Hello from London! The First few weeks have been crazy busy, but I am so glad that I made the decision to come to London to study abroad. I am currently living in a neighborhood called Shepherds Bush. This is in the west end of London; one tube stops away from Hammersmith. Hammersmith is a main transportation and business district in London. I am living in a flat with six other amazing roommates who come from different universities all around the United States. We live in a building with 12 other flats, all of which are students that attend the same school here in London that I do. This made it very easy to meet new people and have a friendly face in all my classes. In our neighborhood, our supermarket is right around the corner from our apartment complex, so food shopping is a lot easier than taking the bus to Giant Eagle in Pittsburgh! I am also right near the famous Shepherds Bush Market, which is a great little market for lunch, groceries, and other necessities that are often cheaper at the market compared to retail stores.
Another great aspect of living in Shepherds Bush is the ease of getting around London. The closest station on the tube is within a two-minute walk of our apartment complex. My commute to school takes between 25-30 minutes each way, depending on how long I must wait for the next train to arrive at the station. This is different than at Pitt, as classes are within a 5-minute walk from my apartment, so budgeting extra time to get to and from class has definitely been something that I now have to take into consideration. In Pittsburgh, public transportation is typically seen as slower than driving or taking an uber to your destination, but in London, it is the complete opposite. The preferred and in my opinion, best method to getting around the city is on the tube. London is notorious for traffic, so taking an uber or hailing a cab is a slower and much more expensive way to get around the city.
If you are interested in coming abroad to London, my advice would be to map out and try to explore every neighborhood of London. London Is very spread out from the East to the West and each neighborhood has a unique culture and identity, so trying to see everything that London has to offer will take time, but I believe it is well worth it!