Pic: Chai Yi Lai 


If you’ve ever been to a new city, you’ll know how easy it is to be overwhelmed by everything there is to do, and if you only have a limited amount of time, it can be hard to decide where to start. This is especially true of a metropolis like London, with so many famous monuments and iconic sites waiting to be discovered. It might help to hear from someone that’s been in a similar position.


Recently, The Language Gallery ran a competition with YouTuber Korean Billy. The prize was 4-weeks accommodation in London and an English course at TLG. Our second winner, Chai Yi Lai, a.k.a Michelle from Malaysia, came to London for the first time as part of her prize. Having just come to the end of her visit, Michelle told us what she thought about the city, and the advice she would give to people visiting for the first time.


Venture out


While there is lots to see and do inside the capital, there are many things outside of it that are worth visiting too. With London’s great transport links, you can reach some top attractions easily via train, bus, or tube. During Michelle’s time in London she visited a few places outside of the city, including Oxford and Mayfield Lavender Farm:


“Make sure you try to go outside of London. You don’t have to stay and spend time just at the tourist hotspots. There are lots of amazing places nearby that are accessible,” she said.


Top picks


Coming close to the top of Michelle’s list of things to do and see in London was Maltby Street Market - a food market that is a five minute walk from London’s iconic Tower Bridge, you could visit both in the same day.  But Michelle’s favourite thing in London is musical theatre, she said:


“I would definitely recommend that everyone goes to a musical show. Pick one that you think you will like, get the most expensive ticket with the best view, and enjoy the show!”


During Michelle’s time in London she saw The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera.


Getting around


Michelle bought a travel pass to get one month of unlimited bus journeys when she was in London, and she thinks this is the best way to get around:


“I would recommend that you get a bus pass. If you take the bus you can sit there and look out the window all around you, letting it give you a tour around the city. Plus they are so convenient and frequent.”


Making friends


Michelle has become friends with many of her TLG classmates, and thinks joining a language school of some kind is a great way to meet people if you are in a new city.


“My classmates are all very friendly, they have been my favourite thing about this experience!


“Being in London has meant that I have been forced to use English a lot. You can’t really use your own language here- my classmates and I only share English in common, so we have to communicate in that way.


“Joining the language school with people from different countries has definitely helped. Talking to classmates, and hanging out with my classmates – English is the only way we can speak, and I can see my language skills have improved.”


We hope that someone visiting London, or TLG, for the first time will pick up some tips from Michelle. Read through her adventures in the city in our previous blog post.