Studying abroad last summer was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was my first time to Europe and traveling without my family. For six weeks, I walked the streets of London, flew to Dublin for a day and took a bus to Paris for a weekend getaway.
Exploring Europe was by far my favorite thing to do while abroad. While only taking two classes, my days were filled with plenty of time to explore the neighborhoods, parks and museums. After class was over, my friends and I would take the tube and go somewhere new for a couple of hours. Some of my favorite places to go were Camden Market, Hyde Park and Brighton. A bunch of us loved visiting the parks especially since we lived right across from Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. Nick McMenamin said, “my favorite park was probably Greenwich; just being able to lay out a blanket sit with friends and enjoy the London skyline!”
Not only were the parks beautiful during the day and provided an escape from the busy streets and museums, but at night, they were even more breathtaking and quiet. “I’ll never forget the feeling of staying in Hyde Park past dust. As the light filtered out of the beautiful sweeping green space, I still felt comfortable, safe and at peace,” said Eric Newby, who studied abroad with me.
Being abroad also made me a lot more confident and independent. It is really exciting learning how to navigate the train, tube and bus system in another country. After a couple of days, I learned where to get the tube and easily hopped from tube to tube to reach my destination. I also made new friends. All of the people I went abroad with became my family, and we did everything together and bonded over Indian food, shopping at markets and planning weekend trips.
Learning about another culture is much more fun first-hand than in a book. I saw how the British valued silence on public transportation. They also read a lot too. As Megan Healy, my roommate abroad, observed, “on the tube, everyone reads the newspaper – in the U.S., everyone is on their phone scrolling through Twitter or Instagram. Although the newspaper might be dying here, it’s definitely still alive and well in London.”
Every day I miss being in London. I will see someone wearing a British flag hat or will just scroll through my thousands of pictures and wish I was still waking up in my flat in Hyde Gate Park. I’m not the only one with London blues. “The thing I miss most about London is the ability to form relationships with the local shop owners and the friendships that I created that will last a lifetime,” said Erin Morrissey, who studied abroad with me.
The worst part of studying abroad though was when I had to come home. Over the summer, I did miss seeing my family and friends, but I was not ready to come home yet. I wanted to spend more time exploring and being a Londoner. It seems to be a trend among study abroad students that once you travel, you never want to stop.
Did you studying abroad? Please share your experiences in the comments section!