I did it. I survived my first awe-inspiring, hectic, magnificent, exhausting, exhilarating week in London. I have only been here for one week, so I am by no means a study abroad expert, but I have already learned a lot. I’d like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned, while also talking about something else very important to me that I have made a priority this week: food.
1. Strawberries and Cream
On Tuesday we toured the Wimbledon tennis club (known for its strawberries and cream). It was very touristy, but I felt no shame because it is okay to be a tourist. In fact, I recommend it. You’re in a new city, take it all in! Did I look super cool with my large camera and Gryffindor sweatshirt while gawking at every red phone booth we walked past? Of course I did, I am a very cool person. Am I going to pretend to be unimpressed by all of the landmarks that Londoners are used to? No! I’m new here. I’m going to take in every possible sight I can, while I can, because even though a semester seems like a long time, I know it will fly by! I don’t want to regret not seeing every sight I possibly could, even if I do look like a cliché American tourist. So please excuse me as I take a selfie with Big Ben.
Exhibit A of “Cliché American Tourist”
2. Clotted Cream and Scones
What is clotted cream you ask? To be honest, I’m not completely sure. I do know that it is a bit like cream cheese and it is amazing on scones. I tried it for the first time while having tea at the National Gallery. (I know, I’m super posh, right?) Which brings me to my next point, make sure to try new things, as many as you can, whenever you can. Embrace your new city and every part of its culture that is has to offer. You don’t want to put off trying new things until the last moment, because that new thing could become your new favorite thing. How do you know if you don’t try?
Tea and Crumpets and New Adventures
One night we decided to stop at McDonald’s. I got a Cadbury McFlurry (oh, fun cultural differences!). It was great and although I don’t regularly go to McDonald’s in Wisconsin, it reminded me of home. New adventures are wonderful, but it is inevitable that at one point you will miss home, so incorporate familiarity into your new routine. Whether its hanging up pictures of family and friends or bringing your comfiest blanket, reminders of home can make the transition into this new place a little easier. It won’t make your adventure any less adventurous, just more comfortable, and that’s okay.
On our second day in London, we found the cutest little coffee shop down the street. Later that week we found a small market on the next block. Make sure to explore your neighborhood because it is your new home. Although there may not be an internationally famous landmark next door, you could discover something more important to you personally. Discovering the smaller things are what make your study abroad experience unique and discovering the interesting places right outside your door will help your new city to feel like home. Explore the ordinary! It could become the most memorable part of your trip.
These cookies are a block away? Dangerous.