I was someone who always wanted to travel abroad. The first time I went to Europe, I knew I needed to go back not just for a week vacation, but that I wanted to live there for at least a semester. I knew it was going to be a tough transition, but I also knew the experience would help make me a more interesting, worldly, and confident person.
Once I made the final decision to spend my fall semester abroad, I next had to figure out where to go. London was someplace that I had visited before and instantly fell in love. At first I thought I wanted to go to a new place for this experience, but as I thought about it, I realized that going to London would allow me the chance to experience the city not as a tourist, but as a resident—as a Brit, even if it was just for a little while.
Settling in to my new life in London was a bit harder than I thought it would be. Me and the other IES students lived in a student residential complex called Nido Kings Cross. Because space is so tight in London, the rooms provided to us were small with little space to store clothes and baggage. The bathroom was even smaller. I would joke with my roommate that you could shower, brush your teeth, and go to the bathroom all at the same time without getting the floor wet. Despite the space issue, I grew to love Nido. The building was super safe and the kitchen area was nice in order to cook instead of spending money on eating out. The location was the best advantage of Nido. We lived just a few blocks from Kings Cross/ St. Pancras station, the travel hub of London.
Other adjustments were a little more difficult, such as being homesick and having to stay up late in order to call my parents as they came home from work in the States. Getting over my homesickness was probably my biggest challenge about going abroad, however London is so exciting that it is easy to forget about issues like that, making them less important.
One of the most memorable experiences in from the program was travelling with the group for our Midterm trip and getting to see so much of Scotland. We spent four days travelling the country seeing Inverness, where we fed reindeer, Oban, and Edinburg, which was one of the most beautiful cities I had ever been to. That whole trip is something I will never forget.
I would definitely recommend this program to anyone thinking about studying abroad. The professors and staff are incredible, the classes all revolved around learning about London and the U.K., and best of all you get to spend three and a half months in this incredible, cultural, and fun city. If I could go back, I would in a heartbeat.