Happy to be back and write another journal now that I have settled in my study abroad program. I have been in London for about two weeks now and I have now developed a routine on how to properly get to class and travel around the city. There have been so many aspects about British culture that I have had to unpack in such a short period of time. During the first few days of my study abroad program, I definitely felt culture shock.
Food has been a particular cultural shock for me. Growing up with spicy and flavorful Mexican cuisine, I was initially taken aback by the seemingly bland and simple British food. Traditional dishes like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and roast beef lacked the vibrant spices I was accustomed to. Oftentimes, I would find myself having to add an immense amount of salt to my plates so that I would be able to get more flavor. However, I’ve come to appreciate the emphasis on fresh ingredients and the diverse range of international cuisines available in London. Exploring the city’s multicultural food scene has been a delightful adventure, and I’ve discovered new flavors and dishes that I never knew existed.
The weather has also been quite an adjustment. Back in Texas, we have a generally warm climate throughout the year, so the constant rain and chilly temperatures in London took some getting used to. Carrying an umbrella everywhere and layering up with coats and scarves became my daily routine. However, the lush green parks and beautiful architecture of the city have a certain charm even in the rain, and I’ve come to appreciate the cozy feeling of sipping tea indoors while watching the drizzle outside.
The first time I descended into the London Underground, which is the city’s underground railway system, I was amazed by sheer size and complexity. The network extends far and wide, connecting every nook and cranny of the city, making it an incredibly efficient mode of transportation. However, it can also be quite overwhelming, especially during rush hour when the platforms and carriages are packed with people. The hustle and bustle of commuters rushing to catch their trains is a sight to behold. The Tube also served as a microcosm of London’s diversity. The mix of people from various cultures and backgrounds was evident in the diverse faces and languages I encountered during my rides. It was a melting pot of different experiences and perspectives, creating a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere.
One aspect of British culture that I’ve particularly enjoyed is their rich history and love for the arts. The abundance of museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks has provided me with a unique opportunity to delve into the country’s past. I have particularly enjoyed visiting the British National Gallery in London, because of their amazing masterpieces on display. I walked around in pure amazement as I was able to physically enjoy art pieces by my favorite artists such Monet, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt.
Overall, I can not wait to continue exploring, learning, and enjoying everything that London has to offer.