I can’t believe this is my last week in London. I honestly never want to leave. Since this will be my last blog, I wanted to talk about some of the best things I experienced here.
Coming into this experience I knew one person, but leaving I know a building worth of other US students and a workplace of all nationalities. I have met so many interesting people here and I have learned so much about different cultures. Whether it be the differences between Pennsylvania and Minnesota or between the US and Romania I have learned about different cultures and different people. I have had conversations with my coworkers about Brexit, Trump, and gun laws which seem to be very popular topics when people find out I am American.
I have learned to lean into the discomfort of this type of conversation and be open to talking to anyone. I never realized how shy I get in new situations and around new people, but since this was such a short program, I had to get over this very quickly. It only took me about one week to step outside of my comfort zone at my internship and one day to do so with my flatmates.
I got to do all the touristy things like visit the London eye, but I have also gotten to become a local and spend my weeknights at Summer by the River listening to live music by Tower Bridge. I got to go on tours, but also explore the city on my own by foot. Doing this allowed me to stumble across beautiful parts of the city I never would have seen if I hadn’t been willing to go out alone.
Summer by the River.
My family always jokes that I can’t do anything alone because I always ask people to go with me, even if it just be for a quick Target run. While here, I stepped outside of this comfort zone of having someone with me and spent time exploring alone. It was cool to see the city and just take it all in while wondering around aimlessly between classes.
I have adapted to the tube and I can’t imagine going back to the unreliable Port Authority buses in Pittsburgh. There is always something to do in this city whether it be Trooping the Color, seeing a musical, or going to watch the sunset in a park. I have not spent a single night bored or trying to find something to do.
My favorite part of this trip was becoming a local. I liked walking around the city or in the tube station and getting slightly annoyed at the obvious tourists who were confused or in awe. I feel like I know my way around London, and I love that I can get from the west to the east without Google Maps.
This study abroad experience has taught me to be bold and be willing to step way outside of my comfort zone and take advantage of everything. My flatmates and I like to say we had a rule this entire trip and that was to “say yes to everything.” Regardless of if we were tired, we would go to Summer by the River or the Camden Market or the Kyoto Gardens because we had to do these things while we could.
Halloumi Fries in Camden Market.
While I am sad that my experience will soon be over, I can honestly say there is nothing left on my list of things to do that will be unchecked. Between the five of us living in my flat, I did so much more than I could have even thought to put on my list when coming here and that is the best part of study abroad.