London is a great place to learn English because it’s a big city with lots of exciting things to do and see as well as events to get involved in. At our school in leafy Wimbledon, we’re only 10 minutes away from the heart of the city by train, but also close to beautiful parks and the lovely Wimbledon Common. We run a brilliant social programme because we know that making friends is really important for our students. For some students it may be their first time away from their home and family, so it is crucial that they feel welcomed and that they have plenty of opportunities to meet new people and make new friends.
The best way to make new friends quickly is by getting involved in the social programme at your school. At our school, we offer free events as well as paid for trips and excursions. Our free events range from film afternoons to sports activities such as running club, football, salsa and tennis. We also take our students for free trips to see the sights of London, from up-market Convent Garden to cool, alternative Camden, all you to buy is a train ticket!
Outside of the Social Programme, London is a brilliant place to make new friends because there is so much going on. On a Tuesday you can pick up a free copy of Time Out magazine, outside most London train and tube stations (including Wimbledon Station), Time Out lists lots of events, nights out, workshops and exhibitions going on that week in and around London. You can find a day time or evening event that interests you and go along to meet like-minded people.
If you are interested in sports, going to watch a match can be a great way to meet lots of people and share a fun experience! International matches and big league games can be quite pricey but smaller league games are cheaper and still have a fun atmosphere. Here at WSE, we’re lucky to have Wimbledon Lawn Tennis on our doorstep, tickets are hard to get hold of but you can always queue up for them. The Tennis takes place in the summer so it’s not too cold to be queuing up outside and so many people do it that it’s almost become part of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis experience! If you want to save some money, you can always go and watch big football games at a local pub, which is a large and fun part of British culture.
There are also a large number of London based Language Swap websites. The Language Swaps are for people to meet up and learn different languages. You can find someone who would like to learn your language and teach them in exchange for them teaching you some English.
Joining your local gym is a good way to meet locals. If you’re not into the gym, joining a sports club can be a good way to meet new people.
We asked our students what their best advice would be for new students looking to make new friends in London was, and they said, “Never turn down an invitation.” Whether it’s to go see a film, have a meal or visit an art gallery, you never know who you might meet and how fun it might end up being!