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Adjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics and Landmarks

by Stephanie Onderick
Adjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study Abroad

Be still my heart, for London has consumed thee.

Be prepared.

Prior to even stepping foot on the city pavement, I sat in an airport engulfed in a language that is mine but a world that was not.

Adjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study Abroad

Accents.

Accents EVERYWHERE. Sure, I expected them. How could I not? I am traveling to London for crying out loud. However, as equipped as I believed myself to be, I was taken aback every time I spoke with a local, expecting a voice and tone that my ear is accustomed to hearing.

Instead, I was greeted with culture. I was greeted with diversity. I was greeted with adventure. And a few weeks later, this (seemingly) trivial aspect of flying abroad continues to manifest a marvel beyond me.

The words:

  • Sidewalk vs. Pavement
  • Roommate vs. Flatmate
  • Trash vs. Litter
  • Thank you vs. Cheers
  • Queue vs. Line
  • Elevator vs. Lift
  • Bathroom vs. Loo

I could go on and on…

Adjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study AbroadAdjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study Abroad

And how about the fact that each culture drives “on the wrong side of the street?” I will tell you one thing, if I make it back to the States without being plastered by a vehicle (on account of looking the wrong direction prior to crossing), I am calling all Olympians for their gold medals. Let’s just cease to mention the fact that the “Look Right –>“ and “<– Look Left” that paints the crossings has saved my happy-traveling-behind a good too many times.

Adjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study AbroadAdjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study Abroad

So.

Be prepared for a change, but a positive one at that.

Be prepared to count your pounds and pence slow as a turtle, but do it. It is the only way to learn.

Be prepared to stand amiss when riding the incorrect tube line and be prepared to board the wrong bus – but enjoy the ride, getting lost remains a part of the adventure.

Lastly, stand ready to obtain a sore jawline from constantly picking it up off the floor at the extraordinary views.

The Thames, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and of course, the London Eye – do not exclude them; you will regret it.

Adjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study AbroadAdjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study AbroadAdjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study Abroad
Adjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study AbroadAdjusting to Life in London: Language, Logistics, and Landmarks | AIFS Study Abroad

It is incredible, is it not? How have I already been here only a few weeks and blessed my eyes with countless incredible sights? Time stands to fly, and my only worry remains to be, “Will three months even be enough time to discover everything London stands to offer?”

Because this city leads no step to an ordinary path. So be prepared.

This post was contributed by Stephanie Onderick, who is spending her fall semester with AIFS in London, England.

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