American officer heading to London--advice sought

Gentlemen and others,

I am an American company grade officer headed to London for graduate school starting in September. I will not mention where to remain anonymous but am more than happy to discuss specifics by private message with anyone who cares to discuss academics. I've never spent any time in the UK before beyond air travel layovers and have been told I should expect it be be just as foreign as any other distant land. I thought I'd reach out to ARRSE to request general advice. Fire away! All advice is appreciated.

Also, there are a few more specific topic I'd appreciate your thoughts on.

First, a silly but I think important topic: clothes. My civilian wardrobe is better than most (our officer corps is so poorly dressed over here there are War College essays on the topic) but is absolutely tiny. For fear of embarrassing my homeland, I feel like I should expand my wardrobe, but I also have no idea what is appropriate daily wear for graduate student. So, if y'all were headed to graduate school in civvies (do you still say mufti?), would you be getting a bunch of blazers made, planning to bum around in collared shirts and polos, or just expecting to wear awful gym clothes all the time like most grad students in the US?

Second, any advice on London clubs? I have reciprocal membership in most of the old military clubs but am unsure if that will get me into their social events, or even if it's even worth trying.

Finally, any advice on London real estate? My housing allowance is about 2300 pounds per month (more than my base pay!) which seems to be enough to get a decent place that will fit me and my books. I've already narrowed down where I'll be living to a few places, but am still undecided if I want a nicer place further out of the city center or a smaller place closer to the bustle. The institution I'll be studying at is right on the Strand.

V/r,
"Galvanized Yankee"
 

Drivers_lag

On ROPS
On ROPs
Don't be such a formal dick.

If it's civvi uni, wear whatever you like.

£2300 a month won't get you much in London London, but the tube is excellent and just a few stops out, that money will get you something proper good.

Still, London. Rather you than me, mate. Couldn't you get University of Manchester?

Manchester is the Jewel of UK.

Oh - and if you must go to London, try the Union Jack Club for a start. You'll be made welcome there.
 
The preferred apparel for grad students in London is a shiny shell suit, preferably in Mauve or white. White Nike trainers.a large sovereign ring and heavy faux gold chain to finish the look off. You may get a storage room for that money in central London. And the fight club Enfield is where the discerning gentleman about town is to be found today..Good luck.;)
 
Grad school as in MBA?

Its going to be a tad better than most uni campuses - students are well aware that networking its what its all about, and want to appear to be budding CFOs, COOs etc. (No "I chocked Linda Lovelace" T shirts here.....)

Especially if they also do part time students, who will turn up for the afternoon straight from the office.

Collared shirts, polos, cord trousers, a good jumper, a sports jacket (tweed perhaps) maybe Ok for colder months. No tie, no blazer. A Uni/college sweatshirt is ok. Smart casual or preppy is the goal.

Pack your mess dress. You may get invited to a formal event or dinner. Other than that I wouldn't advertise your military background. Take your gongs too. Wear with a civilian suit on remembrance day, and you should be invited to embassy functions and other such events.

Clubs - wouldn't know these days. they were bloody expensive, even the "In and Out".
http://www.navalandmilitaryclub.co.uk/

Based on my experience at Oxford, Grad School, and still studying for a MSc in the UK part time (when I get back there). Results may vary.
 
You start by saying that you want to remain anonymous so won't say where you'll be studying. Later you tell us where you're studying. You'll do well...

Right, where to stay. Your first choice should be "in Hall". That's an English term for accommodation run by the university, "Halls of Residence". You may refer to it as "dorm" but I'm not well up on US terms. They have new buildings in Denmark Hill and New Cross - details are on the website.

As a first-time visitor, you may not be aware that London is largely segregated. Jews in Hampstead, Sikhs in Southall, Irish in Kilburn and so on. You probably refer to such areas as ghettos but that term is considered offensive in UK.

£2300 will get you decent accommodation anywhere outside the central area (in a shared house, bedsit or maybe even a cheap hotel if it's for a long stay (haggle) - NOT a flat (that's apartment to you)). London's central area is quite big (don't make the mistake of thinking that the central area is the "Square Mile" - that's just the commercial hub of the City of London). A reasonable rule of thumb is at least 6 Tube (that's the London Underground railway) stops from your university. Don't go much more than 10 stops as you'll spend a lot of time travelling. That said, if you find somewhere near the end of the line, at least you'll get a seat - Tube trains are grossly overcrowded at peak periods.

Probably the easiest place to make new friends is in the Clapham Common area. It's a friendly area. Take a walk across the Common of an evening and you'll likely find that people will come up to you and invite you to join them at one of the local hostelries (aka pub - what you'd call a bar). Don't do that in nearby Brixton though.

That should get you started.
 
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Obviously as you've already stated remaining anon limits the info via the thread, PIMH has given you a good pragmatic view of halls, a few areas and of course the logistic element.

Have you contacted any of the University OTC's for assistance or networking? As I'm sure your not the first and won't be the last.

Lastly, a outside consideration, the HAC (primary City of London Unit) might "possibly" point you in the right direction, also the London Regiment may have contacts for you as both are mainly TA/AR orientated & they're a unique bunch.

If in doubt or still lost, contact the VSC, UJC, or the Calvary and Guards club which are service focused locations for further info, to early to remember anything else.
 
The smart American about town these days is wearing shorts, open-toed sandals with white socks, mirrored sunglasses and a fanny pack.

As has been said, do not advertise your military status, particularly as it is American. London is very diverse, and certain groups are very FREE with their SPEECH, even though they have firm ideas but what they consider acceptable opinions/actions/dress codes amongst others. In the time you spend in Old London Town, you can save a fortune on other foreign travel, as you will probably meet someone from every country during your stay.

Museums and galleries are excellent, many are free. Many Londoners think that public transport is poor; that's because they don't live in a rural area where they would learn what the term really means. Tube is not cheap these days though, so the zone system is something to factor into your choice of accommodation.

You are probably going to have a great time, I am rather envious. If you play this well, you could find that many nice young ladies' panties are removed quite easily.

While you are here, use your down time to explore further afield, London definitely is not representative of the United Kingdom as a whole. During the summer, get to Cornwall and also see Glastonbury or the Isle of Wight Festival. Cowes regatta is great if you like the water, you could probably get a place in a crew via some of the London military connections some other posters have already mentioned. Check out Scotland while you still don't have to cross a border to go, and I don't mean plastic tartan dolls at Edinburgh Castle. Get out into the hills and Islands, Skye is good while easily accessible.

Enjoy!
 
While you are here, use your down time to explore further afield, London definitely is not representative of the United Kingdom as a whole. During the summer, get to Cornwall and also see Glastonbury or the Isle of Wight Festival. Cowes regatta is great if you like the water, you could probably get a place in a crew via some of the London military connections some other posters have already mentioned. Check out Scotland while you still don't have to cross a border to go, and I don't mean plastic tartan dolls at Edinburgh Castle. Get out into the hills and Islands, Skye is good while easily accessible.

Enjoy!

Excellent points but I have to add one. England is famed across the globe as a nation of fish and chip eaters. Just once (at least) during your stay, visit Whitby on the Yorkshire coast and sample cod and chips. Any chippy will do. I would be very disappointed if, at the end of your stay, you return home with the idea that English people fantasise about the re-heated, frozen, maggotty rubbish that's sold in London.
 

Drivers_lag

On ROPS
On ROPs
Excellent points but I have to add one. England is famed across the globe as a nation of fish and chip eaters. Just once (at least) during your stay, visit Whitby on the Yorkshire coast and sample cod and chips. Any chippy will do. I would be very disappointed if, at the end of your stay, you return home with the idea that English people fantasise about the re-heated, frozen, maggotty rubbish that's sold in London.

Some good chips to be bought in Lancashire too.
 
Excellent points but I have to add one. England is famed across the globe as a nation of fish and chip eaters. Just once (at least) during your stay, visit Whitby on the Yorkshire coast and sample cod and chips. Any chippy will do. I would be very disappointed if, at the end of your stay, you return home with the idea that English people fantasise about the re-heated, frozen, maggotty rubbish that's sold in London.

Rubbish. I give you the... :
Clipboard01.jpg


...down there on Long Lane, close to Borough Underground. Best fish and chips I've ever had. I'm not the skinhead in the photo.

Some cracking pubs around there, too. The Royal Oak on Tabard St does Kate and Sydney you'd fight a war for.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
Bring Nylons, Whisky,ceegars and ciggarettes.
That and your flash uniform and loads of money should see you right.
I saw it in the films.
 
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QRK2

LE
Lastly, a outside consideration, the HAC (primary City of London Unit) might "possibly" point you in the right direction, also the London Regiment may have contacts for you as both are mainly TA/AR orientated & they're a unique bunch.

The HAC has (or at least had a couple of years ago) a US officer doing an MBA in London attached to them. They seem to like Americans at the moment. May well be worth an email.

http://www.hac.org.uk/home/news/articles/us-ambassador-at-st-george’s-dinner/
 

CQMS

LE
Rubbish. I give you the... :
View attachment 172512

...down there on Long Lane, close to Borough Underground. Best fish and chips I've ever had. I'm not the skinhead in the photo.

Some cracking pubs around there, too. The Royal Oak on Tabard St does Kate and Sydney you'd fight a war for.


Rubbish, the finest fish and chips in town is no more than half a mile from Waterloo.

191 Waterloo Rd.
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
take yourself for a pleasant lunchtime pint of ale at the George, its not new, Its been around for slightly longer than the USA, but its a must,
in English terms its just an old boozer, but in American terms its a national monument
a few of your ancestors have visited and enjoyed it My Grandfther took them there in 1943 for a pint ( they might still be there !!)
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/george-inn/
 
the best chippy in Britain is next door to the Castle Arms in Conway. Their food is rendered divine by the consumption of 8 pints of Dry Blackthorn on the aforementioned Castle Arms.

O/P, your trip to UK will be a while lot easier if you bring the following items with you:-
8 x spark plugs for a 1959 Ford Galaxie
1 x air filter for a 1959 Ford Galaxie
1 x oil filter for a 1959 Ford Galaxie
1 x condenser for a 1959 Ford Galaxie
1 x contact breaker points for a 1959 Ford Galaxie
1 x rotor arm for a 1959 Ford Galaxie
1 x dizzy cap for a 1959 Ford Galaxie
1 x transmission filter for a 1959 Ford Galaxie (don't forget the gasket)
you can source all these parts from your local Napa prior to your flight and they will easily fit into your hold baggage

let me know when your arriving and I will pick you up. you'll recognise my car fairly easily
 
Something not right here: GY's profile gives his age as 22, FFS, and yet he refers to himself as 'a Company grade officer'? At that age, he's only just popped out of Hudson High.
 

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