It’s been over one month since I touched down in London town, and as cliché as it sounds; it has gone by so quickly. I’m happy to say that I’m adjusting and I would like to think that London life suits me quite well. When I left the US at the beginning of September, I knew that study abroad would be an adventure, but I never pictured how quickly I would feel at home here. That’s not to say that the novelty of being in another country has worn off yet, just that there’s something comforting in walking down the street, and feeling like you’re not in a new place.
I am not ashamed to say that I am a massive anglophile, so as you can imagine, getting to study in London for the year is essentially a dream come true. It’s possible that my pre-existing love for all things British set my expectations high for this city, but needless to say, London has not disappointed me yet. Within my first week of being here, I checked off so many items on my “things to do in London” list (yes, I made a list before I left, and yes, I will do everything on it). From the mundane to the touristy, there is something for everyone here, and I love that I can always find something to do.
I have spent many a Wednesday (my one day without any classes) walking around central London. As much as I love my home university in the US, there’s not much you can do off campus without a car. In London, you can get anywhere simply by navigating the extensive public transportation options (thank goodness for CityMapper and Apple Maps). Coming from a small campus in a fairly residential city, the big city life can seem daunting. Everyone seems to know where he or she is going all the time, and it can be slightly unnerving to find your way – especially when you’re on the tube and have no reception with which to check if you’ve gotten on the right line. That being said, over the past month, I’ve learned to trust myself, and not fret about getting a little lost. Even though London seems big, everything is connected so you’ll always be able to find your way back.
Now, don’t get me wrong, London is still a massively bustling city. It’s hard to not feel like a tiny, insignificant speck when you think about the enormity of all the people here (or when you get on the Central line at rush hour). Even more so, it’s a little terrifying to think of all the people who have walked the same paths as me through the city. London is chalk-full of history, and it’s mind-boggling to walk by the places where Mozart created his first symphony, or where Charles Darwin lived. There is so much history etched into the streets of London, and it feels almost surreal to be, in a way, a part of that history. Over the next eight months, I’m excited about seeing how this global city fits into my life, and how I can make my mark here.
With one month down, and eight to go, I’m still so happy to be here. As every day passes, I’m slowly falling more and more in love with this city, and the endless possibilities it presents. London is still a bright, new, shiny toy… but I don’t think I will ever tire of playing with it.
Miriam is studying abroad for the academic year 2016/17 and is from Scripps College in Claremont, California.