This week I talked to our UNH Her Campus writers Conner Kolter and Jackie Mundry, who are both abroad this semester in London, England. And from the excitement they expressed to tell me all about their time over there so far, I am not sure if they are ever coming back. But who would when you are living in Regent’s Park, a beautiful royal park owned by the Queen!
So sit back (preferably with a cup of tea and some crumpets) and read up about Conner and Jackie’s London adventures.
Why did you choose to study abroad in London?
Conner : I haven’t really experienced diversity before and London is one of the most diverse cities in Europe, so for that reason. Also, I wanted to put myself out of my comfort zone, but not so much where I would end up regretting going abroad. London just seemed like the perfect place for that.
Jackie: I choose London mainly because there isn’t a language barrier but also because London is a city with a lot to do. I still haven’t done everything I want to do here but I’m taking full advantage of the time I have left. I’ve always wanted to see Big Ben too!
What was the hardest part about leaving?
Conner: This sounds so cliché, but it really was leaving most of my friends and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to see or talk to them everyday.
Jackie: The hardest part about leaving was knowing I wasn’t going to see my friends or family for almost four months. I’ve never been this far away from home and was really homesick in the beginning of the semester but I’m thankful for technology so I can talk to all my friends and family whenever I want!
How have you been adjusting to life over there?
Conner: I like to think that I adjust to different situations pretty well, so getting used to London was actually pretty easy. I haven’t really experience any culture shock here! London is really similar to the U.S. is some aspects, we share the same language and essentially the same food. The worst part was the first day we arrived because I didn’t sleep once on the plane ride here. We had orientation and meetings the entire day and when we were done I had been awake for almost 36 hours. Needless to say I was dead asleep by 7pm.
Jackie: I’ve adjusted pretty well. The only really hard thing for me was adjusting to a sleep pattern after being jet-lagged. The food isn’t anything special or different. They love their potatoes here – they offer three different potato options at dinner sometimes.
What are some slang terms they use over there? What is the equivalent to American slang?
Conner: Here they say “cheers” a lot, which can be used in different ways. Some of them are for saying thanks, good bye, a toast to good health and OK. When someone says “you’re so fit” it means you’re hot/good looking, not that you’re in good shape. When someone says “you alright?” it means “how are you?” in the context of a greeting. My favorite is “bloody” which I guess the closest thing to it in America would be the F word, but it is nowhere near as offensive to say. The hardest habit to break was calling french fries “chips” and potato chips “crisps”.
Jackie: I haven’t heard much slang but people say “brilliant” and “lovely” to just about everything. Also it is a lot more common to swear here. I have one professor that uses the “F word” in class so nonchalantly and it always throws me off a little bit.
What has been the most exciting thing about Europe so far?
Conner: That’s so hard! The first couple days in London were by far the best! I was just so overwhelmed with excitement! Being in a new place and immediately seeing everything for the first time is such a high. Scotland is the most gorgeous place I’ve ever seen. It was like I was stepping into a computer background. Also, my best friend just came and visited me for Spring break! We went to Italy with some other girls and it was beyond amazing!
Jackie: I think just seeing things that I’ve seen in pictures in real life have been the most exciting part. I always assumed that the pictures we see online are photo-shopped and that’s not what things look like in person but I was wrong. Everything is even more amazing in person!
What are you most excited to do in the next few months- any trips planned?
Conner: I only have a month left so I’m trying to fit in as much as I can. Right now, my friends and I have a trip to Germany and Poland planned for Easter Break! I’m really excited about Germany because I’m almost 100% German, so it will be cool to see where my family comes from!
Jackie: I’ve already done a lot but in the next month I am most excited for my trip to Paris! I’ve wanted to go to Paris for my whole life and I’m so excited! I’m also traveling to Germany and Poland over my Easter break and we’re going to see Auschwitz concentration camp which I’m super excited for.
What is a common stereo-type of Americans over in England? Are they in any way true?
Conner: Americans unfortunately don’t have the best reputation. In England we are stereotyped as being loud and ignorant. I can totally attest to the loud part, seeing as I am one of the loudest people I know. I’ve even been called out for it here once or twice… British people are more reserved and quiet, so every American is going to be considered loud by default compared to them. I’m glad to say that I haven’t met any ignorant Americans while I’ve been here so far, but I can understand where that idea comes from. Generally speaking, many people don’t take the time to learn and appreciate a different culture and its expectations, so we come off as being oblivious whether it’s intentional or not.
Fun fact: Many people assume that Americans only know how to “dance dirty” which have been interesting conversation to have.
Jackie: People often think Americans are rude and during our orientation they told us that if someone bumps into us to make sure we apologize because we’re American and we don’t want to come off as rude. It seems to be just opposite though because there have been a lot of people that never say sorry to us for accidentally walking into us in the Tube stations or just walking around town.
Who/What are you going to miss most when this is all over?
Conner: I am without a doubt going to miss London in its entirety! The amazing views of the city are at the top of my list and the way everyone dresses up here is a nice change from all the sweats and yoga pants at UNH. I’m going to miss all of the friends that I’ve made that don’t go to UNH, all of the free museums – they hold some of the coolest pieces of history and modern art. I teared up when I saw the Rosetta Stone. No shame. Not having to be 21 to drink is probably up there too…
Jackie: I’m going to miss traveling and seeing new things all the time. I’m also going to miss running in Regent’s Park. We’re fortunate enough to be living in Regent’s Park, which is one of the royal parks owned by the Queen and it’s beautiful! Regent’s Park is huge and I run in the park everyday. I’m always finding new paths to run and I have yet to get sick of it. It’s definitely not the same as running around UNH!
Do you think studying abroad has changed you in any way? Is it something you recommend all students do?
Conner: Studying abroad has definitely changed me in a positive way. You really learn so much about yourself. I have become so much more independent and comfortable with myself, and who I want to be. Being abroad has made me realize all the different experiences and opportunities there are for me to have and you make so many friendships that will last a lifetime. It will be hard for anything to surpass this experience.
If you have the opportunity to study abroad, or even just travel to another country don’t even think about not doing it. You can only benefit from this and you’ll get some pretty great stories out of it! I grew up in Durham and all I have wanted was to get out and see the world and it’s incredible how much you find yourself missing out on by not branching out and trying new things! UNH has a ton of great programs to study abroad with all over the world. Next time there is a fair, I highly recommend you stop by and just see if it’s something you would be interested in doing!
Jackie: I think studying abroad has helped me become more independent. When I’m at school I’m an hour away from home and all my best friends are there for me to lean on. This is the first time I’m completely on my own. I have also strengthened my relationships with some amazing friends since I’ve been here and I am so thankful for that. I would 100% recommend everyone to study abroad if they can. It has been one of the most eye opening experiences of my life and I’m glad that I actually did it because I had my doubts. I think it’s really helped me grow and mature as a person.