The Study Abroad Experience: London, England

I have been studying abroad in London for the last five months, and I’ve become somewhat of a wanderer. It all started one Sunday morning only a few weeks after I arrived when I got on a bus. I can’t really describe it, but I got the sudden urge to just get on a bus. So I waited for the first bus to come by (one that I hadn’t ever ridden before), and I got on. Just like that.

As I rode, I told myself that I’d just hop off at any stop that looked interesting. However, I lost myself as I people-watched and took in the scenery. Thus, I ended up staying on the bus until the very last stop. When I got off, I was I bit nervous about having to improvise my way home, but I found the challenge exciting as well. This is what studying abroad was all about; I had broken out of the “tourist” way of doing things and was having an authentic experience while exploring new parts of the city.

After that, I was hooked. Some days I had a stop in mind; some days I just got on whatever bus or train came first. Some days I brought a book or headphones with me, and others I was just content to sit and ride.

I knew that going out on my own, both around London and internationally, was a good thing, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how much I’ve benefited from it. Not only did I get to see and do things that I may have missed out on, but I got to know the city better as a whole. Additionally, independent travel has helped me feel more confident and free.

Personally, I really think that some of the trips I’ve taken alone have been the most rewarding part of my study abroad experience, and I’ll always be grateful for that one sunny day that I decided to jump on the bus.

Please note: Student Claire Weckerly ’19 originally wrote this article for The Etownian’s weekly ‘Study Abroad Experience’ article. It was originally published on May 3, 2018. The Etownian is Elizabethtown College’s student newspaper. Click here to view the original article.

About the Author – Claire Weckerly ’19

Claire is a biology major, who studied abroad in London, England for the spring 2018 semester. While abroad, Claire served as a BCA Study Abroad Storyteller and wrote the blog, The Top 5 “London Things” I still can’t get use to and did several Snapchat Takeovers.

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