Studying abroad in London has to be one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever had, and probably ever will have. I learned so much about myself, different cultures, and life over the course of 3.5 months. Living in London was surreal, yes they speak English, but life is so much different.. even in the smallest ways. Taking and relying on public transportation had never been so important. And then there was the walking that us fat Americans never seem to do. I found myself walking a minimum of 2 miles everyday just to get to school, the tube, or the bus station. I never though I would enjoy walking so much... Almost everyday I would go on a walk around the city and find myself in a completely different part of London.
Those of you who know me know that I AM a California girl. Anything below 70 degrees is cold for me, I NEVER wear pants, the beach and my rainbows are my best friends, and the closest I get to layering is a sweatshirt over a tank top. London is NOT California... The weather changes by the minute, its almost always cloudy/rainy/windy, and "warm" is my definition of chilly. While I did find myself complaining about this quite often, it just became a way of life while I was there and I found compromises for my California ways such as: wearing tights under my skirts and dresses, beanies and gloves, and embracing the days it actually didn't rain, and drinking tea like it was oxygen!
My favorite thing about London was the lifestyle and scenery. Hyde Park (London's Central Park) was my second home and I found myself going on runs there or sleeping in the grass every second I could. Walking down Oxford Street, through Covent Gardens, or past Buckingham Palace were some of my favorite memories. I loved going to plays and musicals... While I was there I saw Wicked (FRONT ROW), 39 Steps, Once, Matilda, and MoJo. Being in a place where soccer is so appreciated was so cool to take part in. It wasn't too bad being of legal drinking age while I was there either! Everyone is so carefree, and I felt so cool when I started to learn my way around the city and didn't look like a total tourist.
The last half of the semester abroad I had an internship with an event planning company called Action Challenge. Here I helped design and launch their new website, write content for their publications, and learn a lot about event planning and marketing. The people I worked with were super nice, and of course very interested in the fact that I was not only American, but from California. ("Why did you leave?!" was a common question).