My Study Abroad Adventure (part 1)

“The trouble is you think you have time” -Buddha

This quote fits perfectly with what I am about to share with you all…

I remember it like it was yesterday…

I was just starting my freshman year of college at Concordia and I was beyond nervous. I was nervous for many reasons which included: never been away from home, meeting complete strangers and hoping to make friends with them, and not knowing what to expect.

Now [ironically], three years later, I am finding myself in the same situation.

For my final year of college, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT, I have decided to partake in a study abroad program for the first semester.  I remember sending in my application to the AIFS study abroad program in Rome, then all of a sudden I found myself one day before leaving for three months still packing. Luckily I got it all figured out and made it to the airport on time.

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I knew that I was about to start the adventure of a life time but something was still beating me up inside. How could it be that I am now a senior in college? It is crazy to think about how quickly time goes. This summer went by so fast it felt as though it had just started. I was really sad at first because I had gotten so used to being  at home with my family and working that adapting to a new life style seemed challenging, and I wasn’t sure, at the moment, if I was ready to accept that challenge. Will I make friends on this trip? That is always one of the scariest questions that will pop up in your head. You are constantly wondering what the people will be like and if they will be accepting of you or if they will be anything like you. Will I be okay in a new place? It is good to challenge yourself and to get unfamiliar with things so that they soon will become familiar to you. With some encouraging words from both family, and friends, I decided that they were right and I had nothing to fear.

With that being said, I took my passport and my carry-on and I was off to London, England.

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Now I have been to London before so I was not as nervous as I thought I would be. Once the wheels touched I found it easy to navigate my way around the airport to baggage claim and through customs. The tricky part was finding my cab driver. The program told us that there would be people with signs that had our names on them so we could easily find them. Sadly, I had a lot of trouble locating my driver and even had to call the help line to make sure I was in the right place. Thankfully I was and eventually I found him standing in a corner. Once we were in the car we were out on the streets of London, well I should say stuck on the streets of London thanks to traffic. It looked like it was going to be a dull rainy day, but it cleared up and it was looking like it would be a rather lovely day.

To my surprise, I was the first one to arrive to the hotel that morning. The woman in charge, Annie, told me that I should go out and explore the area that we were in. Unfortunately, our rooms would not be available until 2pm and it was only 9am. So I decided to take up her suggestion and explored the new area that I was now in! As I was walking along the streets, of course I left my bags at the hotel, I couldn’t help but smile. Here I was a twenty-something-year-old taking over the streets of another country. How lucky am I was all I could think about. I had waited around 2 hours before EVERYONE arrived. I felt a little left out because they all had this moment to bond from the airport to the hotel while I was just wondering  around the streets. I was happy to discover that everyone was very nice and outgoing. I had a really good feeling about this group.

Annie explained to us about the room situation and I was her “little helper.” At first, the students thought I was not a student myself but they soon discovered I was once Annie cleared the air. I felt a little uncomfortable because I felt that I was going to be judged as perhaps, a teachers pet. But I had to shake that comment out of my head and decided not to worry about what other people thought. Once everyone put their bags down we headed to the Russel Square station to get our oyster cards and travel around the city with the trains. The train system in London was very easy to manage and we were all surprised at how nice and clean it was.

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We were really starting to get good at using the system. We took the train from Russel Square all the way to King’s Cross station so we could see where the famous scene in Harry Potter was filmed. I am referring to platform 9 3/4 if you had any trouble trying to remember the scene. The line was so long that we decided to skip out on the photo opportunity. Instead, we went to this sandwich shop called Giraffe. The prices were reasonable seeing as though a burger was 6 pounds. {A pound can be converted into 1.5 U.S dollars}. After a quick bite to eat, we wanted to go to The Camden Market. That was quite an eventual trip!

On our way to the station, we noticed that we lost a member of our group. We had no idea where she was and we had no way of contacting her other than Facebook. After looking around the station for a few minutes, we decided to go to the market in hopes that she would be there. Thankfully she was there and she was just waiting for us to find her. We walked around a little bit and then decided to head back to the hotel for our next adventure.

All in all I would say it was a splendid day.

That’s it for now darlings!

Cheers,

-H

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