London is an incredibly global city with people from all over the world living in this illustrious location. Interacting with people from all over the globe has brought about some interesting conversations along with many adjustments. Overall, the international aspect of London has made it an easy city to adjust to, but there are still many differences that I’ve come to recognize. Of course, the first that comes to mind is the direction cars drive. It’s taken me quite some time to instinctively look right then left, then right before crossing, however I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. Citizens of London also tend to be much more reserved than what I’m used to in the states. Whether it’s on the tube, in a café, or walking along the street, most people keep to themselves. It’s taken time to learn how to navigate some of these cultural differences, but I’ve enjoyed learning how life is done here in London.
Through my coursework and interacting with classmates, I’ve learned the importance of communication and discipline. The four classes I’m taking here only meet once a week, which is different to what I’m used to in the states. Additionally, the length of my courses dramatically contrasts with what is offered in the states; my classes here are about three and a half hours. Engaging in class for this amount of time was a challenge at first, however I find that participating in discussions and asking questions helps to enhance the conversation in lecture and pass the time. Because class only meets once a week, it’s important to be on top of lectures and stay disciplined when completing assignments outside of class. For presentations and assignments, I’ve found that bouncing ideas off classmates helps tremendously with idea development and discussion. The lectures presented in class offer a unique and international perspective that I’ve come to enjoy.
Living in another county for an extended period has presented challenges and obstacles that I’ve had to overcome. Whether it’s living with new people, taking classes in an unfamiliar location, or managing my coursework with other activities, I’ve found a few things to help me in these uncertain times. Adaptability has been key in my adjustment to living in London. Things are different here no doubt but learning how to adapt and pivot in unexpected situations is a skill that I will use throughout this program and beyond. Seeking harmony amongst classmates and roommates is another skill I’ve utilized since arriving. In constantly meeting new people, learning about others’ interests and seeking similarities has allowed me to develop friendships and spark intriguing conversations. The wonderful thing about studying abroad is that I am developing skills that will serve me well as I enter the workforce following graduation in May.
Over the past month, I have learned so much about this city and myself, I can’t wait to see what’s to come throughout the rest of this experience!