Abroad in London: A Tourist in my New Home

About two weeks ago I embarked in what is bound to become one of the most enriching four months of my life. I arrived in London on a chilly Sunday afternoon with my life packed away in two suitcases completely unready to begin my semester away from BU, my friends and, most importantly, my family.

Standing on the Prime Meridian in Greenwich. Photo credit Katherine Keegan.

After some grueling orientation days, we were finally given time to settle down in our new homes. Since then I’ve been slowing getting to know this wonderful new city—with all its great sites, people, and yes, even some great food. Although I’d like to say that after two weeks I’ve fully adjusted to life here, I’d be lying to you. I’ve become, if anything, a permanent tourist in my new home.

With my camera in hand, I’ve explored bits and pieces of London both with friends and on my own. Constantly lost, I’ve learned to appreciate the many maps on the street and the friendly British people—even if they’re the worst at giving directions. And yet despite all the exploration, I know that I have a lot more to see and will probably remain in this permanent tourist limbo for a while.

London is no Long Island (where I’m from) and it’s definitely not Boston. Getting to know Boston and feeling at home there was a piece of cake compared to getting used to London. Even classes here, despite the fact that I’m taking them with other American students, have a very different feel to them. A bit more sophisticated, or at the very least more cultured.

They say—who they is, I don’t know—that Americans and Brits are a people divided by a common language and boy is it true. Just ordering food or paying for something can be a little daunting.

However scary I make London to be—it really isn’t—I’m really looking forward to my semester here. London represents new adventures, new opportunities and especially new memories with new friends. Not only am I in one of the greatest European capitals, I’m just a step away from also discovering the rest of Europe—something I could never do back home. I’m determined to make my semester abroad one that I’ll never forget.

I chose London as my place to study abroad because I knew that it would make my college experience better than it already was. While school was far away from home back in the States, it was never so far that I couldn’t go home any weekend I wanted to. Living in London is teaching me how to grow up and succeed on my own, even if it makes me miss my mom and dad more than I’ve ever had before.

So as I prepare for another week of classes, my first trip to Germany for a weekend away and my upcoming 21st birthday I know that I’ll slowly move away from permanent tourist limbo and become somewhat of a true Londoner. For those reading, hope you stick around for the ride!

Cheers,

Nikki Rojas

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