By Margaret Waterman, Staff Writer
I am so thankful I chose to study in London. Immersing myself in British culture has been an adventure and I am so grateful to have been able to do so in such a beautiful, historic place. I feel extremely lucky to have been able to call such a lively and diverse city home.
My decision to study abroad at all was made on a complete whim: I emailed my favorite professor one day about it and he told me he studied overseas and it was the best choice he ever made. Signed, sealed, delivered. I also love travel so, truthfully, I didn’t need much convincing. I studied the study abroad page so carefully that I memorized its content. From there, I narrowed down my choices and eventually had London in the top spot.
Less than two weeks after I applied, I was accepted — the rest, as they say, was history.
I came abroad with two main goals: to get to know London and to see Europe. I like to think I accomplished both — I traveled almost every weekend and spent my weeks taking advantage of what my home city had to offer me. Plays, museums, pubs, restaurants — I saw as many as I could as many times as I could. I made British friends. I grew a working network.
My internship, seven weeks at an absolutely amazing company in downtown London, was an extremely important part of my overall experience. Without it, I wouldn’t have really understood what it means to be British and what Brits think of Americans. I also wouldn’t have seen as much as the city as I did, considering how many outings my colleagues and I took. I also mastered the London Underground due to my commute.
Outside of England, I saw different cities and different countryside towns. Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all stunning and surprisingly different facets of the United Kingdom. Outside of Great Britain, I was lucky enough to see parts of Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Vatican City. While I can’t pick a distinct favorite, there wasn’t one place I disliked.
In addition to new experiences through my visiting various places, traveling in and of itself was important: I learned how to travel on a budget and in the most efficient way. I also learned how to travel with big and small groups and where and when each was possible.
It can be easy to grow tired of what you know so well, easy to be bored with the routine and with the usual. I came to London with the hope of renewing my appreciation for the world around me. I wasn’t depressed or unhappy (far from it), but for whatever reason, that passion had escaped me slightly — unpaid internships, countless hours clocked at work and my demanding extracurricular schedule left me exhausted.
My London experience has strengthened my appreciation for home and for my surroundings, and has inspired me to go out and see more of the world. I have so many more places I hope to travel to and so many things I want to accomplish in the coming years.
For now, I’m looking forward to spending some time back on American soil. Home might not be uncharted territory, but it’s an adventure in its own right.