Quarantine, community and crumpets


June 14, 2021

In her first post of the summer, Arcadia in London student Emma Wonsowicz shares her experience of quarantining, and dipping her feet into British culture along the way.

Hello there! 

My name is Emma, and I am currently studying abroad in England as part of the Arcadia in London summer program. Over the next month, I will be sharing some insight into my experiences here via this blog! A little bit of background on myself: I am originally from Chicago, and I am a rising senior at Chapman University in California, where I study film and sociology. 

To address the elephant in the room, my classmates and I are incredibly grateful to be able to study abroad right now given that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to obstruct most traveling. We feel very fortunate to have this opportunity and have been complying with the UK’s health protocols, including quarantining until we receive two negative test results. Unfortunately, that means that I don’t have too many exciting updates to share yet, but my flatmates and I have been striving to make the most of our quarantine period. 

I think it’s distasteful to compare quarantine to prison, so I’ll opt for what I believe is a more accurate analogy; our week has felt a bit like living in a senior citizen community. We sit in the garden, play cards, read books, help each other cook, and have become obsessed with watching British game shows. The highlight of our evenings has been yelling at the TV during old reruns of Catchphrase, The Weakest Link, and our favorite, The Chase. It’s been a fun way to get in touch with some local culture from inside and brush up on our U.K. trivia. Speaking of which, the Arcadia staff has kept us busy with a couple organized events, including a trivia quiz on U.K. culture and an online yoga class. We also began our courses this week over Zoom, which motivated us to dust the cobwebs off our jetlagged brains and attempt to develop a somewhat regular schedule.

One of the most exciting aspects of studying abroad is getting to try new cuisine, so I’ll use this space to give updates on my food adventures. We were greeted on our first night with something quite familiar: Domino’s Pizza. Honestly, I’m not the biggest pizza person, but the general consensus was that U.K. Domino’s triumphs over the U.S. version, or at least tastes more like actual pizza. We were treated to fish and chips from a local chippie later in the week, leading us to concur that chips here are infinitely less salty than the fries we’re used to. Overall, the favorites that have emerged are tea (when in Rome…), crumpets (far superior to regular English muffins), and McVitie’s Chocolate Digestive Biscuits (sounds gross, I know, but tastes like a Girl Scout cookie). 

That’s it for this week! We are currently awaiting COVID test results before we can venture into the city, so wish us luck! Quarantine has been fairly enjoyable, all things considered, but I’m personally quite anxious to start crossing things off my study abroad to-do list. I’ll try to be patient and pace myself, though; burnout is a real threat, especially after spending over a year indoors. Thank you so much for reading, and please stay safe wherever you may be!

Until next time,