I don't think I could stand it. I certainly hated studying in there during my undergraduate degree. But then, I am a rural bumpkin from the Sussex/Kent border.
    To each his/her own I guess. I lived in York for the first two years of my undergrad. Moved to Stevenage (20 mins by train from London) in my third year on placement. The city is a lot bigger than York and the first time I went into London I stood at the ticket barriers at Kings Cross St. Pancras and almost cried coz I was so overwhelmed by the number of people. I too thought I could never live and work in London coz the travelling and the crowds were too stressful. Over that year tho I started going into London either alone or with friends almost every other weekend and loved it! Back in York for my final year now I can't wait to escape to London again. As much as I love York it now feels small and claustrophobic...just my experinece tho...some people feel the opposite!
 
 
 
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