Ever wonder how you'll adjust to life abroad while balancing a new experience and staying connected back home? Here are a few things that could make your immersion in London better!
Crazily enough, I am already halfway through my semester in London! Although it feels like I have been living, working, and studying here forever, the fact that I am about a month and a half from being back home in Chicago blows my mind! I knew that there was going to be a bit of an adjustment period when first coming to London, so during that time of being here the first few weeks, I made my best effort to take myself a bit outside of my comfort zone and try new things to immerse myself in the culture and city. Along with that though, I knew that I would need to find things to make my transition a little easier.
As my fall break comes to an end, and I begin the start of the second half of my program, I have reflected on what helped me adjust to living my new London life! Here are my tips that helped me adjust in my new home!
Buy a fluffy blanket and pillow!
The second day I got here, I made my way over to Primark (best discovery I've made since being in London!) and bought myself a fluffy blanket and another pillow. Although CAPA provides students with fully-furnished apartments and linens, I wanted an extra blanket and pillow for my bed and it has made the world of a difference! A soft throw blanket is always a must!
With me on the plane, I brought some of my favorite snacks—with a few extra for the following days. Who doesn’t want Oreos and fruit snacks! Right when I got here I also went to the store and found a whole bunch of new snacks to try (many of them have now become my new favorites!). My favorite from my newly found treats is the Milk Chocolate Digestive cookies and Mars Bars—clearly I am a chocolate lover, and they are so delicious!
Go on walks
I have always loved spending time outdoors and walking, and the best way to get adjusted and learn a new area is to walk around and discover it yourself. I am living in the Whitechapel neighborhood while studying in London, and before coming here I didn’t know much about it other than it being right around the corner from Brick Lane, where all the curry is! The first few days I was able to walk around and see everything that was around me, and CAPA even had walking tours for us the second day we were here so we could learn about all our neighborhoods had to offer! Walking was definitely one of the top reasons I was able to adjust faster, because I was able to see and feel my surroundings by discovering them myself.
Continue to keep up to date with things at home
I make sure to text my friends and family at home on a constant basis, and also try to have weekly calls with them all so I am able to hear everything that is happening back in the States. This really helps me stay up to date, as well as still feel present back home and at my home university while I am studying in London.
Make home-cooked meals
My roommates and I all cook dinner together. In the first few weeks of us contributing to the dinners by buying the ingredients, cooking it, and eating all together, we were able to learn more about each other and talk about what we were looking forward to and what was up in our busy lives each night. I think this really helped me adjust because I was able to eat some of my favorite foods, as well as spend time with my new friends and flatmates!
Create a list of things you want to see and do
I’ve found the best way to keep myself from either thinking of home or different things I miss is to continuously see and do new things. Before coming to London I had made a list of different places I wanted to visit, foods I wanted to try, and activities I wanted to experience, and since getting here and talking to the CAPA staff, new friends I’ve made, and my supervisors at my internship, that list has only grown. By doing this I am continuing to learn more about London and see as much of the city as possible while being here! One thing on my list is seeing Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland!
It is crazy that we are approaching the home stretch of being here, but I am excited to see where else London takes me! I am looking forward to all that comes in the next few weeks!
Kathleen Gorman is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2022, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Marketing major at Providence College, she is studying and interning abroad in London this semester.
Kathleen's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.