A Year In London As A Study Abroad Student
What’s your name?
My name is Lauren but I go by Elle.
What brought you to the U.K.?
I’m studying abroad for a year at the New York University in London campus for the Liberal Studies program. I’ll be spending the next three years in NYC. I have to admit that as weeks pass by I feel a shift in gratitude- I am way more grateful to be here and my love for London has only been increasing.
Can you describe the process of becoming a student in a foreign country?
It was a lot of paperwork in the summer. You had to be on top of things in terms of organization and making sure you were getting forms in on time. This was slightly challenging because it was during the summer months, but there was a lot of connectivity through social media. A lot of students were able to communicate and ask questions so it didn’t feel like I was doing it alone.
How would you compare being a university student there versus being a student in the United States?
Honestly, I love my experience so far. It’s like being in a gap year except with classes. I get to travel and learn independence on my own. College is vastly different than high school itself so I can’t really compare since I haven’t been a uni student in the States yet.
How familiar with American culture were your classmates?
People are from everywhere in the world. We have students from China, Thailand, Venezuela, and many from the states. Though it can be a bit of an ‘American bubble’ at times, we have opportunities to join clubs with UCL (University College London) and work with locals.
Moving to any country is an adjustment. What’s been your biggest adjustment so far?
British culture is different in the tiniest ways but with everything- currency, slang/language, food, mannerisms and social courtesy. I also am lucky to have found a job quickly (about three weeks into my move). Balancing college, travel, and work is the best “stress” I can have, really.
Have you discovered any traditional British foods?
I love full English breakfast and ketchup beans. I also like pasties. I have yet to eat fish and chips or Indian food since I’ve come here as it’s not as popular as you would think. I also want to try Yorkshire pudding and treacle tart.
Are there any terms, sayings or slang that’s used in London that an American might not be so familiar with?
Cheers- thanks/see you
How easy was it moving around London and the surrounding area?
I love how huge London is, yet incredibly diverse and different in each borough. You walk a few streets or take a tube to some location and it seems like a different city. I love being in central London, I walk mostly everywhere. In a matter of days I was slowly learning my neighborhood. Google maps isn’t always reliable but I use that to navigate on the tube and such.
If there’s one piece of advice you can give to anyone looking to work or move to the U.K. what would it be?
Take advantage of the opportunities the U.K. has! I have so many planned trips and have been to Scotland and Italy. London is also full of sights and you can’t really be bored unless you really try. I’d definitely recommend studying here as it is a cultural hub, and also I’ve enjoyed working so far. I think you can’t have experiences like studying abroad ever, in your life. I see this year with such a thankful sense and I’m way more optimistic a month or two into it, than I was months before actually coming here.