Skip to main content

Culture shock and other challenges when moving to London

Posted: February 22 2022

Are you coming to London soon? Moving to a different country and meeting another culture is always an adventure. It is wise to do the research and prepare before you come which helps to adapt to the life in London. Here are a few challenges you will meet when you move to London:


International city 

I can tell London is an international city, you can meet people from all over the world. There is ethnic diversity in London. According to the 2011 Census, the most ethnically diverse region in England was London, where over 40% of residents identified with the Asian, Black, Mixed, or another ethnic group. In the same street you can hear different languages such as Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, English, Hindi, Spanish, etc. Therefore, it is really important to respect and adapt to different cultures. Of course, it is really fun to communicate with people from different countries. 

British politeness

In London, the British are always being polite which is part of their culture. When you speak with the British, you always hear “sorry”, “thank you” and lots of praise but not intrusive questions. There are some general rules:

Always say sorry and thank you. If a British person has done something unfortunate, and perhaps even not, you’ll find them apologising. When you do the shopping in the supermarket or have a meal in a restaurant, you should always say thank you to the staff who have served you.  

Use the gesture to show your politeness. When you cross the road without a traffic light, you should give a wave to the driver that stopped the car to let you cross.

The high cost of living

You will find that the living cost is very high around the world. In terms of rent, public transport fees, eating out or entertainment – these are pricey in London. In order to cut down on costs of living in London, you can visit the great mix of free exhibitions at the museums including the world-famous British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, etc. Besides, you can go to the supermarket to do weekly shopping instead of eating out. It is much cheaper to buy the ingredients to prepare your meals in Tesco, Lidl, etc.. Also, this is a good opportunity to practise cooking that helps you be more independent. Moreover, save funds on public transport by buying a monthly or weekly travel card on Oyster. 

Students outside Uxbridge tube station chatting


The weather in London is unpredictable. You can experience sun, rain, wind, and clouds within one day. In fact, sunny days are quite common in the summer, and it is a comfortable and nice temperature (about 20–25 degrees). You can see people like being outside such as the park or beach to enjoy the sunshine. However, it rains a lot in other seasons, especially in winter. You should wear a waterproof jacket, boots, and carry an umbrella. Please don’t forget to wear enough clothes that keep you warm.