Guide for an Italian student in London

By November 21, 2018Blog, English
london telephone box

As an Italian person preparing to enter university study, there are many reasons for you to cast your eyes to London. As you arrive in the city, you wouldn’t have to look far to find fellow natives of Italy, as the tally of registered Italian citizens in London has swelled to well over a quarter of a million.

Indeed, London has long been home to a strong Italian presence. In the early nineteenth century, Italians flocked to areas like Soho and Clerkenwell – and, even today, many marks of London life show Italian influence. However, this only hints at how much you could gain from living in London.

Do you meet the requirements for London study?

Before you even begin to consider how you will adapt yourself to life as a London student, you need to be confident of your ability to secure a place at one of the city’s universities in the first place.

Naturally, the hurdle to get over can differ depending on the university or course. To be sure of the entry requirements relevant to you, look them up on online listings of courses that interest you.

However, if you intend to take up undergraduate study, the university in question might insist on you completing the High School Diploma and specify a particular overall score you must have reached. If you fall short here, a foundation degree might still be an option.

For undergraduate courses, here are necessary qualifications you might see listed:

• Esame di Stato
• International Baccalaureate
• European Baccalaureate

There remains the alternative possibility that you have already completed an undergraduate qualification in Italy, leading you to set your sights on postgraduate options in London. Those will have their own entry requirements which might call for any of the following qualifications:

• Diploma di Laurea
• Licenzi di Accademia di Belle Arti
• Diploma di Mediatore Linguistic
• Diploma di Laurea (Vecchio Ordinamento)
• Diploma Accademico di Primo Livello

Mind your language – the English language, that is

You will also be expected to have a certain level of proficiency in English. If you hold particular English language qualifications, you can indicate so in your application.

Even if you only barely meet the minimum threshold for proficiency suited to the London university of your choice, keep in mind that you can continue to hone your English-speaking skills once you are in the UK. Where you can, mix with native English speakers to pick up on nuances of the language.

There are various stages where you can open up valuable opportunities for conversing casually with English speakers. For example, when looking for London accommodation, you could opt for a “homestay” option, whereby you would join the residence of a London family.

At HFS London, we can match you to homestay accommodation which we have vetted for your comfort and safety. It’s simple to apply through our website; just fill in and send off the application form and we will leave you to decide between numerous homestay options.

What is day-to-day life like for Italians in London?

Let’s assume that you have never set foot in London. You might feel daunted about the prospect of moving to a whole new city where, initially, strangers are left, right and centre. However, we assure you that it isn’t too difficult for Italian people to make themselves feel truly at home in London.

Admittedly, there was once a time where London’s Italian contingent did seem limited to the central parts of the city. However, these days, you can easily see people from your home country pretty much everywhere around the UK capital.

Though the likes of Soho, Camden, Hackney, Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus have been traditionally popular spots for Italians, the key word here is “traditionally”. A good rule of thumb is to look for places where people eat and drink – and, fortunately, Italian eateries are abundant!

Enjoy a pizza the action in London

Of course, around the world, Italians are renowned for their pizza and pasta! You might even find some of your new London friends asking if you can make some for them. However, when you fancy a food break of your own, where should you go?

There are plenty of options, but we are particularly fond of Anima e cuore on Kentish Town Road. Here, the onus is strongly on quality – it’s a no-nonsense place that effortlessly captures the feel of Mediterranean shores. The Italian spirit is evident even as you set foot into the restaurant.

Still, if you are struggling to come across other places that feel Italian through and through, don’t miss out on Italina – the pasta dishes here are especially succulent.

This down-to-eatery is also only a short walk away from the London Underground’s Bethnal Green station – and, like homestay accommodation, can help keep any pangs of homesickness at bay.