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Just over two years ago, I hopped off a plane at EWR (Newark Airport,) having moved to America with my family. Given that I had been to America a few times before and had grown up glued to Disney Channel, I thought I knew exactly what it was going to be like, yet reality was very different to my expectations.

I spent my first couple of months on my summer vacation exploring New York City. I was in love with the towering skyscrapers, the hustle and bustle of the city and the food (edible cookie dough!) There were little things I found annoying, like using Fahrenheit and not having taxes included in the price, but who cares when you’re living your best Gossip Girl life?

After eating my weight’s work in cookie dough and Shake Shack, September rolled around and school began, and reality fully sunk in. Most people at my school had been in the same district their whole life, so they not only were accustomed to the school system, but had the same friends since they were tiny. Me? I felt like a little fish in a big pond, and struggled to make friends, even though my school had 2500 people. The school system was super strange to me, as I’d gone from starting school at 9am to starting at 7:20am, meaning a grueling 5:30am wake up. The lack of A Levels also meant I was forced to continue with subjects I’m not a fan of. I began to feel incredibly homesick, and even missed the weirdest things- from my daily bus journey to school, to snacks I couldn’t find in the States.

It definitely took me a while to feel more at home, but once I did, everything started falling into place. I joined a Ceramics class, and despite the fact that all my bowls were dented, I ended up meeting one of my closest friends. I spoke up more in classes, and found that people were super eager to ask me questions about England and wanting my opinion on their faux British accent. I remember being heartbroken when I found out we wouldn’t be going back to school due to the pandemic, the same school that I had dreaded attending just two years before.

Living in America hasn’t always been a party in the USA, but I’m definitely thankful that we moved here. It’s pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I’ve made some truly amazing friends.


Helena is a first year at King's College London, studying global health. Though her family lives in New Jersey, she grew up in South West London. In her free time, she loves creative writing, making too much pitta bread and watching true crime documentaries. She loves sunny weather and is always looking for an excuse to head to the beach.
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