My time in London has been an irreplaceable experience so far.
At first, I was terrified. I had never been to another country. What if I couldn’t figure out transportation? Or the currency? I’m no social butterfly, what if I didn’t make friends? What if I didn’t make the most of the wonderful opportunity I had been given? I was forced to expand my comfort zone. And it was the best thing for me.
I now understand British currency better than I ever thought possible. They have notes instead of bills, and pence instead of cents. 100 pence to a pound, just as there’s 100 cents to a dollar.
Transportation was easier than I thought it would be too. Most Londoners walk everywhere if possible, and don’t even own a car. I quickly became familiar with the London underground, or “the tube.” After I learned to navigate it, I began joking that I was a local.
I quickly overcame my fear of making friends too. Navigating a new, unfamiliar place with other people that are doing the same helps you form such a unique bond. I’ve been lucky to share my experience with people I know I’ll be friends with for a long time.
As for making the most of my experience, I’ve gotten pretty lucky there too. I have a favorite grocery store, pastry shop, pub, etc. I’ve seen all the touristy London spots, The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, etc. But most importantly, I’ve fallen in love with London and its culture. From fish and chips to high tea, I’ve tried to immerse myself in what it is to be a Londoner. I’ve learned so much about this city while I’ve been here, but it’s also taught me a lot about myself too.
This experience has been one that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I could have gone anywhere, but I am so happy with the choice I made. Six weeks in a foreign country is a lot. But at this point, London almost feels like a second home.