Adventuring in England

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Since my arrival here, I have been traveling to nearby cities and towns outside of London, like Stonehenge, Whitstable, Dover, and Bath. Whitstable is not of many tourists’ “must-see places” in England, but I think it’s a hidden gem. It’s a seaside town 2 hours away from London, with a gorgeous seaside view and many little shops and restaurants. The best of all is that I happened to go because of my internship. The week I started interning at Castlehaven, they had programmed a day trip for the elders at the center, and I happened to go with them. I spent my day talking to them, getting to hear more about their lives in London, their rec commendations of places I should visit, and sharing commonalities with our cultures. Apart from London, Whitstable became my favorite sight I’ve visited so far. I also went to Bath for a day and saw the Roman Baths, which was amazing to see upfront (picture below). When choosing the location of my study abroad program, I focused much more on the city itself. I wasn’t planning on doing much traveling around England, but the opportunity to do so has changed the way I see England as a whole. It’s such a versatile and diverse country with so many different places for all. Although my stay here has been incredible, to say the least. I also encountered some difficulties along the way. The biggest adjustment I have had to make is the food. Although I was born in the USA, my culture is heavily influenced by my parents. The food I eat in my house is virtually impossible to find here. Because the dishes I eat daily are ingredient specific, I have struggled to find food here that I enjoy eating. I typically eat breakfast at home, and I make my dinner, but for lunch, I buy something while I’m out at my internship or school. The first couple of days I arrived, I experienced culture shock when I tried purchasing my lunch. The types of sandwiches that are sold here are very different from the ones I’m accustomed to. Some of the sandwiches I saw were roast beef with horseradish or mustard and smoked salmon and cream cheese. Food combinations that I would have never thought about. I did eventually settle for their cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, which are not too bad at all. The first couple of weeks, I was also overpaying for my lunches, but then I learned that Sainsbury’s, a very common grocery store here, has a meal deal for £3.50 that includes a main dish like a sandwich, a drink, and a snack. Expanding my food and taste pallet has been a learning process, but it has gotten easier as I adjust to being a student here. I plan on traveling to some more cities in England, and I hope to try new foods there too!