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As much as I love the multicolored leaves on Siena’s campus, and the lingering promise of fancy upperclassmen housing, I will miss out on Loudonville’s beautiful fall season this year. Instead, I will be crossing the pond to fulfill a longtime dream by living, working, and studying in London for the semester. Essentially, I’m trading Siena’s beastly hot first week for some cooler weather right away!

I am one of several Siena students participating in the CAPA London program, which is an amazing opportunity to take classes based around British culture and have an internship in your desired field. I’ve been assigned to work for a health and fitness magazine, so, yes, I’ll totally reenact the fierce city strides of fictional magazine editors as seen in the cinematic masterpiece 13 Going on 30. I’m living in a flat with other American students and basically getting a taste of real adult life (i.e. buying groceries that aren’t limited to just ice cream and tea).  

I know that a lot of people sometimes look down upon London as a study abroad location simply because of its similarities to American cities such as New York or Chicago. However, I feel prepared for both disappointing similarities and surprising differences, because I know that I won’t really feel complete unless this trip happens.

Is this getting too existential? Let me try to explain…

As a freshman, before I even went to the Study Abroad office for information, a part of me considered choosing a more exotic location, but my heart and mind always drifted back to London. It’s hard to express how appealing this city was to the young girl who devoured stories about the Tudors, fell in love with Harry Potter, and had a special fondness for the Mary-Kate and Ashley movie Winning London. In high school, British literature was my favorite English class. The majority of my TV watching included British shows like Doctor Who and Downton Abbey. Friends would tease me because I used some rather British sayings without even noticing – blame Jane Austen for that one. I don’t even mind the rain very much.

I’m also a huge planner, and I consider everything I do in terms of the future – this will be a good story, this would look great on a resume, this will definitely help me down the line. I don’t exactly know what I want to do for a career, but I know that I want to work in Manhattan. Recently I’ve noticed that I’m at my happiest in the city, and I wanted to go to a foreign place that could basically be like my training wheels. London provides a slice of metropolitan work life that would prepare me for professional life in New York City. Plus, England is a great startpoint to travel to other European nations. 

It was late in the spring semester of freshman year that I sat with Brother Brian to discuss programs. When I told him I wanted to go to London, he immediately explained the internship program and little wide-eyed me was sold. This led to a long, occasionally stressful application process, which became an even longer prep period that culminated only two weeks before my flight to the UK. However, something tells me that all of the anxiety is totally worth it.

I have absolutely no clue what’s in store for me these next few months, but I’m thrilled that this is finally happening and that I have the guts to do it. I will be sharing some of my experiences here throughout the semester, as are the other Her Campus members going abroad. I'm also attempting a personal travel blog, Onto London Town. Join us in our journeys!            

Kristen is a 2017 graduate of Siena College with a degree in English and minors in Writing & Communications and Journalism. Although she constantly pines for life in London after studying there for a semester, she calls New York home for now. In addition to previously working as a writer and Senior Editor for Her Campus Siena, she has worked for Her Campus as a News and Pop Culture blogger and a national editorial intern. Kristen has previously written for New York Minute, London's Health and Fitness, and Electronic Products. She makes far too many references to "Friends" and the British royal family. Her blog, where she talks about books, TV, and film, can be found at Bookworms and Fangirls. Follow her on Twitter @kperroney.
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