Keeping a Stiff Upper Lip


I planned my study abroad to London down to the detail of how my first week in London would go. As everyone knows, well- made plans never survive contact. And London was a brand new world for a girl from a small college town in Texas, USA. My first week in London was heavily influenced by my ability to navigate the public transit system, including the infamous Tube.

My host family assured me that no one could never get truly and properly lost in London because there was always a station or a friendly face to turn to. And they were indeed right. I made a few friends in the program right so we could struggle through this new experience together. After all, everything is easier when shared amongst friends.

London Day 1
After meeting my host family, who were quite lovely, my friends and I navigated the tunnels ourselves and was only lost once as a group. By the end of the week, I was lost four times by myself, but I am sure I have it sorted, after a week. Besides, the best things are discovered when one gets well and truly lost.

On this wandering occasion, we found ourselves searching for a Tube line that would take us to see the London Eye. After getting turned about a few times, we decided to wander about to get a sense of things. Not entirely sure how, but we found ourselves at a free concert of the London Symphony Orchestra. An event that only happens once a year, an older woman assured us. It was an opportunity I never would have thought to experience. We arrived at the concert without the older English woman, who quickly outpaced us soft Americans, who had unwisely chosen to wear sandals on out hot expeditions. A mistake I rectified during the week by buying a thrifty pair of trainers.

Host Family

When selecting the program, I was mainly interested in the courses Nanotechnology and Nerve Injury Treatment in Medicine. I hadn’t thought of cultural immersion until the option of a host family was presented. Although it put me at a greater distance from the school, the decision gave me unexpected benefits.

Not only had I semi-conquered the tubes and bus, but I was able to have an inside view into an English home. The hottest days were the most interesting since I would stay home for a few hours with the host family. My host mother would tell me stories of everyone she met while working at a specialist center for Holocaust survivors. Her stories and her obvious passion for her work is admirable and I hope to mirror it in my own work someday.

My host family are avid readers, who enjoy all types of literature and politics because of their commitments and passions in life. This is evidenced by the naming of the two newest members of our family. Two kittens: The Great Catsby and Daisy Mewcanan!

First day of Class

I honestly was quite intimidated about my first day in an international class. I made it to class early so I wouldn’t have to walk into a room full of stares. Apparently, a few others had the same idea because I still entered a room full of stares but I could see my own nervousness mirrored in their eyes.

Initially, I was going to take a seat and sit quietly, but something Mom Nomi said echoed about my head as I stepped further into the room. You can only try your best. If you fail, adapt, learn from it, and do something else. The decision already made, I had already wandered over to begin a conversation. And simple conversations are often the beginning of great adventures and friendships so one should never be hesitant to speak, even if fearful, I learned.