Learning to Live in London


Right now I’ve been in London for two months, with around one more to go. Living in the UK was a much easier transition than I anticipated, which I mostly attribute to not having to learn a new language. However, not everything has been easy.

One of the first struggles I had was navigating the new supermarkets. I’d always go to Giant Eagle, Trader Joe’s, or Aldi whenever I needed to get groceries in Pittsburgh. They were the stores that I grew up going to with my parents, and I never realized how different shopping in London was in comparison. When I first stepped into Lidl, Waitrose, and M&S, I had no idea where anything was. Most of the brands that were my go-to’s were nowhere to be seen. One of the things I found most surprising was that eggs weren’t refrigerated, rather they were just left out on the shelves. Adjusting to all of this took time, however, I’m getting more comfortable as the days go on.

Another thing that took some getting used to was the commute time. In all my time at Pittsburgh I’d been a close walk from my apartment to campus, never having to spend more than fifteen minutes commuting. This changed during my time in London. My commute now takes forty minutes to get to the CAPA education center from my apartment. While this isn’t entirely exclusive to living in London, this increased commute time has definitely changed my morning routine. I think I’ve gotten used to it at this point, as I’ve adapted to make sure I get to class on time. However, that’s not to say it wasn’t a struggle for a short while.

My final struggle had to be the change of currency. During my first month in London, I struggled to understand coin values. Instead of one unit of currency being paper money, in the UK it’s a coin. I’d be paying for something and having to squint at each individual coin in my pocket to see which one is worth one pound (In retrospect, it was the one clearly outlined in brass).

Overall, I’ve enjoyed adapting my life to be able to live in London. Most of the things I found challenging are behind me, which is a shame considering that I’m nearly a month away from the end of the program. Regardless, I’m excited for the rest of the time I’ll spend here.