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

As we all know, Temple University recently had a Mental Health Day on October 14th for all students to take a well-deserved break and rewind for a long weekend. After all, we are more than halfway through the semester. For me, I took a mental health week and decided to travel to London and Paris. Here are some of the differences I noticed between Europe and America and the experiences I gained while on the trip. 

When I first landed in London, I could already sense the automatic change in the environment. Besides driving on the opposite side of the road and the difference in measuring systems, the people are so helpful and kind that I felt welcomed into their country right away. I noticed so many differences between Philadelphia and London. First, I felt safe walking the streets of London due to the strict gun laws that they have. Second, I noticed the overall cleanliness of the whole city. The underground transportation is so safe and efficiently run that I do not feel like my life is at risk while waiting for the subway. When my friend and I went to Paris for the day, we took the Eurostar train and it was spectacular. The inside was spacious, had multiple bathrooms in each car, and it went at a quick speed of over 200 miles per hour, making the 2-hour trip go by instantly. 

A significant difference everyone knows about is the food and portion sizes. The portion sizes in the UK are a lot smaller than the ones in America. I remember I was at Mcdonald’s and I ordered a medium Sprite. When I received it, the cup looked like a “small” because in America, our “small” is considered their “medium”. Another difference I noticed in London and France was that no one understood me every time I would ask for red pepper flakes for my pizza. Every time I would ask for some, they would hand me regular black pepper and I thought I was going insane. I am still not sure if red pepper flakes are used at all in the UK and France but all I know is every time I asked the waiter for some, they looked confused.  

Besides toppings, the food in London and France tasted fresher. Europe is known for having higher quality food and after eating there for the week, I could tell they stand by having healthier and more nutritious ingredients in their food. Everything I ate there had so much flavor to it. My favorite place I ate while visiting was probably Nando’s. Their chicken is seasoned perfectly and the various peri peri sauces they offer make it taste even better. I also can’t forget about the pastries! The baked goods, especially in France, tasted delicious. The croissants and the crepes had to be my favorite. Each bite was filled with that luxury buttery flavor that Europe is known for.  

Overall, I am grateful I was able to experience traveling to London and France. Before going, I have not traveled outside of the country since 2016! It was a pleasure and a joy to have another opportunity to travel outside the country again. If you have the resources to do so, I encourage everyone to travel and explore different places and cultures other than your own. Use the time to recharge and explore the things and the people around you. The benefits are endless. 

Ilana Martin

Temple '24

Hey! I'm Ilana Martin, a senior Media Studies and Production major at Temple University, and I've been diving into the world of fashion and beauty as the Staff Writer for Her Campus Temple. Blending my academic pursuits with my passion for style, I've found a unique voice in celebrating diversity, self-love, and authenticity. From dissecting media representations to covering campus fashion events, each article aims to inspire confidence and challenge conventional norms. As I approach graduation, I'm grateful for the opportunity to leave a mark on Temple's community and the Her Campus chapter, redefining beauty standards and embracing individuality—one article at a time. Cheers to the next chapter! Instagram: @ilanamartinn