Lessons I’ve Learned from Living in London

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Today is my last day as the UCEAP London Study Centre intern, and as sad as I am to leave this amazing job and soon this amazing city, I am very grateful for the time I have had here. Working in London was even more of a learning experience than studying abroad at the University of Sussex was, and here are just some of the lessons I have gained by living in England for two of the past three years:

Time really does fly

My year studying abroad felt like the fastest year of my life and when it ended I knew there

ice skating
Ice skating at Somerset House

was so much more I had wanted to do. When I came to England again for this internship, I knew time would once again pass quickly, so I would not put anything off for a later date. Rarely did I spend a weekend binge-watching shows on Netflix, but instead I got myself out of the house and went to markets, museums, or new London neighbourhoods, trying to soak up as much of the city as I could while I was here.

My advice to study abroad students: Make a (reasonable) list of what you want to accomplish while you’re abroad and stick to it. Time will go quickly, especially if you’re only here for one term, so you don’t want to waste it.

There is a lot to see right where you are 

7 sisters
Seven Sisters is less than one hour from Brighton but I went for the first time only a week ago

Since I studied abroad for an entire academic year, I had plenty of time to both travel and stay in England. I would spend some weekends in other countries and others in Brighton, the city home to Sussex. By the time June came around, I thought I knew Brighton well, but I have been back many times this year and I am always introduced to something I have never seen or done before. London is a much larger city than Brighton, so I know that even if I spent every day exploring it I could never see it all. But I have tried (see above).

My advice to study abroad students: You don’t need to travel all the time. Not only is this expensive, but you will miss out on great things to do right there in your Host University city. Study abroad is a great chance to truly experience somewhere new, but if you’re never home, you won’t know what it really feels like to live there.

You will adjust 

Like most study abroad students, I was nervous as I said goodbye to my parents and

shannon and I
Shannon, the Edinburgh Study Centre Intern, and me

boarded the plane for England. I had no idea what was ahead for me. But after a little while, I adjusted and couldn’t believe I had been scared to go. I remembered this as I departed for England the second time for this internship, and although I did have some fears, I knew I would once again adapt. I will take this knowledge into future jobs or when I move to new cities, knowing that if I can get used to living in a foreign country on my own, I can get used to almost anything.

My advice to study abroad students: Nerves are normal but they also teach you about yourself. The ability to overcome your fears and adapt will serve you well in life, so don’t let fears stop you from experiencing something new.