A letter to my pre-departure self…
Living in London for three months is an exciting opportunity to grow and stretch beyond the community of Pittsburgh that you’ve grown so accustomed to. Growth won’t come easy, there will be twists and turns in the road that you did not expect, however, the reward will be worth it. Introducing yourself to a community of entirely new people, learning in an unfamiliar environment, and involving yourself in extracurriculars will present uncomfortable situations that you will eventually learn to maneuver. London is a massive city, with many areas to explore, don’t get too overwhelmed in the beginning trying to explore every spot, you have time! The time will go fast, but with each weekend or free afternoon, you will get a new opportunity to discover a different part of the city.
When you return home in December, you won’t be the same person. Your perspective on the world will change and you will learn to appreciate what makes London such an iconic city. You will feel more confident in your ability to adapt to unknown environments, and you will feel a sense of freedom in how you approach every single day with a feeling of curiosity. You won’t realize how much you’ve grown until you look back and reflect on your time spent living in a global city. This opportunity will allow you to go back home feeling a renewed sense of excitement for what’s to come in your future and remind you of how you can truly make a home anywhere in the world.
I know you are scared about all the unknowns, but you will realize throughout this program that everything happened exactly as it was supposed to. While it’s intimidating to think about meeting four new people and living with them for the duration of your time abroad, but I promise you will have so much fun and adapt to an unfamiliar environment. The classes will be interesting, and you will appreciate the unique perspective that you’ll gain by learning about topics specific to London and the UK. And lastly, as scary as it may be, put yourself in uncomfortable situations and stretch beyond your comfort zone! While this will be intimidating at first, you will make connections with locals living in London and be so thankful to have those relationships.
The thing that might surprise you the most is your ability to make London feel like home. There are many challenges coming your way, but you will learn to love this city and the people you have met while you were here. Your ability to adapt and persevere through uncertainty will surprise you, I promise you will look back and be proud of the person you’ve grown to become. You got this!