Happy 2017 everyone! It’s my first full week back in the office after going home to California for Christmas, and while it’s always a bit brutal to go back to work or school after the holidays, I must say I’m super excited to get this New Year started! I’m not usually the type to make any New Year’s resolutions, but seeing as this is my final term as Programme Intern here at the London Study Centre, I’ve decided it would be useful to have a couple resolutions in order to make the last seven months of my time here as incredible as humanly possible.
I’ve now lived in London for over a year (counting my semester abroad), but there’s still so much I have yet to do and see around London, and the entire United Kingdom as well! I also thought it would be good to make my New Year’s resolutions applicable to students studying abroad in the UK and London – as study abroad students I know it’s a bit overwhelming to figure out what exactly you want to do to get the most out of your experience, so hopefully these resolutions will help all of us!
- GO ON ONE NEW ADVENTURE A WEEK
I absolutely love working in London, but when you’re working Mon-Fri and commuting in
and out of central on the daily, it’s definitely easy to get caught up in a repetitive day to day routine. That’s why one of my New Year’s resolutions is to do at least one different activity a week! Luckily, since I’m always on the hunt for fun stuff going on in London to post on the UCEAP Facebook and Twitter, there are tons of events I’ve already bookmarked, so this resolution shouldn’t be difficult at all. And to be honest, most of the new things I want to try revolve around food, but hey, let me live!
Some ideas I’ve got so far:
- Pop by a museum on my way home from work, because who doesn’t need a stroll with mummies at the British Museum to break up a long journey home?
- Head to a lively food festival for dinner one evening instead of cooking. London is jam packed with great food, and I am here to try all of it. Like hello, the lobster rolls at StreetFeast in Dalston are just calling my name!!
- Take a dance class – I danced all through college until I came back to London, and trying out new classes would be a super fun way to get back in shape and see all the cool things this city has to offer. If you had a hobby or sport you participated in at home, see where you can take it back up at your host university or town – it’s a great way to meet British people too!
- TAKE THE TUBE TO THE END OF THE LINE, AND EXPLORE!
When I studied abroad, I probably only took the Tube to about ten different stations over the course of my stay. By now, I’ve been to more than ten stations, but have still only covered about a fraction of the stations that you can access using the Underground. Thus, my second resolution is to explore more of greater London, by taking the Tube to faraway stations, and getting out to see what there is to offer up top! I’ve already been to Walthamstow Central, which is at the end of the Victoria Line, and there’s a fabulous neon museum out there that you should definitely all check out. Also, this can be a great reason to get out of the city center for a bit of fresh air and greenery. If you don’t believe me, check this link out – they’ve got deer, lidos, and parks galore! Next stop, Uxbridge!
- TALK THE TALK, AND WALK THAT WALK
At the London Study Centre we’re always stressing how walkable London is, especially for all you lucky ducks who get accommodation in Zone 1. Even I’m technically able to walk to central London from my flat out on the fringes of Zone 2, but after
walking 8 miles in the rain to work last Monday due to the Tube strikes, I wouldn’t exactly recommend it. However, as long as my walk to and from work was, it really was a great way to discover all these cool parts of London I’d never laid eyes on before. I was inspired to make a resolution to go on more walks simply with the intention of taking in all the different nooks and crannies around the city. This could be as intense as taking the Tube to a station you’ve never heard of and trying to walk your way back to a familiar place, or as easy as getting off your bus or train a few stops before your home, and walking the rest of the way. Perhaps we can wait on this resolution until temperatures aren’t actually freezing, but if you need some route ideas, here’s a great couple of starting points! After all, they say the best way to see a city is by getting lost in it.
- TRAVEL THE UK AND LEARN ITS GEOGRAPHY
I’m super excited about this resolution, and have been inspired by all of the amazing travel pictures many of you all have shared on Instagram! I’m ashamed to admit that I really haven’t been to that many places around the UK, and I think it’s about dang time I get out there, and so should you! It can be tempting to jet off to Europe every single weekend, but don’t forget that the UK has some amazing places on offer as well.
Also, I’m embarrassingly useless at British geography. For a little island, there’s a lot to cover! I know Scotland’s way up there and Ireland’s over to the left a bit, and I know the names of our host universities, but if you asked me where Norwich was on a map, I really couldn’t tell you. So, I’m trying to wise up on all that reaaal quick. Since trains can be quite cheap, I’m off to book a few weekend and day trips here and there over the next couple of months. A couple of places on my list are: Bath, Dublin, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow, Cornwall, and Cardiff. If you need some inspiration for your own list, I’ve got you covered!
- GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE – DON’T BE BASIC
Okay, let me explain. I’m not trying to call anyone out, and I know we’re all a bit basic in some way, shape or form, but there is zero excuse for studying at a Starbucks all the time! We are living in London after all people!!!
I myself decided to make this resolution when I realized I was going to Costa or Caffé Nero to read or do work way too often. Like hello Rhiannon, why on earth are you reading in a chain café when you could be reading in the bloomin’ British Library itself! See what I mean? We Americans are comfortable in Starbucks, but with this resolution I challenge myself and all of you to get out of that comfort zone, and take advantage of the incredible city we currently inhabit. Study in the beautiful Maughan Library if you’re at KCL, or at a funky little café down your road that no one else knows about. Instead of heading to Oxford Street yet again, go shopping at Dalston Flea Market or in the underground vintage market in Shoreditch. Change it up, you know? I’m going to start switching out my usual spots with something a little more specific to London, and I think it’ll be great, so join me!
Hopefully all these resolutions have given you some inspiration on making the most out of your time studying abroad in the United Kingdom, or at least helped you realize how many amazing things there are to experience while you’re here. If you end up making any of these resolutions for yourself, hit me up with your progress! Tweet me at @UCEAPLondon, or tag me on IG with #ukiuceap or @ukiuceap. Have fun!