Kristen Mansfield, a Journalism major has written a post for us about how she felt on arriving to the ICLC in London. From moving in with strangers to exploring the city, Kristen assures us that being an international student is an experience worth embracing...
It’s a magical place, ya know-- for all the reasons you think, and a lot more I bet you haven’t even thought of yet.
I've had an amazing semester here so far. It’s been about a month and a week and I could not be happier with ICLC and my life here! When we first got to London, it was like a mad dash for necessities to help us get settled- cheap European phone, underground pass, a place to live! And that brought on its own set of things we needed to buy- kitchenware, groceries, towels, soaps, blankets... so many things to think about! And the exchange rate wasn't very pleasant when we were buying things to move in. “I’m sorry money-guy, did you just say my $60 would only give me £30?” Cue the quiet sobs.
But after a month, my flatmates (whom I didn't even know prior to coming here!) and I feel truly settled and basically alleviated of any survival concerns. Oh you need a packet of sugar? We got you. Point you to the nearest ATM? It’s just around the corner. Aw you forgot how to get home on the bus? Let me tell you the way... (And yes having sugar is a survival concern and should be taken very seriously)
My internship keeps me busy pretty much all of Monday and Tuesday, while school takes up Wednesday and part of Thursday. The cool thing about school here is that we get to go on field trips all the time! I always wish we went on more trips outside the classroom in Ithaca but there are just so many obstacles with that it would be impossible to do. Here, our classes are designed around all of our senses- to fully immerse ourselves in the culture and feel like we’re getting the most out of our experience here. On the first day, our Art in London teacher, Lisa, said, “You can look at boring projector slides at home. Here, I have the opportunity to let the course basically teach itself. Here, when we visit the art, you get to feel it. You get to become a part of it.”
Before coming to London, I was questioning if there would be a big enough cultural difference for me to really feel like I’m in a different country. Let me say this- not only are there tons of differences between life here and life at home, but even if our cultures were the same, it’s still such a shock living in the city as opposed to little ol' Honeoye Falls, New York! I love going to NYC and traveling as much as I can, but nothing can really prepare you for living in a city like London. My favorite part about it? There is ALWAYS something to do. I've never once asked myself what I wanted to do in a day and not been able to do it (unless it was wildly expensive...), and I think that’s the very best part about being abroad, particularly in a city like this.
I’ll try to write more blog posts for ICLC soon! Hmmm, is it possible to capture the essence of British-English in blog form? ….Probably not. But that won’t stop me from trying!