Living in a big city: how to adapt (and make the most of it)


Moving to a big city when you go to uni can be daunting and exciting at the same time.

A city can be a great setting for your new adventure, but if you’re originally from a small town or it’s your first time living away from home, it can also feel pretty overwhelming.

Having studied in one myself, I’m going to share a few of my own tips on how to adjust and make the most of it.


Big city


1. Visit the city BEFORE term starts

You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without trying them on first, and the same should go for the place you’re going to live for 3+ years.

Scoping out the city before term starts will give you a heads up on all the things the city has to offer.

From fun stuff like atmospheric bars and tasty restaurants, to more practical things like public transport.

Knowing you can easily navigate your new home when you arrive for uni will help you settle in more quickly.


2. Budget for your lifestyle…

I know we all like to act like payday millionaires, but unfortunately, when moving to a big city, budgeting is a must.

You may find that if you move to a city like Manchester or London, everything’s more expensive than back at home.

Setting yourself a budget for rent, bills, living expenses and maybe even savings will serve you in the long run. It’ll ensure you can live comfortably, as well as experience all that your new home has to offer.


3. …and consider a part-time job

Unfortunately, my loan didn’t quite cover all my expenses, so I had to get a part-time job too. However, I’m so pleased I did.

This helped me settle into life in a new city, as I became friends with so many people from all over.

In particular, I loved meeting locals who would show me hidden gems that weren’t necessarily known to students.


4. Invite friends and family to visit

Homesickness is natural – especially if you’re now living far from your hometown.

So why not invite your best friend or a family member to visit you for the weekend?

Introduce them to your new friends, take them sight-seeing, show off your favourite spots.

They’ll enjoy a trip to the city as much as you’ll enjoy having them there!


5. Volunteer or look for work experience

Big cities are centres of industry – which is a huge benefit for you.

It means loads of work experience opportunities to seek out and take advantage of while you’re living there.

Doing work experience is an incredibly valuable thing to do alongside your university studies as it allows you to sample different sectors, meet like-minded people, and get your foot in the door.

Of course, you can always volunteer too.

As with work placements or internships, you’ll still gain essential skills that’ll boost your employability.

However, you’ll also be giving back to and working with the local community, which is a fantastic way to help you feel a part of it too.


Keep reading: These are the things I can’t live without at uni