After my full first week in London I have experienced a few difficulties. I thought it would be nice to prepare some tips so that others don’t face the same struggles while trying to adapt to their new environment.
First and foremost, MAKE A PACKING LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE! As soon as I arrived in London I began unpacking and realized I forgot my laptop charger at home. As you can imagine, a laptop is a pretty important tool for studying abroad. I went directly to the Apple store, which was within walking distance luckily, and my card got declined.
Which brings me to tip #2 – tell your bank you are going abroad, tell them again, and then call customer service just to triple check. I went to my local branch about a week before I left and told them I would be in Europe from May – July. They assured me my card would would and it was marked for a vacation so that my purchases wouldn’t appear fraudulent. When my card got declined at Apple, I called them and they reassured me it would be fine. The next day I went to buy groceries and my card got declined yet again. I ended up calling my bank about 4 times this week just so I could have spending money. Don’t end up like me, talk to your bank before you leave.
My last tip for the first week abroad is to just be social and talk to everyone you can. When I signed up for this trip I knew one person that was coming to London and they live all the way across the city from me, so I knew I had to make some new friends. Just talk to everyone, ask questions, be social and you’ll make new, close friends very quickly.