This semester, I was lucky enough to be able to play lacrosse while I studied in London. I played with a local club team, Central London Lacrosse, and I had such an amazing time. Playing lacrosse while studying abroad added so much to my experience; I was able to meet more local Londoners, and I was able to play the sport I love. I was worried when I first decided to go abroad that I would not be able to play the game that has come to be such a big part of my life. For me, lacrosse is not just a sport I enjoy playing, but a way to relieve the stresses of school and life. I was so excited when I made the Central 2s team and was able to be part of such a hardworking and friendly program.
Being able to play my sport abroad was like having a little piece of home. Even though the rules were a little different, it was still something familiar that I was able to relate to. At the same time, playing lacrosse abroad introduced me to more of London culture than I could get from the classroom. I learned a lot about British vernacular (or slang) as well as what kinds of people live in London. I learned about the jobs my teammates had and where they went to uni (university). Being on the team also helped me in my classes; in my London Global City class, I wrote a paper on London primary education compared to Chicago primary education. I learned about some of the stuff that they learned in primary school here and it helped me to understand the education system in London better.
Lacrosse wise, I learned so much playing with this team. Here, in England, it is illegal to run through the crease whereas in America you can. This difference has kept me honest in my defensive style, and it has also forced me to stay light on my feet. In America, you are able to kick the ball into space and away from a group in order to pick it up, but in England that is illegal. This difference has forced me to run through the ball close to the ground, and in the end, has made me a better player.
The women on my team and on the program were all so welcoming that it made adjusting to life in London easier. Right away, players were coming up and introducing themselves to me and asking me about my time abroad. Playing lacrosse in London also helped me to see more of London. Though many of our games were cancelled due to rain or the other team conceding, I was able to play in one away game. It was the first time I ever got to ride in a car in London and a great opportunity to bond with my teammates.
Whether it be a sports team, club, volunteer work, or other society, I highly recommend joining an unaffiliated group so you can meet more locals and really get the most you can from your study abroad experience.
Cassandra Jones is an English and Secondary Education student at Illinois Wesleyan University studying abroad in London for Fall 2019. Cassandra is a keen Lacrosse player and a lover of literature. She is very excited about finding ways to keep her passions alive in London and sharing them through her blog posts. Keep checking back for more of Cassandra’s blogs here.