Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Studying Abroad: London London London (Week 1)


Having just hit the one week mark of studying abroad, I decided this would be a good time to share my experiences so far as the initial chaos of excitement combined with pangs of homesickness have subsided and I (think) I can think straight again. Leaving for London felt amazing- I couldn't stop smiling while waiting to board the plane and there was a constant rush of adrenaline hitting me. It just felt so unbelievably good to be physically leaving, it was actually very therapeutic. Maybe it's because I've never been too far from home on my own or because flying across the ocean to a whole new continent really feels like a fresh start for me, either way some tears may have found their way out of my eyes when I watched the lights below me shrink and the clouds above grow closer. Despite everyone else sleeping during the flight, I found I couldn't fall asleep and so I ended up finally watching Inside Out and Slumdog Millionaire, both of which are A++++ and everyone should watch!! I can't believe it took me this long to watch SUCH MASTERPIECES. 


Anyway, the two main reasons I chose to study abroad in London is 1) (NYU) Gallatin's fashion program here is fantastic and 2) I am terrible at French and wouldn't have survived this long in Paris. These reasons are also backed up by my obsession with British History and all things Tudor related. One of my classes, Seeing London's Architecture, is at a different monument/building in London each week (where we literally sit and sketch) and this upcoming class is being held at the Tower of London, somewhere I've been dying to go since reading about Elizabeth Woodville's sons being lost there and Anne Boleyn staying in the Tower before her coronation as tradition dictates and then again when she was awaiting her execution (Anne Boleyn is my fav, expect more posts about her soon) (I may have bought more history books to read for fun today) (it happens). I'm excited to take tours at the palaces (and tea at Kensington Palace!) as well as roam around the many (free!) museums here in London- so far I've only gone to the British Museum, where I had to be rolled out in a wheel chair because my sprained ankle re-sprained itself (there's pictures, I've got to ask my friends to send them to me). I have no shame with being a tourist, I don't know when I'll be back in Europe so I want to do and see as much as possible. And yes, I'll take pictures because pictures are great! I have a terrible memory and I want to be able to remember all this (also why I got a GoPro, video coming soon).


So here's the thing nobody really tells you about: Yes, studying abroad always looks like a blast in pictures online and honestly, it is. It's also awkward and lonely, especially at the start. You're essentially starting over and have to make friends (what a concept) while navigating a new city, trying to find places to eat (a surprisingly rather difficult quest in London)- I've definitely questioned my decision to come here more than once. I'm thankful to have come with so many people I know (thank you Kappa) so there's less pressure to make new friends and less of a danger of becoming unbearably lonely since you know there's always someone to hang out with, but it's still a little tough. I miss the friends who are back home (except for Michelle who will never text me back). Honestly, I'm too sensitive for my own good and take everything way too personally and seriously so it's hard to remind myself to just focus on me without worrying about being left out/ convinced that everyone hates me (thanks brain, really). I recently FaceTimed with a friend who studied abroad before me and she confirmed that she went through a similar experience so it was nice to know it's not just me. 


At the same time, I love my classes (well the ones I've had so far) (even if that one girl couldn't remember my name when she was supposed to introduce me during the icebreaker today) (honestly you had one job) (it's fine), the girls I'm living with are great and I can't wait to get to know them all better, and I'm in freakin' Europe!! In the wise words of Smash Mouth, there's so much to see and so much to do. So this is me, in London, finally, feeling both excited and terrified. For awhile I hated that I put off studying abroad two years for a boy (don't do that) (bad idea) (I PROMISE) but I really feel like this is when I was meant to leave and be on my own. It's cheesy, I know, I can't help it. Cheers to anyone else studying abroad and finding new adventures, and lots of love to everyone back home!

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  2. I am loving reliving my study abroad experience through your blog! Missing you a ton - the house isn't the same without you. You are most definitely not alone in feeling awkward and lonely in the beginning. I went to London without knowing a single person there and it took me a while to make friends. But it was still the best four months of my life! My favorite thing is when is starts to warm up in the spring and the flowers are EVERYWHERE. Be sure to visit Regent's Park and Hyde Park in the spring time to see all the landscaping and the daffodils that grow like weeds. I also highly recommend visiting Fortnum and Mason to look at their insane collection of picnic baskets for sale, plan an outing to see the festivities for Chinese New Year in chinatown (check Trafalgar square for the shows), get coffee at Monmouth coffee shop, look at all the cute shops at Carnaby street (I recommend visiting Cowshed, if you feel like really spoiling yourself), walk through the courtyard at Sommerset House when the fountains are on, and eat as many scones with clotted cream as humanly possible. And then send me pictures of all of it! I have an endless list of things to do so if you ever feel like you have run out of places to visit (you wont), feel free to message me! Miss you!

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