Top 5 reasons to study in East London
Updated: May 19
Almost every student that comes to me wanting to study in the UK will have a London school on his or her college abroad list, and it's no surprise.
I, too, was fascinated by this place I'd seen in many movies and of course, while watching Premier League soccer games.
But when I lived in London in 2009, I immediately found myself settling in West London, close to my favorite soccer club, and at that time, East London wasn't really a place people were going to live, let alone study.
So I'm really glad to share a guest post from my colleague, Gemma Murphy, about why you should give East London a further look when applying for college in the UK.
Written by guest blogger Gemma Murphy
London is an incredible city to study in; it's vibrant, diverse, steeped in history and easy to travel around.
But when it comes to choosing which London university is right for you, one of the most important considerations is the part of town where it's located.
We all know academic reputation is high up on the list of priorities when thinking about applying for college abroad, but it’s also so important to pick the right location.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about one of my favourite parts of London--the East End--and five reasons you should consider studying here.
Study in East London - Location, location, location
East London is the Brooklyn of New York, the Melbourne of Australia, the Vancouver of Canada.
It’s the artsy, hipster, independent coffee shop laden land of students and young professionals.
It’s the edgier part of town, the place people flock to for vintage finds, street art tours, houseboat spotting and some of the best street markets in the city.
It offers a unique experience in London and is a stark contrast to central and West London, which can be more business-focused and swarming with tourists.
Even if you don’t end up studying in the East End, you’ll undoubtedly head that way to find the latest trendy offerings, pop up bars and street food, find great live music and see authentic London at its very best.
I spent a number of years working for Queen Mary University of London, based in the east, in Mile End, and I couldn’t possibly write this post without mentioning this school.
Each university in London has its own unique academic expertise, identity, reputation and campus, so it’s essential to do your own research and find what works best for you.
However, Queen Mary is one of the few campus-based schools in London and is also one of the most diverse.
Its roots are based in philanthropy, and it attracts students from all over the world.
It’s the “place to be” in the city
Although we often romanticize the central areas of any city, they often aren’t the places that younger people and locals want to hang out.
Sure, you’ll want to head into Central and take photos of those iconic London sites, but if you speak to a local student, you’ll find a lot of them will be spending their time in the East or at least venturing over there for a fair few social events.
It’s the place where the newest and most unusual offerings will often begin, home to some really unique places like the "Cereal Killer Cafe," 24-Hour Bagel Cafes, Junkyard Golf and much, much more!
And of course, I couldn't forget to mention that some of the best parks in London are in the East End, including Victoria Park and the Olympic Park that hosted the 2012 London Olympics!
Due to the fact that East London became gentrified later than other parts of London, it still has a much more “rough around the edges” feel; however, this adds to its unique charm.
Nevertheless, some may say that the history of the East End is "darker" than other parts since it's well known for its infamous characters like Jack the Ripper and the Kray Twins.
You certainly won’t be bored if you head out on one of the many free East London history tours, many of which start from Shoreditch High Street Station, so be sure to check those out, too.
Stand out from the crowd
Studying in a different area of London to some of the better known locations is always a great selling point for yourself when interviewing with future employers; it shows that you were seeking a completely unique and authentic experience.
Whilst many other students immediately head to central or West London schools, the East End is definitely worth considering to break from tradition and showcase your individuality.
Gemma Murphy has been advising students interested in studying in the UK from the U.S. and around the world for almost 10 years. Originally from Cardiff, Gemma has lived in London and the East End for the past five years. Having worked at Queen Mary University of London as part of the Global Engagement Team she is very familiar with the appeal of studying in the city. Gemma has travelled all around the U.S. meeting with prospective students and university partners. More recently, she is working with Udayan University in Bali on their Summer Schools whilst helping students from around the world interested in pursuing an experience in Indonesia.