This semester, I left College of Charleston behind and exchanged it for the University of Westminster in London. Ever since I fell in love with Harry Potter in elementary school, I’ve dreamed of visiting London and seeing the major sights (maybe even the queen!). I’ve only been here for three weeks, but so far my experience has been wonderful, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is considering spending a few weeks, a semester, or a full year abroad. If my raving about it isn’t enough, here are 5 reasons why you should consider study abroad (if you’re not already).
1. You will meet fantastic people from all over the world.
One of the things I was most nervous about when I decided to go abroad was making friends. I knew that I would meet lots of new people, but I didn’t know if I would be able to find people who I really connected with and who would want to explore London and travel to other parts of Europe with me. But trust me, things will work out for the best. I’ve since met a lovely group of friends, and it feels like we’ve all known each other for years instead of weeks. A lot of my friends are from America, but I also have friends from Australia, Switzerland, and France, which is just amazing.
2. You will have the opportunity to travel super easily.
Yes, the rumors are true. It is possible to travel in Europe for super cheap. A week and a half ago, we did a day trip to Brighton for £25 round trip. Budgeting is obviously important while abroad, but one of my goals in coming here was making sure I had enough money to travel with, so I’ve been making it happen. This weekend, we’re going to Edinburgh, Scotland for less than £200 including travel and accommodations. I also have trips to Paris, Florence, and Athens planned for the coming weeks.
3. You will see things that you’ve only ever read about or seen on TV.
I’m an English major, so I’ve been totally geeking out whenever I see a reference to Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens, or Jane Austen. So many famous authors have lived here and have written here, and there’s so much history that’s contained in one city. The other day, my friends and I walked over Millennium Bridge on the Thames and all I could think about was how a scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was filmed there – so cool!
4.Your perspective will be completely changed.
There’s so much to learn while abroad. You’re living alone in a whole different country (and continent). For someone like me who had only ever been to Canada and the United States, there was a bit of a culture shock when I first arrived, but it’s surprisingly easy to adjust. It’s so interesting to learn how things operate differently in other parts of the world, and to see how people think differently from what you’re accustomed to. For example, the first week that I was here in London, the explosion at Parson’s Green happened. I was amazed at how calm the British government was with their response. Life goes on is a really big motto here, and while they paid their respects to the victims of the attack, they didn’t allow the terrorists to get the satisfaction of a media circus, which is very different from how things are handled in the U.S. These cultural differences are really interesting and noticeable to an outsider.
5.You’ll fall in love with a whole new part of the world.
I never thought that I’d be lucky enough to call London “home,” but I’m so glad that I am. I feel so comfortable, happy, and safe here, with the people that I’ve met and the places that I’ve gone so far. Yes, there are classes that you have to go to and work that you need to do, but I also have plenty of time to explore the city and really push myself to make the most of this experience, which is everything I’ve ever hoped that it would be.
If you’re interested in reading more about my time abroad, check out my blog: Ebby in London!
All images courtesty of Ebby Bowles.