I have approximately less than three weeks left in London, and I have to admit I’m sad. During the six months studying here, I didn’t always feel a connection with London. In the first month or so, it was all bliss. I eagerly dressed up and went out to either a club, museum, or restaurant every week, and it was fun. I would take lots of pictures, try to meet as much people as possible, and see as much sites as possible all within my budget of course.
After my reading week, which was my week long break in February, my sentiments about London were a bit different. I travelled to Paris and Barcelona, instead of studying, and though it was an amazing trip, I had three essays to write when I got back — one of which I did not even know I had to do until three days before the due date.
I cannot lie to you it was rough getting those essays done. I did not leave my house for that whole week because I needed to utilize every second, every minute, and every hour to work on my essays. Classes were no longer interesting because I did not feel the need to learn concepts that are not relevant to my essays or my degree back home and almost all lectures were not. I admit for this reason I stopped going to class by March.
At the end of March, I had completed eight different essays of differing lengths and had almost entirely stopped going out and class to finish them.
I was miserable. I was overwhelmed by the essays. I was no longer having an enjoyable abroad experience. I was lonely. I spent too many hours just by myself or with my parents via Skype. I wanted to be home. I wanted to be with my loving family, my friends from my home church and those from school. I wanted to go back to Cornell and stress over exams there instead of writing pointless essays. I was over studying abroad.
By the time April came around, a new worry surfaced. My birthday was approaching and I was worried about how I was going to celebrate it, seeing that I felt at the time that no one would want to celebrate it with me. I decided to just plan a trip and visit my friends that I was sure of. I flew to Rome the weekend before my birthday and I had an amazing time with my Cornell friends. You can watch my adventures in Rome and my birthday celebration here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH49bFc09MU).
Fortunately, my birthday was also a big success. I mustered up the courage to plan a dinner for myself on my birthday even though it was on a Tuesday. I also paid for a makeover and photoshoot the morning of with one of my friend who was also studying abroad in London. Read my previous blog or follow the link above to read/watch what happened on my birthday.
After my birthday, I did quite a lot of travelling throughout Europe. I went to Dublin, Ireland, then Amsterdam and Brussels, and then Athens in Greece, back to Rome, back to Barcelona, and then to Valencia also in Spain. It was on these trips that I began to appreciate studying abroad. I went to seven different cities, and six different countries in the span of three weeks. I have seen sights and eat food that most people have only seen on the internet or in their dreams. I am not bragging; I am thankful. I may write a separate post on how I was able to do all that during my time abroad.
Anyways, I have been back in London since May 8th. My parents came to visit me two weeks ago and I was able to show them around with no problem. It was a proud moment for me to feel like a local just taking around tourists.
After all I’ve been through, all I did, and all I felt, studying abroad right now is worth all of it. It was worth the money spent, the short periods of loneliness, the pictures, the bellies full of food. It was worth the annoying essays and passport stamps. It was worth the new British and American friends, some of which I can consider family. It was worth the experience!
I finally feel like London is home, well a third home (after NYC and after Cornell you know). There are still places I want to go in London on my to-do list and hopefully, I can visit them before I leave. But if there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s that I will miss this place. London has truly grown on me, and I would not trade studying abroad here for the world. In March, I would have thought I made the wrong decision, but as I finish typing this post now on today, May 31st, 2015, in New Cross, London, UK, I have to say I KNOW I didn’t.
Thanks for reading.