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What No One Tells You About Studying Abroad

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I interviewed my roommate, Gianna, on her experiences living and studying abroad in London, England. I usually write from my perspective of studying abroad, so here is an in-depth look from another perspective.

Her Campus (HC): What surprised you about studying abroad?

Gianna (G): I was surprised how quickly I adjusted to living here. When we landed, it felt like we might as well have been on another planet. Now, London is just part of my daily life, and school has never been better. Every week we do an hour-long lecture and then our professors will take us to a museum for the remainder of class. Plus, I have more friends here in London than in my hometown. Life is just better in England.

HC: How would you compare the first week to now?

G: The first week was very overwhelming, and the first few days here were absolutely miserable. We slept for an hour on our eight-hour flight from Chicago to London, and to top it all off we were a day late to arriving here because our first flight was canceled, so we missed orientation and meeting everyone in the program that first day. We were so exhausted after sleeping only an hour and by night we were wandering around a city we’d never been to, completely sleep-deprived.

I remember wondering what I was even doing here. The first two weeks felt like two months; my perception of time was so screwed up as we were so jam-packed and busy. However, it got so much better. Eventually, we made some really great friends and we’ve been to so many places in the city and overall country. Next week we’re even going to Dublin, Ireland for fall break.

HC: Do you have any regrets about studying abroad?

G: I guess there were some typical college experiences we missed out on, like living in a typical dorm and football games. We also won’t see our families until Christmas break, and it’s crazy to think we haven’t seen them in two months. But then again, we are in London. It doesn’t get much better than this. I still talk to my mom and sister every day and I still attend my family events over Zoom and FaceTime.

HC: What would you want someone to know who is considering studying abroad?

G: I think this applies to anyone studying abroad or just college in general: your roommates might not be your best friends. And that’s okay. There’s a lot of pressure in the media that your college roommates are going to be the only people you hang out with. While I am friends with my roommates, I’ve found that my neighbors across the hall are the people I will be spending most of my time with when I’m in Tallahassee later on.

Additionally, I ended up with completely different friends than people I thought I would end up with. I remember looking through names on program lists and looking people up on Instagram and guessing who my friend groups would be. Now, I have a completely different set of friends.

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Hi! I’m Hannah! I’m from a small town outside of Chicago. Currently, I’m studying abroad in London through Florida State. My major is Creative Writing with a minor in Film.
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