London has become a second home to me over the past seven weeks. I remember when I first arrived and I was so nervous about everything, but that seems like such a long time ago. Since then I have learned a lot and feel very comfortable here in London as an American. One of my favorite things about London is the variety of people that you meet. I probably hear five or more different accents every day. Instead of just learning about the UK, I am learning about the world.
Before I left I managed to talk to Scott Handley about doing this study away program. He was very helpful and assured me that the program would satisfy my public affairs requirement for the Honors College. Honestly I didn’t know about this requirement before. He also told me that I wouldn’t have a problem with the 30 credit hours per year requirement either, since my program was only for 12 credit hours. Overall, I am glad I actually went there to get the information instead of just calling or emailing. I also got some pretty good advice about the rest of my classes and registration as well. Now we have registration for Spring 2012 to look forward to, or worry about. At least this time I don’t have to wake up early, because it will be 1:00 p.m. here.
One of the reasons I chose to study in London is because I already knew the language. I didn’t realize exactly how different actual English is from American English. At first I had a hard time remembering to say trousers, instead of pants, and there was a lot of confusion when talking about crisps, chips, and fries. I still don’t know how to request a dinner roll, since our American biscuits are called rolls, and our cookies are called biscuits here. There are still many more language differences that confuse me and whoever I am talking to.
At first I was really nervous that the people would not be very friendly, but after a few days, I learned that they are generally very nice and willing to help whenever possible. When I first arrived and had to carry my suitcase up the steps from the tube station, a British man helped me with it. I have a lot more stories about British helpfulness and politeness. Going into the shops is another thing. Generally the cashiers are nice, especially if you have cash or a local card. Sometimes it is hard to get the cashiers to accept my bank card since it does not have a chip on it like the local cards. You can also get funny looks if you pay with exact change or don’t wait in the right spot for the queue.
I have learned a lot already and still manage to pick up more information from daily interactions as well as my classes. Life continues as usual, but in a few days I will be making my way to Rome. Right now my time here in London is almost half over. Not to worry though–I think I may have to come back.