I often get questions as to why I chose to study abroad in London, England. Everyone always says “there are so many cooler places out there!” And while, yes, there are cool places in the world, I have to say that London is pretty darn cool. When originally looking into study abroad opportunities, I knew that I wanted an English speaking country. Why you may ask? Well, after 5 years of taking a foreign language, I finally learned to just stick with English for the time being. But, here in London it’s not like I am completely sheltered from other languages. Each borough and neighborhood you wander into you hear different slang and accents. You have to open you ears and listen a little bit closer to be able to understand what the locals may be saying.
But being in London offers me so many other things. London offers the opportunity to travel. Surprisingly, travel here is fairly cheap. That gives me the chance to hop on a plane on the weekends to go explore the castles in Scotland, the lush greenery of Ireland or the fluffy waffles of Belgium. Not to mention that London itself is magical and beautiful. Every little nook and cranny holds something special, whether it be a small park, a quaint cafe or a family owned mom and pop store. Down every cobblestone street there is a story just waiting to be told.
London gives me the opportunity to gain independence. Before I came abroad, my friends would make fun of me that I always asked one of them to come with me to do something. I am not sure why, but I just hated the idea of doing things on my own or by myself. I hated going to the dining hall alone or even walking to classes alone. Before I left, one of my good friends looked me straight in the eye and said “I hope you gain some independence when you are abroad.” It was kind of scary to think that as a 20 year old, I really had no independence whatsoever. And that is why I love London. There are so many things to do by yourself. You can go for a stroll in the park, walk to get a coffee or just wander your neighborhood for a breath of fresh air. I’ve even learned to travel long distance by myself, which was a big step for me.
Even after being in this glorious city for almost 2 months now (eeek) I still find myself sitting back and looking in awe at this amazing city. Every day I see something that makes me stop and think “wow, I actually live here…” So while some may think that London is very generic, I can say that London is a place of amazement.
While some might be tempted to seek adventure in places that little people have ever explored, don’t be afraid to go to a place that one would consider a “tourist destination.” While it does have major tourist spots, there are lesser known places to escape to that are well worth the visit.