I was lucky enough to come to the UK before my program started with my mom, sister, and aunt. So I got some of the obligatory tourist errands done early—I went on one of the bus tours, had a pint of cider (can’t do beer, sorry), saw Big Ben, went to the free museums, watched other people eat fish and chips (I don’t eat meat either, darn it), and tried to get my mom to stop using a fake British accent before I died of embarrassment. It was terrific, and helped to calm my nerves about living in a foreign country for a year on my own.
Meeting my flat mates also went a long way to making me feel more comfortable, as they are all entirely lovely. I’ve gone from living with all American students to now living with kids from the UK, Italy, America, and Malaysia, which is incredible to me. Some of the most fun I’ve had has been chatting with them or with other friends they’ve brought over about our lives and the intriguing differences but also the similarities between them.
Life in a different country takes a little getting used to, but most of it becomes second nature surprisingly quickly. For instance, I’m not sure how I’ve lived without the tube all of my life, as it is by far the best way to get around and fantastic for people watching. Yes, there were a few awkward moments when I was first trying to figure out the oyster card system and accidentally snuck onto the train without paying (which ends up costing more, so don’t try that), but now it is a flawless process.
I’m glad the tube is so convenient, because there are so many things to do in London. So far I’ve been to several different street markets, the Globe, the London Eye, to an event called VegFest with one of QM’s societies (which are definitely one of the best ways to get involved and make friends), and walked across the Millennium Bridge. I’ve seen The Mousetrap, the Mad Hatter having a tea party on the side of a road, St. Paul’s cathedral, Deadpool and Spiderman chilling together, and a ton of pigeons. It’s a fun city, and I’m glad I get to be here.