Study Abroad Reflection: London
Let me just start this post off by urging you to study abroad if you are able and have the opportunity to. Going to London was absolutely the best decision I have made in college so far.
I also want to preface this with a bit of a disclaimer: I realize that not everyone has the financial means or the time to go to Europe for a month. I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to go to London and travel to multiple cities throughout Europe, and I truly hope that everyone has the capacity to do this at some point in their life whether that be for a week, a month, a couple of months, or a year. Travel may cost a heck-ton of money, but as an *unknown author* said,
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
I promise you is worth it.
I decided to study abroad with one of my best friends, Megan, only a semester into college during my freshman year. My first semester was a really hard time for me. I felt like I had no friends, I missed my family, a hated where I lived, I didn’t really know what i wanted out of life honestly. Even though I didn’t actually leave until December of the next year, making the decision to embark on a new adventure was exactly what I needed. It gave me something to look forward to, something to work towards, and, being the Type A person I am, something to plan.
Side-note: I am not going to go into detail about the specific activities we did, or each individual country we visited in this post (I’ll do others). I will instead just give a general reflection of my experiences.
So Megan and I went to London—actually, we went to Scotland first and then to London—and it was incredible. We did live out of one suitcase and a hotel room for a month, which was kind of difficult when you take big chunky sweaters and jackets into account, but we made it work. Even though it was only one month that we lived on Tottenham Court Road it still kind of felt like a home for me. It wasn’t really that our tiny hotel room felt like home—the street itself, the tube stop, the coffee shops that lined Oxford St. right on the corner: they felt like home. Slug & Lettuce, the infamous restaurant/bar for “buy one, get one free cocktails,” the club “Roxy” down the street, the healthy market nearby—they felt like home. These are places so mundane that I will probably never visit again and that makes me so sad. It makes my heart hurt thinking about a place, even just a little street corner, that felt so much like home being halfway around the world.
I’m not sure what I really wanted to get out of this post. I didn’t write it just to complain that I’m not there and be one of those typical college students who never shuts up about study abroad. I guess I wrote it to try to get across the idea that home is not just the house you grew up in. Home can be a lot of different things—a person, a place, an item. Home can also be so many different things all at once. London, and my “neighborhood” in particular, will always kind of be home for me even if just in my memories. Hopefully some day I will be back, but for now I will just reminisce through my own nostalgia, missing not only the place, but the people that were there with me.
No matter how wonderful they may have been, we do move on from these experiences though. As memories get farther away in our pasts, we move on slowly day by day. We forget some things and we remember others, but London will always be something I remember. The best part about leaving a place, though, is saying “see you soon,” knowing that someday you’ll be back once again.