Well, it is that time in the semester. The time where all your assignments start to pile up, and it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all you need to achieve. It’s also that time of the semester where I have to start packing up my life abroad, and prepare to return to California.
Since I am preparing for my inevitable departure, I decided to reflect on my time in London, and talk about what I’ve learned, as well as some things I wish I had known before studying abroad.
Things I’ve Learned
- It’s okay to do things on your own. At first I found this intimidating, but I have since discovered that it is actually kind of liberating. Getting to decide where you want to go, when you want to go, and how long you go for is actually thrilling. You get to decide what the plan is, and you don’t have to rely on the whims of another person which is pretty great.
- You aren’t going to be friends with everyone. I know this is probably kind of obvious, but I feel like it’s important. Everybody who studies abroad comes from different backgrounds, family lives, and economic circles. This means there is bound to be some tension. Instead of getting jealous because somebody can afford to travel more than you, or somebody went to an exhibit at a gallery you couldn’t get tickets for, remember that there are countless things you can experience. So don’t get discouraged, just get out there and have fun!
- London is huge. Everytime I think I’ve seen and done everything I wanted to do, I discover something new that I haven’t heard of before. London is big and busy, but I wouldn’t trade a second I’ve spent here for anything. It’s okay if you don’t get to see and do all the things you want to the first time around, you can always come back!
Things I Wish I Had Known
- Public transportation is not nearly as scary as it seems. Being from Northern California where public transportation is almost non existent, I’ll admit I had never really used it before. The first time I used the Tube I was paranoid I was on the wrong train or that I would get lost. I felt like I was going to throw up! After that I realized that the Tube map is pretty straightforward, and as long as you know your final destination, you can get anywhere in London.
- You’ll get more homesick than you thought. I’ll be completely honest and say that I thought I’d be a total badass and not get homesick at all. And it’s true, I didn’t… much. My homesickness would hit me at the most random times and leave me feeling really hollow and lonely. However, I did not let that stop me from having an amazing time! Every time I found myself getting homesick I’d look up something new to experience, do it and have an amazing day. It was difficult at first. However, when I distracted myself with new and exciting things, it made missing home easier.
Okay, I think those are all the tips and tricks I can think of. Now I’m off to pack and say goodbye to this beautiful city that I’ve been lucky enough to call home for the last three months. Until next time London!
Isabella Selvitella is a student from the College of San Mateo, studying abroad in London, England through an AIFS Customized Faculty-Led program. Isabella has a passion for writing and travelling and is excited to explore both of these while in London this Fall. Keep checking back for future blogs posts here.