Life Changing London

On May 15, 2018, I departed from Toronto airport en route for London. Through my program, CAPA London, I lived in a flat with four other girls, one of which was also a SUNY Oswego student. The other three were students at University of Pittsburgh. Thanks to CAPA London, we were able to attend a panoramic tour of the city of London on the same day as the most recent royal wedding.

When my eyes spotted Tower Bridge the first weekend, I swear my heart grew three sizes. The history in London is everywhere, and no matter where you go, you become a part of it and are able to immerse yourself in the culture.

Prior to leaving for London, I thought for a long time about what I wanted out of my six weeks abroad. Among them were things like: mastering the Tube and becoming so familiar that I could be mistaken for a Londoner. Most importantly though, I wanted to make this trip about me.

I was in dire need for self-reflection, self-discovery, and self-love.

 

At first, I tried doing this by isolating myself and going on adventures alone or with my roommates. I didn’t want any distractions from finding out who I really was. Then the magic of CAPA came into play. I found people in my classes, along with my roommates, that I would ultimately find myself through.

I needed a push to talk more and bring my personality outward. Classes like Shakespeare in London required presentations and a lot of group participation. I didn’t know a soul in the room, but by the end of the six weeks, the class had become something I looked forward to because of socialization in a learning environment.

We left CAPA and headed for South Bank toward Shakespeare’s Globe, where we watched plays in the standing room section. Although I’m not a theatre person, there was not a show I didn’t enjoy. This is with the exception of the last show I attended because I mostly was distracted by the fact I had gone alone and was not with the people who I enjoyed accompanying me.

I began wanting people to come on journeys around the city with me. It was like when you see a beautiful sunset or a starry night, and you wish you could share it with all the people you care about -- only you are in London with people you never saw coming and have grown to adore.

​Some days I would hop on the Tube and get off at random stops just to see what London had in store that day. This resulted in finding places like Portobello Market, Fortnum & Mason, and unique cafes. It also resulted in stories to tell about getting lost.

Wandering around the streets of London now feels like it was one big dream. The life I lived for six weeks was a life I had only ever imagined, and CAPA made it all real.

I constantly think about running around the city with people I never wanted to leave, tea I can never seem to replicate and sights that I will never forget. I learned more history than my heart could handle. I wanted to scream all the information I learned from the top of scaffolded Big Ben.

I kept a blog for family and close friends to keep track of my time abroad. It was like an online diary that I now get to look back on and reminisce. CAPA also offers a scholarship for students who are interested in keeping a blog or vlog that one can apply for.

Studying abroad through CAPA was a turning point in my life. Going to a new country on my own gave me the opportunity to shake loose of other people’s voices in my head and discover what I wanted, who I was, and most importantly, where I wanted to be. I intend to return to London because I managed to create my own home in a city full of diversity and strangers.

CAPA London was the best decision I could have made for myself, and I will always be grateful and inspired by my time studying abroad.