Going Rogue: My Study Abroad Experience

During the summer of 2015, I was fortunate enough to study at the London School of Economics in the heart of London! (This experience was brought to you by countless hours of babysitting and working as well as donations from Jack Jessen- thanks dad). I took two business classes there (Foundations of Management and Consumer Behavior where I won Best Research Project), but before that, I went backpacking (also known as "going rogue" to our group) with one of my good friends at UGA and some of her friends through Munich, Venice, Milan, and Interlaken. Once I got to my program, I traveled on weekends to Ireland, Scotland, Paris, and of course, places in England like York, Cotswolds, Cambridge, and Oxford! Like many others, I recorded my experiences in this travel blog! It means a lot to me that you are taking part in my adventures by reading this blog, so thanks for stopping by! 

It's Not Goodbye, It's See You Later

Well friends, it is officially my last night across the pond. I will truly be living the poor college kid life after this trip and will be experiencing the beauty of jet lag, yet I am content beyond belief because of the incredible adventures I have been able to partake in during these past seven weeks.  I apologize in advance for this lengthy post, but I would love to share with you what I've done in London these past few weeks as well as what I've learned throughout the duration of my trip, and I wanted to make sure that I included everything!

Last Weeks in London

I could not have asked for a better city to study and live in than London. This city is extremely vibrant, rich in a variety of cultures, and quite fun to be a part of. In addition to my previous adventures here, I've been able to satisfy my inner history nerd with a visit to the incredible Churchill War Rooms, take a day trip to The Cotswolds and The University of Oxford, walk across the famous crosswalk on Abbey Road just like the Beatles did, visit the British Library, see another incredible show (The Lion King) at a local theatre, tour The BBC Broadcasting House, peruse different items and shops at the Camden Market, and most importantly, fan girl at the Warner Brothers Studio Harry Potter Tour.  I also finally caved and got a burrito bowl from the Chipotle in Covent Garden. When Samuel Johnson said that when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, he was most certainly correct; however, I would like to add to that quote that when a woman is tired of London, she is also tired of life. 

Thoughts on Europe

During my trip here, I have learned a lot about how people do things outside of the U.S. Though most of you probably already know these things, I thought I would share my observations because I think they are interesting! 

-Both water and air conditioning are beautiful commodities that should not be taken for granted. Tap water is often neither free nor filtered in Europe, and for some reason, there is little to no air conditioning to be found, which is not very fun when it is upwards of 100 degrees and you are stuck in a stuffy hostel room.

-This one is probably something that everybody already knows, but plugs are different everywhere. Make sure you get adapters for all of the different countries you will be going to as they are different in different places! And on that note, adapters are not the same thing as converters. Unless you have a special hair straightener, you will most likely need a converter!

-Every street looks exactly the same in Venice. If you are traveling there, make sure you print out extremely detailed directions and prepare to get lost even when you do so. 

-Surprisingly enough, the humans here are in charge of their dogs. The dogs follow them without leashes and listen to instructions. Who knew that dogs in the U.S. have been tricking us all this time?

-The airports here are like malls once you get through security, so don't waste any time waiting to go through security. Get through, and enjoy your duty free shopping spree! 

-No matter how many times you go through, customs will always be stressful. The bright side is that once you get through, you get a cool stamp. 

-There is nothing more adorable than a British accent.

-McDonald's is always there for you wherever you go, whether that be to provide a cheap meal or a free bathroom. 

-Though Europeans are way ahead on some things (like including taxes in shelf prices and having great public transportation), everybody here still smokes. And most cigarette buds end up on the ground. 

-Because there is a strong public transportation system, people still read the newspaper in London. It is passed out before they enter the station, and they read during their ride. Great way to stay informed and pass time. 

-Pubs are everything in London. We even had a pub on campus

-In my next life, I will standardize everything to make it easier- currency, units, language, etc. Lots of traveling distress could be avoided this way. 

I have been fortunate enough to visit Munich, Venice, Milan, Interlaken, Dublin, Edinburgh, Paris, and obviously in and around London, and with each city came a new adventure. Every moment was amazing, and I am already planning my future travel destinations if anybody wants to join. :)

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.
— St. Augustine

What I've Learned

I started off my trip and my blog with this quote, and I think it is fitting to come back to it while reflecting on this incredible experience. I now truly know what it means to experience culture, see landmarks firsthand, and meet people who are different than I am. I have definitely caught the travel bug. 

In addition, I am now a professional jaywalker and a Boy Scout navigator of new cities, and I survived an entire seven weeks with only ONE hairband. (Ladies, you know how difficult and impressive of a feat this truly is, so I absolutely had to brag about it). I have learned how to make friends from all over the world, take pleasure in exploring, and enjoy my own company. Growth truly does occur at the end of your comfort zone. 

Before I left, my dad wrote me a letter telling me to take it all in, stay safe, and have a blast! I have kept that in mind this entire trip as I have tried to live every day here to the fullest. This trip has inspired me to pick back up Spanish and tennis, reread Harry Potter, focus on living a healthier lifestyle, and enjoy my own city as I have enjoyed places as a tourist. Everywhere you go has something incredible to offer if you look for those hidden treasures. 

I am going to miss this vibrant city with its cute accents, amazing chocolate bread, and two pound berry deal, but the most important thing that I have learned over here is that it is not about the place, it is about the people. And boy do I have some incredible people in my life, over here and especially at home. How lucky am I to be going back to such amazing friends and family? Courtney even loved me enough to make this. 

 

To be honest, it is a little bit about the place. I am about to start my third year at the best school in the nation in my favorite city in the entire world. (Yes, I am biased. Deal with it). And having only 22 days until Georgia football can make a girl more than a little bit antsy to get home!  Thank you to everybody who has made this trip so incredible, both at home and abroad, thank you to the London School of Economics and Political Science, and thanks to everybody who has followed my blog- it really does mean the world to me. Next stop- Hartsfield Jackson (and the next stop after that will be Chick-fil-a). Cheers!