As I have spoken about in previous blog posts, I was never much of a traveler growing up. I am not a risk taker and I rarely stray from my comfort zone, but taking this leap to study abroad has definitely given me the opportunity to develop new skills and grow. Since I am in a completely new city in a completely new country with completely new people (besides Ellen, hi Ellen!), I had to learn to be more flexible and go with the flow. While I like to stick to a schedule at home, I have learned that if new opportunities arise, I should start saying “yes” to as much as I can to experience London. This has allowed me to become more open-minded as well, open to trying new foods, new experiences, and new places.
As far as technical skills go, I certainly have a resume of skills that I never thought I would possess. I can tell you almost anything about how to navigate the London Underground system (what tube lines to take, where they go, where to transfer lines), or how to use the monetary system here in Britain. I have become a pro at converting Celsius to Fahrenheit and pounds to dollars, and even kilograms to pounds. This proved to be a necessity fairly quickly, after a few breakdowns about why I could lift only half as much as before at the gym (spoiler alert, I just forgot it was kilograms). I have also learned so much about traveling, with aspects like packing, planning trips, getting to the airports on time, and how to find accommodations in safe, affordable places. All these skills, some being more useful than others, are skills that I can take with me past this study abroad experience.
Even just interacting with the other students from across the United States and the London locals has been fascinating, as well. It is no secret that I have struggled with homesickness here, but it has been amazing to see how quickly we can connect with fellow CAPA students just over the commonality of being an American. There is an immediate understanding and feeling of familiarity hearing that American accent, and an overwhelming sense of patriotism. I never knew how proud I was to be an American prior to coming here, and learning of “believed freedom” from the locals. This experience has led me to realize how much freedom Americans do have, and how grateful I am to live there. I am sure that this is a bit of a unique take on this study abroad experience, since I assume most people love it so much that they never want to leave, but this experience has made me even more grateful for the little things that we take for granted at home. So, cheers, and see you in 30 days America! xx