Is it easier to come to Cambridge as a Londoner?
You’re certainly less shocked by the price of a pint
When I first came to Cambridge, I remember telling people I was from London and having them reply “everybody is!” Within two days, I had already made three friends from the exact area as me, and many more who had come from schools I recognised. It occurred to me that my friends from other parts of the country may not have had the same experience.
But did this familiarity with the experiences of fellow Londoners make it easier for me to settle in? The answer is, it’s hard to say. Last term, Sophie Tallon wrote Seven ways to survive Cambridge as a Northerner pointing out the culture shocks that a Northerner experiences when coming to Cambridge. While I can safely say I did not have to experience any of these, what I cannot say is that I was accepted more than my friends from other parts of the country. There’s only so long you can talk about that pub in London you have both been to before the conversation has to move on to something everybody can relate to.
This being said, there are certainly many aspects of Cambridge life that are more familiar to a Londoner. I will list a few…
You’re used to the pub prices
The best, though arguably worst, part of coming to Cambridge as a Londoner is how unbothered you are by Cambridge pub prices. If I’m honest, even a Londoner never ceases to be shocked by the rip-off that is a £6 pint, but it’s certainly not going to hurt us as much as someone who has been used to northern prices. The only problem is we have to keep up this expenditure when we come home for the holidays.
Some Oxbridge events are hosted in London
The boat race and Varsity rugby are the main two. I’ve grown up watching the boat race most years and made enough London-based Cambridge friends to have plenty of people to watch it with this year. Conveniently, both after-parties were no more than a half an hour bus ride from me – so much easier than the journey for people having to spend hours on a train to stay over at a London-based friends’s house overnight.
You know a lot of people from home
Even if it’s a friend of a godsister’s cousin, you’re likely to find a link with many of the people you meet here. The jury’s out on whether this is always a good thing, but it certainly makes small talk a little less daunting.
You’ve been to Franco Manca before
This is a rogue one, but I was surprised how many people hadn’t even heard of it before coming to Cambridge. One person referred to it as the ‘authentic Italian pizzeria’ which, now that I think about it, isn’t so crazy of a description. If you haven’t been, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
If you went to a London private school, you have been prepped in exam-technique
Anyone who has attended a prestigious London private school has most likely been trained for Oxbridge. Don’t worry if you feel like they know more than you in first year because these advantages even themselves out. Statistically, if you attended a state school and achieved the same A level grades as someone at a private school, you are likely to outperform them at university level.
You can get home in under an hour
And at a low cost! When Cambridge life is getting a bit too much, it’s nice to be able to ‘pop’ home – something anyone living in the north cannot do so easily.
There are many aspects of Cambridge life that feel more familiar as a Londoner. However, these are pretty superficial things and I am happy to confirm that the most meaningful connections you make here will not be based on where you live.
Please do try out Franco Manca though!
Feature image credit: Esther Knowles
Related articles recommended by this author: