“Good morning, London!”
Every morning I wake and say (in my head) to London. Waking up early for class in very, very, very cold mornings is all worth it when this is the view I wake up to.
But how did I end up here? In London?
Well, I grew up hearing stories about the different countries and cities that my mom has travelled to, the paintings and ancient architectures that she has seen. Naturally, I have developed a desire to see them someday for myself.
I knew I was going to study abroad… So for me, it was a matter of picking the right program for my academic goals. London Semester allows me to complete my upper division G.E.s (I am a second year college student). It is also located very closely to so many countries that I have longed to visit! It’s a complete package!
Did I know anyone in the same program as me before I left for London?
No, I didn’t!
Even though I “met” all of them at the pre-departure meeting, I didn’t know anyone personally.
For a slightly shy and somewhat introverted person (yup, you’re not alone!), I was a little worried, which is why I did a lot of pre-departure planning, assuming that I would be travelling alone the whole trip (guess who was wrong!?)
Was I scared of the idea of being away from home?
Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for younger me), I immigrated from Taiwan to the U.S. at the age of 12. Accordingly, I have experienced every stage of culture shock and have become pretty adaptable to new environments. So no, emotionally, I wasn’t worried about being away from home. Rather, I was more concerned about the logistics of being abroad.
How did I feel before I left the States?
For the most part, I was excited and ready to rock on my journey abroad!!! I began planning trips to nearby countries and to different cities in England. I also started reading guidebooks after guidebooks after guidebooks, pretending like I was already here using Google Map street views…
But I can’t talk about the angel’s voice without also telling you what the devil had whispered over my shoulder.
There were times during the application process when it got tedious and I asked myself if I really wanted it; telling myself, “maybe you shouldn’t go” or “you should quit now”.
There were moments when I thought about the fun times that I would miss back in California. I would think about the events my friends might go to and do without me and I became reluctant to let go of what I had and to leave a place, not necessarily out of comfort, but out of familiarity.
But then I would pick up another guidebook or look at another Lonely Planet article to get inspired, again. And I am glad I did.
So… do I think it’s worth the money and the energy and the stress?
Do you remember when I said that I was worried because I didn’t know anyone in the program? Well, coming to London and meeting the people that I have met, has made me realized this: do what you love, and you’ll eventually meet people who share your passion!
I love the places that I have been to, the friendships that I am cultivating; I love falling asleep at night wondering what adventure awaits tomorrow, and I love looking at the shimmering city lights in the distance and saying, “goodnight, London.”
Tzu-Han Hsu is a Student Representative and Student Blogger who is studying abroad this Spring on an AIFS Customized Faculty-Led program in London, England through California State University, Long Beach.