It’s true, no two international cities are as similar as New York and London and studying in either allows you to immerse yourself in a cosmopolitan center of the world. Dig a little deeper, however, and the subtle contrasts between the two will make a huge difference to your experience of studying abroad.
We’ve compared the two in a number of categories in order to make it a little easier to answer that million dollar/pound question: Where should I study? London or New York?
Nightlife and Entertainment
London and New York are bursting with possibilities – and not just during the day. When the sun goes down, they are both leading locations for nighttime entertainment. A world-class theater district (Broadway in New York, the West End in London), all the cuisines you can think of (and even some you never imagined), and A-list gigs can be enjoyed in both. So what makes them different? It’s fairly simple – NYC is called the city that never sleeps for a reason. The Big Apple’s bars, restaurants, and even some shops stay open well into the small hours while in London, bars and restaurants usually close at 11 pm during the week.
Escaping the crowds
London is spread over a much bigger area than its American counterpart meaning there are plenty of peaceful, leafy spots for you to discover. In fact, a surprising 40 percent of London is green space compared to 14 percent in New York. Because of this, it’s fairly easy to take a break from the hectic pace of London life by strolling through the Royal Parks and tranquil garden squares. Richmond Park, for example, is nearly 1000 acres of pristine parkland (including deer!) right on the doorstep of the UK capital. New York is, of course, home to the most famous urban park in the world, Central Park, and there are a number of smaller parks like Riverside Park and Prospect Park to make use of during the hotter summer months.
The Big Apple has cheaper taxis, buses, and underground than London, and its subway operates 24/7. The Tube, starting in September 2015, will run a few lines 24/7 but only at weekends. Both metro networks bring with them the pros and cons of big city underground travel – it’s convenient but, at times, super crowded and in the summer, pretty hot. It’s good to remember that both cities are made to wander by foot – that’s when you discover those hidden cafes, secret boutiques, and striking architecture that makes exploring a new city so memorable.
Since beating Paris and New York to host the 2012 Olympics, London has emerged as the sporting capital of the world. State-of-the-art stadia are scattered across the city, and it seems each weekend hosts some world-class sporting contest. That’s not to say New York is a slouch when it comes to athletic events – London just has more choice. New York is home to some of the most recognizable sporting teams in the world; everyone’s donned a Yankees cap at least once, and the Jets, Giants, and Knicks all call the city home.
Degrees of cool
NYC enjoys hot summers, but cold, snowy winters whereas London experiences cool, fleeting summers and mild winters. The UK may be known for its miserable rainy weather, but New York actually experiences more precipitation than its friend across the Atlantic. However, if you want seriously good weather in the summer, NYC has you covered as temperatures can rise in excess of 30 degrees compared to London’s rather dismal average high of 23 degrees.
London excels at offering free things to do – perfect when you are on a student budget. Checking out ancient artifacts at the British Museum and National History Museum won’t cost you a pound, nor will gazing at the acclaimed art on show at the National Gallery, Tate Britain or the Tate Modern. New York can’t compete with such great free activities, but you’ll still find gems around the city – you just have to search a little harder. Some museums, galleries, and small concert venues are free (or pay what you like) on specific days.
Both destinations are a heaven for food lovers; you hysr have to look beyond, but not ignore, the stereotypical dishes these cities are known for. Afternoon tea and a big, meaty roast dinner are essential to London life as are hot dogs, burgers, and bagels in New York. When you look further, however, you’ll discover dishes from across the globe, street food stands selling tasty concoctions, and innovative chefs rustling up mouthwatering flavors that can’t be found anywhere else.
The world in one place
New York and London are symbols of diversity; both have around 8.4m inhabitants, and the percentage of foreign-born residents is just below 40 percent in each city. The world is here, and it will welcome you with open arms. Such diversity means you’ll never stop being surprised by the ever-changing, eclectic range of neighborhoods, food, and nightlife options and you’ll always feel right at home.