Fresher's Handbook by fjzhxb

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									Imperial College And London For Dummies

Imperial College And London For Dummies Introduction Welcome to Imperial College! We know you freshers are all just geared up and shivering with excitement right down to the tip of your toes about coming to Imperial (You’ll be shivering with cold when you get here!). However we know university life can be a very scary experience, not to mention leaving the familiar, warm, roti canai-filled shores of home for the cold, dreary, unfamiliar, (potato-filled) streets of London. We've been there ourselves, blur as sotongs. That is why we, the Malaysian Society here at Imperial College, are at your disposal to help make your transition into Imperial and London as smooth as possible. We’ll even tell you where to get roti1! Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information. (We do not bite. We just like to be taken out for a makan from time to time). And to make things easier for you we have prepared this handbook – Imperial for Dummies as your very own personal guide. So go on, immerse yourself in it. You only get to be a fresher once! (Thank goodness!)

Your destination: Tanaka Building, the “front door” of college. Opposite this is Princes Gardens, and if you turn left at the next junction, you’re on the road to the Beit Quadrangle -Photo by Wong Ken Yi


Malaysia Hall,

Imperial College And London For Dummies The Pre-departure Before you board that plane, here are some things you should do first while you are still on Malaysian ground. Medical Check-Up  Go for a medical check-up at any clinic or hospital and ask for a medical report. Let the doctor know you are going abroad to study. A sample copy of the medical examination form can be obtained from the British High Commission. A chest Xray is required. You will be made to take one at Heathrow Airport if you do not have it with you on arrival Obtain a certified copy of your vaccination records. A meningitis vaccination is required. This can be obtained for free from the NHS in London; however you may want to have it done locally. Check with your doctor that the vaccine you are receiving is the same type as the type given in the UK. Dental Check-Up. Eye Check-Up (remember to pack a spare set of spectacles/contact lenses & solutions).


 

Visa Application Since Nov 2003 all Malaysian students entering the UK for education purposes are required to apply for a UK Visa. Visa applications can be made at Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) UK Application Centre Suite 19-05 19th Floor Wisma MCA 163 Jalan Ampang 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: (03) 2164 9323 Email: Website:

Please refer to their website for the necessary documents needed for your application. Application forms can be downloaded from the website or obtained from their office and students living out of Kuala Lumpur can send in their applications by post. You may also like to visit the British High Commission site for more details ( Or call British Council at (03) 2723 7900 for advice.

Imperial College And London For Dummies IMPORTANT: Make sure you get a 3 or 4 year visa (depending on how long your course is). Reapplying for a visa in the UK will be a long and painful (not to mention expensive) process! Wait for your official acceptance letter from Imperial College (It will be the one with a red stamp on it and you should receive two copies). The unconditional offer letter from UCAS is not the official acceptance letter. You should also bring along your accommodation invoice as proof that you have accommodation there. For a financial statement, a bank statement showing that you have enough finances for at least 1 term's tuition fees and living expenses for 1 year (at least £5000) or an official letter from your sponsor will suffice. OPTIONAL: If you do not wish to go to the VFS office yourself and go through the hassle of queuing, you can do it through an agency. Quite a few of these exist; one such agency is AusEd. It costs approximately RM10 extra for handling fees, but it does save you some trouble. There should be quite a few of these agencies around – ask around to see which is the best and most reliable. Remember, any dealings you have with these agencies are at your own risk – the Malaysian Society is in no way affiliated with any of them. Financial Matters  These days, it is rather difficult for international students to open student accounts with banks in the UK. However, students can still open overseas student accounts or similar account types with various banks in the UK which include NatWest, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland. There is a NatWest bank on campus2. If you already had an HSBC account for a period of 1 year, or your parents have a premium account with them, you can ask the manager for a recommendation letter which will net you a local student account Cash/Traveller's Cheques (approximately £500) will cover your expenses for the first 2 weeks while waiting for your bank draft to clear.
An inspirational picture to keep you going: Queens’ Tower, in the compound of Imperial College - Picture by Wong Ken Yi



Opening an account (especially at the beginning of the year when a lot of freshers are trying to open accounts) can take up to three weeks, so make sure you have enough money to survive for that long. Do try not to bring large amounts of cash – if you have no choice however, the University usually offers temporary security


Sherfield Building, Ground floor (Next to security desk - follow the signs)

Imperial College And London For Dummies deposit bags at the start of the year – enquire at the Security Desk in Sherfield Building for more details.

Miscellaneous  In the event that you have not received the letter from the accommodation office stating your allocated halls of residence (please allow up to 2 weeks before you arrive), do not panic and call/email the accommodation office immediately. The contact details are as follows: TEL: +44 020 7594 9444 FAX: +44 020 7594 9440 E-MAIL:  Learn to cook! This is an essential survival skill (and you'll be a favourite among us) as cooking for yourself will be significantly cheaper than eating out. At the very least, learn how to boil rice and cook instant noodles Your travel agent might offer you a free student card (Usually the International Student Identity Card – ISIC), which can be used as proof of your student status anywhere you go. It is a very useful thing to have, and can be used even in Malaysia. For a full list of benefits, visit An ISIC card costs £7 to make in London. Even if your travel agent does not offer you one, you can get it done on your own in Malaysia, which is usually cheaper than in London. You will need the official acceptance letter from Imperial (with the red seal) and a passport photo. Visit the above website for more information.


The Packing Packing is often the most frustrating part of preparing for that long journey ahead. What should you chuck into that suitcase and what should you throw out? You don't want to be seen emptying the contents of your suitcase and repacking at KLIA. Before you start packing, check your flight ticket for your weight allowance. (MAS usually allows 30kg for students, however check with your travel agent and request for more if you are given less). If you are travelling in a group and intend to pool together your allowed weight, note that MAS has placed a 30kg limit on each piece of luggage, so distribute your weight evenly. Below is a list of suggested items. It is not a must to bring everything on the list, do speak to your seniors on their experiences (or nightmares) with regards to packing. The average price of items in London is indicated in square brackets"[ ]" and is just a very rough estimate, and is only meant to be a reference. Personal Necessities

Imperial College And London For Dummies - Casual clothing: T-shirts [£8], long sleeved shirts/blouses [£15], jeans [£25], shorts [£10], track suits [£35], gloves [£7], sport wear, socks[£3]. Tip: You might think the UK is cold all year round compared to Malaysia, and it generally is. However, summers can get pretty warm, and in 2005, temperatures went up into the low 30s, which is comparable to Malaysian temperatures. Bear this in mind – you might want to consider bringing some (but not much) warm weather clothing - Winter clothing (Expect temperatures of about 15°C when you arrive and probably -3°C degree in winter): Sweaters [£15], jackets [£20], thermal undergarments/long johns [£10]. 1 or 2 sets will be sufficient. Get at least 1 water proof layer as rainy days are common in London. Tip: We recommend that you buy most of your winter clothing in London as there are more choices and are definitely cheaper (especially during the Christmas sales). Besides, winter wear is heavy and bulky to pack! Do, however, bring at least one piece of thick clothing to help you get through your first few days here! - Formal wear: A suit [£100] for men, evening dress/gown/traditional dress [£40] for women. - Footwear: Sport shoes [£25], soccer boots, men's leather shoes, ladies dress shoes, sandals/slippers [£5]. Tip: Do bring good, comfortable footwear, as you'll find walking is the most common form of transport in London! - A school bag would be useful to carry your files and folders, relatively expensive in London. - Toiletries: Bring some travellers' size shampoo & soap to last you for the 1st week. You can get most toiletries here at affordable prices. - Moisturising lotion and lip balm Tip: In our experience, VERY essential items, as the weather here tends to be cold and dry. Cracked lips and dry skin can be a very painful ordeal! Documents These are MUST HAVES that must be packed into your hand-carried bags, and NOT your checked-in luggage. You will need these to get through immigration, which comes before collecting your luggage. - Your passport. (Make sure it is valid for the duration of your stay) - Medical report & chest X-ray. - Acceptance/offer letter from Imperial College stating the course you are taking and the duration of the course. (Best if it has the college’s red seal)

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- Bank draft for living expenses and paying your tuition fees and/or statement from your bank or sponsor. - Address of your accommodation in London. (A copy of your accommodation license which should be posted to you should suffice) - Some cash or traveller's cheque (around £500) - A few passport-sized photos. - Directions to get to your hall of residence.

Linen, Home ware, Stationery. - Single sized bed sheets [£5], duvet covers [£10], and pillow covers [£3]. These are easily obtainable and reasonably priced in London, and may take up space in your luggage... but if you MUST have your favourite Winnie the Pooh bed sheet... (You can either buy your own duvet [£8] and pillows [£5] in London or get a bedding pack from your hall of residence, but be warned they are a little overpriced for your convenience.) - A set of towels - A bathrobe. Useful for those sharing bathrooms, but relatively expensive in London. - Cutlery: spoons, forks, knife, plates, bowls, cups, chopsticks. These items may take up space, and can be easily obtained in London in sets. A cheaper option is to buy a 5 person cutlery set in London and share among friends. - Cooking utensils: Rice cooker/slow cooker, wok, frying pan, pots etc. Electrical items are expensive in London so it is advisable to bring your own to showcase your culinary skills! At the very least bring a simple saucepan or even a mess tin to make simple meals – it’ll save you a whole lot of money in the long run! - Food: Instant noodles [£5], local food, local spices, etc. Most local food stuff can be found in London, but are obviously more expensive, however it isn't necessary to pack a big bottle of your favourite sos cili maggi. Pack small, light cooking spices (dry sambal, fried shrimps, curry powder, gula melaka etc.) - Stationery: pens [£1], foolscap paper [£1], files/folders [£1]. Refer to the department list for more information. - Text books: Contact your seniors through ICUMS to find out what are the absolutely essential text books you need (usually only one or two). These are usually cheaper in

Imperial College And London For Dummies Malaysia. You can borrow the rest of your text books from the library, or buy them second hand off seniors in your department. - Calculators: A basic scientific calculator, similar to the calculators used for the ALevels or IB will be helpful throughout your course. Note, however, that you will not be allowed to bring your personal calculator into examinations with you. You will instead be supplied with a calculator of an approved model. You will be given a chance to learn how to use it before the examination period. Check with your department for a list of approved models so you can get one which is most similar. You can also bring a graphical calculator although it is not necessary. Medication - Students studying in the UK are granted free medical consultation and prescription under the coverage of NHS (National Health Service). However, bring along some basic medicine e.g. flu tablets, Panadol, Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa, etc in case of emergencies. If you have sinus problems, antihistamine is very useful, especially in springtime. Other Useful items - Laptop: Most students bring their own personal laptops as it will come in handy for all courses for typing lab reports and communicating with friends and family! Engineering and Computing students would need laptops with enough specifications to run mathematical programmes such as Matlab and programming (Borland Delphi, Haskell, Java etc.). These will require at least a Pentium III processor, Windows 98 and 256 Mb RAM. Software can be obtained from your respective departments for free. Get a lock for your laptop as thefts are common in the halls. Note: High-speed Internet connections are provided in the halls of residence by Imperial College ICT Services for a small fee. All you need is a LAN cable, which can be easily obtained from the Union shop at as low as £3. Note that your total uploads and downloads in any 24 hour period must not exceed 5GB, or ICT will temporarily block your connection and you will have to meet with them to unblock it. Copyright infringement is dealt with severely by ICT. Read the ICT Usage Rules for more information. You might also want to consider obtaining antivirus software as without it, your computer will quickly become infected and then blocked by ICT. Free copies of antivirus software3 are available from the ICT Software Shop, on the 4th floor of the Mechanical Engineering building. At the start of the year, these are usually in high demand. You will have to pay a refundable £10 deposit to loan the CD. Do also bring any recovery CDs that were provided with your laptop, and if not, bring the important CDs that will help you restore your computer in the event of a breakdown. A LOT of people learned that the hard way this year, so don’t repeat our mistakes.

At time of this publication, Symantec Antivirus

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- Printer: Some students bring their own personal printers for their own convenience, however all departments and the library have several printers for their students and are open till as late as 11pm. Note that ink refills and paper are rather expensive in the UK and the cost of printing in the college is 2p per page.

Imperial College And London For Dummies - Electrical products: Discman/MP3 Player, camera & film [£4], rechargeable batteries and charger, alarm clock, hair dryer. Note that electrical items are very expensive in London. - Compact Discs (Music/CD-R), box of diskettes (rarely used if you have a pendrive), pendrive/flash memory device (this is the most common and convenient memory storage device among students). - Family photos, stuffed toys, other personal keepsakes to keep homesickness at bay. - Sports equipment: Tennis/Badminton/Squash racquet, table tennis bats, swimwear, etc.

Don’t forget your best friends for those cold, lonely winter nights!

The Arrival Upon touch down, those flying via MAS/SIA will land at Heathrow Terminal 3 whereas those flying via BA will land at Heathrow Terminal 4. Proceed to the immigration section. After clearing immigration you will be required to go through a health screening where your medical documents and x-ray will be checked. Have your passport, official college letter and accommodation address ready at all times. If you have all your documents, you should be able to clear customs without much hassle. If you ever get into trouble, stay calm, keep smiling and try to explain your situation to the officer. Getting to your destination in London: You can get to London Central by the following methods: Cab/Taxi: Taking a cab/taxi is by far the easiest but most expensive method. However, this is recommended if you have a lot of luggage and you are travelling in a small group. We suggest you find other seniors and freshers who will be travelling on the same flight as you. The cost of a cab is at least £30 per cab. There will be cabs available at the airport, however, you can try booking a taxi online. Below are a couple of recommended websites:

Imperial College And London For Dummies London Underground (aka the 'Tube'): This is not recommended for 1st timers in London. You have a number of escalators to take (sometimes there aren’t even escalators but rather stairs, depending on the station) and heavy luggage to carry, not to mention the complex network of the underground. However if you have a senior travelling with you or you have been to London before, you can give it a go as it is cheap and quite fast (approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour to get to Central London). A trip from Heathrow (Zone 6) to South Kensington (Zone 1, & where Imperial College is) on the Piccadilly line (Dark Blue) costs £3.80. Note: Beware of tube strikes and other delays! You can check at the airport's information counter for delays on the underground. By Heathrow Express: This coach service is recommended for those travelling on your own. It costs £14 (£13 if you book online – go to and takes you from Heathrow to Paddington (Zone 1) in 15 minutes! Good for those staying at Wilson House. After that you can just call for a cab from Paddington and go to your respective halls. By coach: Upon arrival, go to the central bus station and you can take a coach to Victoria Coach Station. Costs around £9. From there you can either catch a cab or take the tube (District/Circle line – green/yellow) to South Kensington or to your Hall of Residence Note: Keep mobile numbers of some ICUMS seniors handy, in case you run into any trouble or get lost. You can get these from the ICUMS website or forums: Accommodation in London: Imperial's halls of residence will only allow freshers to move in from the weekend before term starts. If you are arriving in London before that date, there are several hotels and hostels you can stay at. You can make bookings online. Here are a few suggested sites:

Imperial College And London For Dummies The Paper work When you are quite sure that you’ve managed to get every part of you and your luggage safely into London, it will be time to settle some official stuff.  Register at the College Registrar (Room 343, Sherfield Building) if you arrive before term starts. Alternatively, you can wait until the 1st day of term but it is highly undesirable because of the huge crowd. Seriously, it’s much faster and easier to do it before the 1st day of term. You definitely want to avoid having to stand in a line for half a day like these guys:

Picture by Wong Ken Yi


Take a photo for your security swipe card. This can be done at the office to the left of the security desk in the Sherfield Building, up some stairs (Follow the signs). You will need to show them the slip of paper you obtain from the registrar. They will tell you to collect it from you department once it is done. Register with the National Health Service (NHS) at the College Health Centre opposite Week’s Hall in Prince's Gardens. You will find an NHS pack in your hall of residence with forms to fill in. If you do not want to wait, you can also go directly to the College Health Centre before moving into your hall – they will have copies of the forms there. Register with the Malaysian Student Department. This is a requirement under Malaysian law and is for your own personal safety and welfare in case of emergencies. You can register online at .



Imperial College And London For Dummies  Open a bank account. Banks are open from 9.30am - 4pm, Mondays to Fridays. There is a Natwest branch located in the Sherfield Building4 and other banks are located about 5 minutes’ walk from the college. HSBC is the only bank which has branches in Malaysia. There are two nearby branches – one in Knightsbridge, and the other in Gloucester Road. The Knightsbridge branch requires you to make an appointment to open an account. Note that banks may take up to 3 weeks to open an account for you depending on your luck. However, if you don’t encounter any problems, your account should be ready within a week Pay your accommodation deposit at the Cashier's Office at Sherfield Building if you haven’t already done so. Deposit is £200 at time of writing. If you plan to arrive only 1 - 2 days before term starts, please send the deposit beforehand. Move into your halls. Please note the times stated for moving in and remember to let your hall warden know if you are only able to arrive outside those times.



The little details Here is a list of things freshers tend to worry about, just to put your mind at ease. Hand phones: There are several hand phone deals available from a wide range of mobile phone service providers such as Vodafone, Orange, O2, T-Mobile and Virgin. You can view them online at some of these suggested websites: To obtain a contract line however, you would need to produce a bank statement from a local bank or a credit card. You can also obtain prepaid sim cards with no prior conditions. These are called 'pay as you go' and can be easily topped up at all mobile phone dealers, ATM machines and even online. The most popular mobile phone dealers are Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U and are located all around London. The closest one to college is Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U, in Knightsbridge. You are strongly advised to talk to your seniors (get to know us! We’re nice people!) to find out which would suit you best.


Ground floor, up some stairs to the right of the security desk. They might open up other rooms for you to open your bank account. In any case, look out for signs.

Imperial College And London For Dummies Bicycles: If you are thinking of cycling as a way to beat the expensive transport fares, you can buy a bike. The college sometimes organises second hand bicycle auctions where you might be able to get good deals, so look out for those. However, you should always be careful as bicycle thefts are common in London and bicycle parts can be easily pinched from unattended bikes. Phone cards: IDD calling cards are one of the cheaper ways to call back home with relatively clear lines at as low as 1p or 2p a minute. You can buy these cards from Chinatown. ICUMS seniors will be able to advise you on which cards to buy. Alternatively, speak to us about other IDD services and options. If you wish to use the phone in your room in Halls (often cheaper than pay-as-you-go mobiles) to call London lines or IDD access numbers, you will need a Dog-and-Bone card. This is a prepaid phone card usable on either your room telephone or any other line. You can get one from your Hall Manager’s office, or in the Sherfield Building (on the way to the NatWest branch). Drinking water: Tap water in most halls is drinkable (Check with your warden/hall manager if you are uncertain; usually there are little green signs indicating water which is safe for drinking.) However, this picture shows tap water which was rated drinkable. Notice all the sediment at the bottom. It IS drinkable, if you’re comfortable with the idea of all that, but you might want to consider investing in a water filter (a decent one can be obtained from Argos for ~£10, and you’ll need to change the filter which costs about £3 each every month and a half or so). All tap water in London is hard water, which means you might find soap difficult to lather and scale forming on your crockery. Scale can be cleaned by scrubbing at it with a lemon sliced in half. Religion5 Don't worry about not being able to practise your religion – the Imperial College Union has societies for most major religions. You can find a list of such societies (and others) at the Union website ( If they’re not quite what you’re looking for, you can either form your own, or go to the Chaplaincy who can put you in touch with people who share your faith, regardless what that faith is. Do be careful of people who might try to entice you to join their sects or cults. If you are unsure, speak to the Chaplaincy ( who can advise you on such matters.

Please note that ICUMS is a non-religious affiliated society, and we are in no way responsible for any information you obtain from sources outside our website

Imperial College And London For Dummies The Imperial College Halls of Residence We know you must be really curious to know more about your halls of residence so here are some brief descriptions and directions to the halls: Beit Hall Beit Hall is clearly the crème de la crème of halls and certainly the most expensive. It is located opposite the London School of Music and next to the Royal Albert Hall. The Imperial College Student Union is also housed within the same quadrangle (Beit Quad – see picture) as the hall and is always a beehive of activity. It is 5 minutes away from the “back door” of College. Beit Hall is not far from Beit Quad - Picture by Wong Ken Yi Princes Gardens. Use the same directions as for Princes Gardens, however do not cross Exhibition Road upon exiting the pedestrian subway. Instead turn left and keep walking past the college until you reach a cross junction, indicated by traffic lights. Turn left at the cross junction and you will find it next to the Royal Albert Hall (A huge circular hall which is hard to miss!)

Pembridge Gardens Pembridge Gardens is just a lovely half hour walk across Hyde Park to the South Kensington campus and is situated in the Notting Hill area (of the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts fame). On Saturdays, you will find the famous Portobello Market – an antique lover’s paradise. The nearest tube station is Notting Hill Gate Station. After passing the ticket barrier, take the exit to Portobello Road Market. When you come out of the tube station, Pembridge Gardens should be behind you. Walk along Pembridge Gardens (not Pembridge Road) until you reach the Hall.

Imperial College And London For Dummies Evelyn Gardens: Bernard Sunley, Fisher, Holbein, Southwell, Willis Jackson Evelyn Gardens is just a leisurely 15 minute walk from the South Kensington campus. Five halls form a quiet residential area in this homely garden and amenities such as groceries from Sainsbury’s and the tube station aren’t too far away. The nearest station to Evelyn Gardens is Gloucester Road Station. Upon exiting the station, turn right into Gloucester Road and keep walking until you reach a cross junction. Go into Cranley Gardens and continue walking until you reach Evelyn Gardens which will be obvious from the Imperial College sign.

Princes Gardens: Garden, Weeks and Southside Princes Gardens is a small patch of garden just off Exhibition Road, opposite the brand new and ultra modern entrance to Imperial, via the Tanaka business school. Halls in Princes Gardens enjoy the privilege of being just a 5 minute walk from the college and is also just next to the Ethos Sports Centre. Of course once spring arrives, the gardens are filled with the lively sounds of students basking on the grass, enjoying the fresh air, BBQs or even a game of Frisbee. You might be allocated to the newly rebuilt Southside Hall which itself is divided into 3 separate halls. Rejoice as you are the first batch of students to stay in this fully en-suite hall! The nice rooms come with a steep price however, matched only by Beit Hall. As it is new, we don’t have any information on it besides what is on this webpage. The nearest station to Princes Gardens is South Kensington. After passing the ticket barrier, you will find a pedestrian subway on your right which leads to the Science Museum and Imperial College. Note that this subway is not always open – at certain times, it will be closed. At the very end of the exit you will find Imperial College on your left. Cross the road (Exhibition Road) and you will find an Imperial College sign indicating the entrance to Princes Gardens.

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Princes Gardens and the now demolished Linstead Hall in winter (Yes, it DOES snow in London!)

If the pedestrian subway is closed, exit the station via the main staircase and turn right. Upon exiting the complex, turn right again and walk till you come to the Oriental Canteen (You will probably come to know this restaurant very well). Turn left and cross the road and walk up to the main road, which you should then cross. The Natural History Museum should be on your left, and the Victoria & Albert Museum on your right. Keep walking straight ahead, and before long you will arrive at the Imperial College sign marking the entrance of Princes’ Gardens on your right.

Orient House / Piccadilly Court Lucky you! You’ve been allocated a room in two of Imperial College’s newer halls. The downside to it is that these halls are further away from college. Orient House is located in Fulham, 35 minutes away from South Kensington by bus/tube, and 40 minutes on foot (15 minutes if you cycle). A shuttle bus system was recently started ferrying students between the Fulham Broadway tube station and the hall. Piccadilly Court is located in Caledonian Road, 40 minutes away from South Kensington by tube.

Imperial College And London For Dummies Wilson House Wilson House has the fortune of being located close to many Malaysian eateries and has its own sports centre where we have our weekly sports sessions (basketball, football, badminton etc.). It is a half hour walk across Hyde Park to the South Kensington campus. The easiest way from Heathrow to Wilson House is to Wilson House - Picture by Wong Ken Yi take the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. A taxi from Paddington to Wilson House will cost you around £3. The nearest tube is Edgware Road Station served by Hammersmith & City (pink), District (green) and Circle (yellow) lines. Do not go to the station on the Bakerloo (brown) line. When you exit the station keep walking until you reach the main road. For your reference, Marks & Spencer should be on your right. Turn left and walk along the main road till you come across a traffic light at a cross junction (this is the cross junction between Edgware Road and Sussex Gardens). Cross the road and head along Sussex Gardens until you find Wilson House on your right

Imperial College And London For Dummies The ICUMS Makan & Jalan-jalan Guide to London Now that you’ve settled down and are ready to brave the cold (nah, it isn’t really that cold and it’ll be worse in January!) here’s our Makan and Jalan-jalan Guide to London! First off, arm yourself with an A-Z, which can be easily bought at any newsagent, and is a highly recommended companion to your exploration of London. Learn to use it well. A tube map and bus guide are also recommended (both of which can be obtained from any tube station if you ask the nice person behind the counter politely! Or, if you’re a bit shy, they’re also available in little pockets for you to just take). Travelling in London The 2 most common forms of public transport available are the tube and buses. Transport for London has a handy journey planner on its website at You can find almost anything you want to know about the Tube from . If you have arrived early and intend to go sight seeing, buy a weekly travel card for zones 1 & 2 (where most of the attractions are) which gives access to both buses and tubes. Alternatively you can buy a one day travel card if you will be travelling a lot for just one day. You can also buy travel passes for just buses alone which covers zones 1 – 4. More information can be obtained from It is highly recommended that you obtain an Oyster card. This is a prepaid card (similar to our Touch-And-Go card) which offers substantial discounts, eg for a single tube journey within Zone 1, you pay only £1.60 whereas the regular ticket price is £2. For buses, you pay only £1.00, whereas a regular ticket is £2.00. An Oyster card can be obtained in any tube station for a £3 refundable deposit. It is not compulsary, but filling in the form will allow you to get a claim your balance if you lose your oyster. Travelcards can also be loaded onto Oysters, which makes it very convenient. If you show the bus driver your student card (This is where the ISIC card comes in handy), you will be eligible to purchase student bus tickets for only £0.40. Not all buses seem to recognise this, so use at your own risk – we advise you to get an Oyster card just in case. If you need to travel everyday, you will be able to apply for a student photo cards which enables you to purchase weekly/monthly travel cards at a cheaper price (30% discount). You can get the forms for doing this at the College Registry when you first arrive (It will cost £5 application fee, and you need the college stamp on the form). Speak to your seniors for more information about this.

Imperial College And London For Dummies Shopping So you couldn’t bring your whole room including your cat and both your grandmothers to London, therefore its time to go shopping for necessities. Here is a list of specific shops where you can find reasonably priced goods and are located not too far away Argos – High Street Kensington Here you can find almost all your house wares including pillows, duvets, desk lamps, furniture, etc. Waitrose – Cromwell Road/Gloucester Road junction Quality groceries Sainsbury’s – Cromwell Road for the big one, Brompton Road (Knightsbridge) for the little one. Groceries at reasonable prices. Here’s an example at the sort of things Sainsbury’s produces (All purchased from the big one). Remember, own brand items are almost always cheaper than branded items! Tesco – Fulham for the big one, Gloucester Road/South Kensington station for the smaller ones Cheaper groceries Boots – Gloucester Road, High Street Kensington and Brompton Road One stop pharmacy for all your toiletries and medications (kind of like Guardian pharmacy) Waterstones – South Kensington Campus, High Street Kensington Books WH Smith – High Street Kensington Cheaper books and stationery

Imperial College And London For Dummies Ryman’s Stationer – High Street Kensington (2 branches) Cheap stationery H&M – High Street Kensington, Oxford Street Cheap clothing Primark – Oxford Street Even cheaper clothing, household items, toiletries John Lewis – King’s Road Cheapest shopping mall Woolworths – Edgware Road Cheap home wares such as plates, cutlery sets etc. Lillywhites – Piccadilly Circus Sportswear and sports equipment If you just want to browse around or go window shopping, the following places should fulfil your shopaholic desires Camden Market The bargain shopper’s paradise! Clothes, handicraft and just bric-a-bracs can be found within its bazaar-like atmosphere. Covent Garden A quaint little nook of London, where you’ll discover buskers and street performers while you shop for knick-knacks at the market stalls or bazaar Edgware Road Try the shops here if you are in search of Halal food and Middle Eastern spices. A favourite for Lebanese food and quick take away kebabs. Don’t forget to visit Church Street Market too! Fulham Market Rather like our own Pasar Tani or Pasar Malam. High Street Kensington High Street Kent, as it is fondly called, is just a 15 minute walk from South Kensington or a brisk 20 minute walk across Hyde Park from Bayswater. A very popular shopping area for the young at heart. Knightsbridge & Brompton Road Fancy a sneak peak at Harrods, possibly the poshest shopping centre in the whole of London? You’ll find it on Brompton Road and its imposing figure is hard to miss. Don’t forget to try the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts! You get a free doughnut just for queuing up!

Imperial College And London For Dummies (If the red sign is lit up) You can also check out what London fashion is all about while window shopping here. Leicester Square (Chinatown) You will be amazed at the wide range of Asian spices and food sold here. You can buy your groceries, cutlery, cooking equipment, even steamboat ladles! Notting Hill Bookshops, food joints and old records shops, not forgetting Portobello Market (see picture) for its antiques treasure trove! Oriental City Possibly the largest supermarket for Asian food and spices. Located in zone 4. Oxford Street You’ll be spoilt for choices here! Selfridges and Debenhams are just a few of the up-market names on this street. Several buses run through this street. Tottenham Court Road This is the place to go for a wide range of electrical, electronic and computer equipments to choose from. The nearest tube station is Tottenham Court Road on the central line. Tip: Beware of pick pockets in London. Always be aware when carrying back packs which can be easily opened from behind and keep your valuables with you at all times.

Dining Food in London is unforgivably expensive. Expect to spend at least £4 for a meal. However being Malaysians, our expert taste buds and spendthrift upbringings have sourced out the best places for a good makan at reasonable prices. Bayswater: Four Seasons (their roast duck is legendary) Gold Mine Khan’s restaurant * Chinatown

Imperial College And London For Dummies Anywhere! You’re quite spoilt for choice here. Menus are usually displayed on the outside so you can compare prices. Wong Kei on Wardour Street is one of the cheaper restaurants with decent food, but it’s not a place to go to if you want to linger over your Chinese tea – this restaurant is famed for its incredibly rude staff, and the waiters have been known to rush patrons with their food! They have mellowed out over the years though, and have even been known to crack a smile or two. Edgware Road An interesting array of Lebanese and Middle Eastern restaurants Fulham Chop-chop (a cheap Malaysian-Singaporean eatery) Gloucester The Sandwich Shop (a favourite of ours! sandwiches are cheaper after 4pm) High Street Kensington Stick & Bowl Wagamama (Japanese) Paddington Naha Cafeteria* South Kensington: Oriental Canteen Big China Paper Tiger – Not a bad place to go if you’re really hungry and aren’t really fussy about the food. It offers an eat all you can eat Chinese buffet for £4.50. You get what you pay for. * Halal Those are the places we usually frequent – for more recommendations, try visiting Do also check on our website for a list of restaurants which offer discounts when you present your ICUMS membership card (Make sure to present it before ordering!) If you’re looking for a place to eat in your first week here while doing all your paperwork, there are plenty of little shops around South Kensington station which sell sandwiches, or you can try the Junior Common Room on the main walkway, which usually sells food in the week leading up to Fresher’s Week.

Imperial College And London For Dummies Sight Seeing There is just too much to do in London to be listed in this little handbook. However, just to whet your tourist appetites, here’s a short list of attractions. Don’t forget to load that camera!       Tower of London London Eye Buckingham Palace Trafalgar Square British Museum Tate Modern

And of course, during your 3 or 4 years at Imperial, don't forget to at least take a peek at the insides of the Natural History Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Science Museum which are right next door to Imperial. (Most students tend to take it for granted since the museums are so near and end up never having stepped inside them before!). Most museums are free, and so are the many parks which London is famous for. The Lonely Planet online guide gives a good description on what to see and do in London. Alternatively talk to your seniors for more information and sight-seeing tips. You can also try this no-frills guide to London online: Theatre London without West End is like Nasi Lemak without sambal – spiceless! There is a myriad of shows to choose from. Some popular productions currently running are Lion King, Mamma Mia, Chicago, Wicked and of course the classics such as Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. You can find half price tickets from ticket booths at Leicester Square where you can buy tickets on the day of the show itself or you could look for deals online. Don’t forget to watch out for ICUMS theatre trips throughout the year!

Imperial College And London For Dummies The ICUMS Guide to ICUMS

Chances are if you’re reading this, you would know that ICUMS stands for the Imperial College Union Malaysian Society. You would probably also know that the society website can be found at You definitely know, having read this document, that part of the Society’s aims is to help freshers settle into London quickly and easily. You probably know that we serve as a home base for Malaysian Imperial College students to socialise among each other, and help to promote Malaysian culture among the other students (and even staff) of Imperial. It is now time for you to learn exactly how we achieve these aims. How to join First of all, when you arrive, there will be a giant Fresher’s Fair where each society in the College Union has a booth. You should look for the Malaysian Society booth6 (Don’t worry, we’ll make ourselves easily noticeable) and sign up on the provided sheet. THIS DOES NOT MAKE YOU A MEMBER OF ICUMS YET. All it does is to give us your email address officially so you will then be added to our official ICUMS mailing list. Later in the week, we will send you an email so you can come and see us to pay your subscription and fill in the form (It’s really short, so don’t be intimidated). Then, give us some time and we’ll give you your membership cards (which mark you as one of us, and entitles you to some nifty discounts at selected restaurants!). Congratulations, you are now a member of ICUMS! Look out for more information on how to join ICUMS as we go along – check the website frequently!


Located together with all the other overseas societies in the Great Hall.

Imperial College And London For Dummies Malaysian Night

Malaysian Night is our biggest annual event, and is usually a full length play with an original script. It is usually held in early March, but preparations from it will begin right from your first term in Imperial when auditions and light rehearsals are held. In fact, before your dear seniors left London to come home to Malaysia, the script was already being prepared and ideas were being batted around. All this goes to show just how important MNite is to all of us here in ICUMS. Why? MNite serves as a medium for us to promote Malaysian culture to outsiders. With us being one of the largest Malaysian student communities, our Malaysian Night usually attracts Malaysians from many other colleges and universities in the UK, which is its second purpose – to serve as a gathering for Malaysians in the UK.

Imperial College And London For Dummies

Which brings us to your role in it. As freshers, you hold the main part in the preparations and execution of MNite. Most of the manpower comes from you – whether performing, or working backstage, each and every one of you is equally important. We know you all have your individual talents – it would be great if you sign up for a role which is most suited to you. Roles usually include: acting cast, dancing cast, backstage crew, props design and creation (we make our own props!), costume design, and so on. It is really satisfying when you know you are part of something this big, and is really a memorable

thing to do in your first year – trust us; we were all a part of MNite in our year, and it is a memory that will stay with us till we die (or get amnesia/Alzheimer’s). It’s an event that is worth spending time in, and is a fantastic way to get to know your peers, your seniors, and to meet new friends – so do come along and join in the fun, and help your society along the way!

Fundraisers This is directly related to Malaysian Night. A lot of funds are needed for props, costumes, and renting of equipment for the big night, and although we do get some sponsorship, it doesn’t pay for everything. Thus, every year we organise some form of fundraiser (Usually a sort of mini pasar malam on College grounds) to get some money to help pay for MNite, so that we can have enough money to help subsidise other events! As with Malaysian Night, a lot of manpower is needed for a successful fundraiser, and again we depend on you, dear fresher, to lend a hand wherever you can.

Imperial College And London For Dummies Theatre trips Not only do we introduce Malaysian culture to the unsuspecting public, we also help you get a taste of London life. Our society typically organises 2 – 3 subsidised theatre trips a year, which is a great way for you to get a taste of London musicals and plays, at a reduced price, together with your mates. Cultural Events

ICUMS typically celebrates Hari Raya and Chinese New Year as a society – and what better way than in the form of a giant makan? Look out for more details of these celebrations as the dates approach! Sports ICUMS organises two sports sessions a week in the Wilson House Sport Centre. Sports played are usually football, basketball, badminton, and volleyball. This serves as a form of training for the Nottingham Games in November – the largest Malaysian sporting event in the UK institutes of higher education. They are also a way for you to socialise with other members. However, a small fee will be charged, as we need to pay for rental of the sports facilities and purchase of equipment. Look out for more information on the website/mailing list on charges for sports activities!

Imperial College And London For Dummies Ski Trip

The ski trip is another annual event organised by ICUMS. Every year during the Christmas holidays, we organise this trip somewhere in Europe where you get a chance to try your hand at skiing and take a break from your studies. More on this later. Restaurant Discounts Your ICUMS membership card also works as a discount at selected restaurants. A full list of these, along with terms and conditions can be found at the society website at

Imperial College And London For Dummies Miscellaneous Events

ICUMS also organises some other events. It could be a paintballing trip, it could be gokarting, it could even be a trip up north to the famed Alton Towers amusement park – look out for more updates on this! As you can see, ICUMS is a very active society, which, hopefully, you will not regret joining. We do hope to see you at our booth at the Fresher’s Fair, and hope that you will participate in all our events. Remember, it’s YOUR society – if you ever want to see a particular event being held, we’re always open to suggestions. Do visit our website and forums for more information, or to just socialise.

Imperial College And London For Dummies ICUMS Events! ICUMS' TLC doesn't just end with getting you settled down in Imperial. We have a completely GEMPAK year planned out for you. Go on; mark these dates on your calendar! Now!

2 Oct 7th Oct 10th Oct 18th Oct 17th Oct, 24th Nov 6th, 7th, 8th Nov 1st Dec 15th – 23rd Dec


Fresher's Fair (Not planned by us, but this is where your journey to becoming an ICUMS member begins officially) Fresher's Reception (Your official welcome in London from us all) 1st Ordinary General Meeting

Malaysian Night 2006 Screening Malaysian Night Auditions (Your chance to be part of the main cast!) Pasar Malam (ICUMS’ first major event) Nottingham Games (The biggest sports event for Malaysians in the UK – represent us in it!) Christmas Holidays - Ski Trip

*Please note that all these dates are tentative. Look out in your email inboxes and on the website for more details and confirmation as the dates draw closer

Imperial College And London For Dummies ICUMS Committee 2006-2007 Hazwan Hadian President Anita Cheah Ying Ying Vice President Wan Norashikin Samsudin Secretary Cheryl Lim Chieh Ping Treasurer Goh Xue Lieh Sports Secretary Felicia Lim Communications Secretary Jared Ethan Ang Tzer Shen Committee Member Ong Jee Wayn Committee Member Zarif Jamil bin Shakir Jamil Committee Member Matthew Leung Kwun Lung Committee Member Learn more about us (and even see pictures!) at the Committee page on the ICUMS website at And remember to visit the forums at

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