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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace chapter.

Growing up, I had always had a dream of traveling abroad – whether that be via vacation or through a university program. When narrowing down possible cities and countries to explore and study in, I knew London had always been at the top of my list. From watching clips and television shows surrounding the U.K. for years as a child to finally being here in London, I am so grateful!

As I sit here in my mini accommodation flat, I feel insanely fortunate. Over the last few weeks, I have been waking up to the sound of the London Overground, which I take to campus every day. The daily routine and short-term life I have built here feels surreal. 

As of now, I adore my classes. Most of them consist of journalistic, political and media themes, which I am thrilled to learn more about. It is interesting being here during the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing and comparing the royal and political systems of the United Kingdom versus the United States. For instance, in the states, I feel that a lot of us tend to view The Royal Family as Hollywood celebrities and popular in the tabloids. Meanwhile, on the other hand, citizens of the U.K.  value the monarchy as an institution. In the majority of my classes, we have only spoken about Queen Elizabeth II in a positive light. In fact, one of my professors stated that “we have nothing bad to say about the queen.” Americans and others I know do not value the institution due to past British colonialism and due to the treatment of Diana, Princess of Wales and Megan, Duchess of Sussex. However, the new friends that I have made since moving to London are most definitely in a mourning period along with the rest of the country and vowed to pay their dues to the Queen when she passed away. It is captivating to be living here at such a historical moment for the people of the U.K. as they mourn the loss of their Queen, especially as her photo is exhibited on various screens on tube platforms and in public spaces across London. 

Shifting to a different topic, I’ve had a great time visiting various parts of London – my favorite area at the moment would have to be Camden Town, as well as the district I live in now (think Stars Hollow, but London). Being stagnant in one place for too long has never helped me grow as a person and being in a new city that is accessible to many other countries is an immense advantage to moving here. 

I remember taking a taxi the first night of my arrival and being fascinated with the car ride from Heathrow airport. I was also lucky enough to see one of my favorite bands in concert, New Rules, just a few days after arriving. Being around other fangirls and a band that brings so much comfort was an incredible experience and welcome to London. (BTW stream Go The Distance mixtape on all platforms). Even though it is only September, I already have moments of missing London far in advance of my departure date. 

2022 has been a year full of eye-opening changes and blessings in disguise; moving to London was the cherry on top. I find myself romanticizing and becoming grateful for the little moments every day. Whether it be a walk to the supermarket, having laughing fits with friends on the train, or something as simple as hanging out with flatmates in the evenings after a long day of classes, little moments like these make life sweeter.

Since moving in, I have already learned so much and found myself often comparing parts of London to New York. Here are a few random thoughts I’ve had on the matter: 

  1. Public transportation is safe! Shocking right? (And much cleaner than the New York subway, in my opinion)
  2. Accepting the fact that I AM a tourist, and that’s okay!
  3. Nando’s is a bit overrated; my One Direction fangirl heart was disappointed.
  4. Londoners are not their stereotype! I was expecting coldness and moodiness through interaction, (similar to New York), but everybody has been truly lovely and welcoming! (For the most part).
  5. No gross humidity in late August/early September and it feels amazing.
  6. Gaining an appreciation for New York-style pizza and having quite literally anything I could ever want at any hour of a given day. (Joe’s and Zucker’s, I miss you dearly.)
  7. Pub culture. That’s it.
  8. Lastly, embracing being independent and trying new things alone. Though it sounds utterly terrifying and is easier said than done, taking baby steps of learning how to enjoy time alone has allowed me to enjoy this studying abroad experience myself completely.

As I’ve said, I have only been living here for around two weeks, and I know I have so much to learn, but being here every day has been such a blessing! I’m so incredibly grateful for the friends I’ve made and the places I’ve visited. I am so thrilled to see how much I grow when I head back to Manhattan in the new year.  

If you’re questioning whether or not you should study abroad, I cannot recommend it enough!!

she/her/hers Hi, I'm Lucy! I am studying Communications & Media Arts and Arts & Entertainment Management at Pace University in New York City.