Many of us have moved to new cities (and countries!) in pursuit of our degrees. However, moving from a small town to the Big City (wherever it may be) can be a huge adjustment.
In September of this year I moved from my small town in the west of Ireland to Dublin for work experience opportunities — and although it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience, it’s not without its challenges.
Here’s everything I’ve learned so far living in the Big Smoke. And don’t worry CF readers, these tips apply to living in any big city — from NYC to Paris to Seoul.
1. Learn How to Use Public Transport – Fast
When moving to a new city, there’s nothing more annoying than having to learn the public transport system.
Navigating a new environment is tough enough, so don’t aggravate the stress: get yourself a comprehensive guide to the basic bus and train routes and save yourself a big worry come your first day of college.
In my case, I’m lucky enough to be within walking distance of my work. Walking reduces your carbon footprint, so if at all possible, lace up your sneakers and get moving!
However, I realize that in bigger cities than Dublin, walking may not be possible. Therefore, it’s best to get acquainted with your city’s signature ‘brand’ of transportation. This is a must for living in a big city. Dublin has the Luas and the Dart, but you can get used to using almost any form of public transport after a few weeks!
2. Take Advantage of City-Specific Events
One of the best things about living in Dublin, or any big city for that matter, is the sheer number of things to do!
I’m a big concert lover. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than going to see your favorite acts perform live. I love the electricity in the air and the anticipation of standing in the pit, waiting for the artist to take the stage.
Therefore, I’ve decided to take advantage of living in a big city to see some concerts. Specifically, I’m going to cram as many gigs as I can into my 9 months here in Dublin. So far, I’ve seen British girl-band Little Mix, and I plan on going to yet another Taylor Swift concert when she releases her Lover tour dates!
Wherever you’re living, make it your priority to spend time engaging in leisure activities you enjoy. This is one of the fastest ways to settle into life in a big city. There are many free events, museums and tourist attractions to be found in your city – so get out there and see them all! You won’t regret it.
3. Make Your New Room Feel Like Home
Homesickness is no urban myth: it’s a real beast that can be hard to get off your back, particularly if you’ve never lived away from home before.
And homesickness can be a big part of life in a big city — pretty much everyone experiences it at some point.
Although my homesickness this time around has been minimal (I’ve lived away for the past two years), I remember feeling isolated, lonely and out-of-sorts during my first year of college.
However, decorating my college bedroom in a way that reflected my room at home really helped to make the transition smoother. CF is full to the brim with tips and tricks in this regard: check out our archives for endless amounts of dorm decorating ideas!
Personally, I love sticking photos and posters to the walls of my bedroom to give it a cozy, personal feel. If the use of Blu-Tack and other adhesives is forbidden in your accommodation, invest in a large cork-board that can be hung on the wall or placed on your desk, and get tacking!
4. Embrace Fashion More Than Ever Before
When I first moved to Dublin, I was struck by one overarching, all-consuming observation: that city girls love their fashion. My trip to London last summer provided a similar revelation. In large, cosmopolitan cities, style reigns supreme. And I love it.
That’s not to say that in my Irish hometown, fashion didn’t exist. It did; but dressing ‘up’ or even dressing outside of the athleisure ‘norm’ would sometimes get you funny looks on the street.
In bigger cities, though? Almost anything goes. Dublin is a hotbed of sartorial risk-takers and trend makers, the perfect place for a wannabe-fashion writer like me to find my footing.
So take my advice, CF readers, and if you’re so inclined, make it your mission to take some big fashion risks this semester! Of course, you don’t have to live in a big city to do this. No matter what your postcode, just do you, and don’t forget to live your best fashion life!
What are your tips for surviving life in a big city?
What’s your favorite thing about living in a big city? Do you prefer city life or are you a countryside gal? Do you have any practical tips of your own to share with CF readers? Let me know in the comments below, I can’t wait to hear from you!