Hello! This was my first week studying abroad in London and at the moment of writing this it is my third day in the city.
We left Tuesday night from Newark Airport at around 7:30 pm and landed in London at 7:00 am. I have a very hard time sleeping on flights and despite my best efforts could not manage to do so during the course of this flight. I was randomly upgraded by United Airlines despite being part of a group flight, and was placed in Economy plus in a row by myself, so I had a much more enjoyable flight experience than the rest of my peers.
Landing at the airport it took around 2 hours for us to exit the flight, get through border control, and collect all our baggage. We gathered outside of the security exit and waited for the coach to arrive. The bus ride from Heathrow to the neighborhood took around 40 mins, and included a brief tour of our surroundings as we entered the city and made our way to South Kensington. My apartment is located in South Kensington, a brief 8 minute walk to Hyde Park, and about 20 minutes away from Kensington Palace. It is a very beautiful and affluent neighborhood, an environment I am not used to living in. Our apartments are renovated Victorian era apartments that have been made into student housing, with the other apartments in the area having been further renovated and modernized into being resident housing and hotel rooms.
My first day here was spent being exhausted and unpacking things. It was suggested to us by the tour guide on the bus that we should not fall asleep at any point during the day until around 10 or 11 pm so that we would not develop severe jet lag. I spent the day walking around South Kensington and exploring a to get to know the area and keep myself up. I did take a 20 minute nap in the earlier part of the afternoon, before once again walking out to collect my SIM card and other mail I had sent to the student mailboxes. I met my roommates and flatmates, and we got to know each other as we spent the day exploring. We ate dinner at a Pub around the corner and came back around 11pm to try and go to bed. It was funny that we spent the day falling asleep as we stood, but the moment we got into bed to fall asleep no one could manage to do it. I finally fell asleep around 2 or 3 am and woke up around 10 am to get ready for a leadership team meeting at 11am that morning.
My second day I felt much better than I did the first day, feeling much better after having slept and setting myself in a regular sleep schedule. Yesterday we ate breakfast at a little cafe around the corner, and found that the prices of the food and drinks in the area in general were extremely affordable and practical despite being in an affluent area, something we thought was different in American cities which usually are extremely expensive. I walked the neighborhood area again to new places with some of the other students to discover different parts of the neighborhood. My roommate and I went to another pub in the area, while the girls from the flat went out shopping on Oxford street for the day and were eating dinner out there.
I plan to use this weekend to explore more and visit places located in central London. I received and activated my tube card this morning, and will use that to travel around the city as it allows me to do.
I am still adjusting my body to being in a new time zone, and never having been to Europe or traveling this far before it is a new feeling for me. I am absolutely thrilled to be here and cannot wait to share more of my experiences. This weekend I look forward to exploring and meeting new people, and this next week ahead as I start classes I look forward to being immersed in a new education experience.