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Living in London: Study Abroad First Impressions

by Natalie Khait
College students at Buckingham Palace in London, England | AIFS Study Abroad

Even though I have been to London before, my initial experience and first impressions upon arriving on the first day of my study abroad experience were totally different than the last time I was here. In April, when I chose to study abroad, I knew I would be leaving my friends, my school, and a place I was totally comfortable in. Since then, I’ve packed up my stuff and left my town in New Jersey. Little did I know that only a week into my experience, I would make new friends and find a new place I could call home.

Here are a few things I’ve noticed during my first week as an American student abroad in London:

Since being here, the first thing I’ve noticed is how loud and rude we Americans can be. When you walk into the tube or a pub, everyone knows that the Americans have arrived because of how loud our voices are. You can hear us from a mile away, no matter where we walk into. I’ve also found that people in London are usually in no hurry (unless it’s rush hour). Everyone working in shops takes their time with everything and they are in no rush.

Another thing that I have noticed is how big London is. Growing up, whenever I would visit or hear about London, I would only really think of what is known as Zone 1. Zone 1 is in Central London and it includes places like Covent Garden, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. Looking at the tube map since I’ve arrived for my study abroad in London, I have discovered how big London really is and all the many places that there are to visit. One thing’s for sure, I can’t wait to explore more of the “real” London and soon act like a local, not like a tourist.

Additionally, there are no crosswalks on every corner like there are in the United States. I’ve found it can get highly irritating, especially if you are in a rush, but it’s something to become accustomed to. Overall the whole driving-on-the-other-side-of-the-road thing is something I am still getting used to.

Even though I have only been studying abroad in London for a week, I am already in love with my new home and can’t wait for all the beautiful adventures that are to come.

London you have already been lovely to me.



College students at Buckingham Palace in London, England | AIFS Study Abroad

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