Just over a month into my study abroad program, I found my rhythm in my newfound city life. I come from a much smaller city in comparison to London, and when I was planning to go abroad, I knew I wanted that same sense of home. I needed to find things that felt comfortable and familiar.
This familiarity reminded me that my whole world wasn’t changing the second I stepped off the plane. The first day I was here, I saw an advertisement for the company my dad works for—a piece of home that I pass every day. I chose London because English is the primary language, and I wanted to have conversations with anyone I came into contact with. But London is also one of the biggest cultural melting pots in the world, so while almost everyone speaks English, there are many different accents at play.
London is more fast-paced than the majority of England. The hustle and bustle may not be for everyone, and at first I did not think it was for me. Coming from the south, I am used to southern hospitality and making conversations with strangers you meet in shops. It was a bit of culture shock to see that everyone has headphones in while on the tube, but I have learned to love getting up in the morning, throwing my AirPods on, and walking to a Pret to grab my morning coffee. I am able to start my day in my own little world, decompressing for whatever may come my way throughout the day. I like building playlists for my different commutes and finding podcasts with new things to learn each week.
There is something so beautiful about finding joy in the ordinary. Living in a city of 8 million people is not something I would have ever expected of myself, but I love finding coffee shops and cafes around the city, and telling my new friends about my favorites. I love the parks and being able to walk everywhere, even though I miss my car from time to time. I love living with people who are in the same position as me and figuring out life together.
Nothing gets you out of your comfort zone faster than living in a city you’ve never been to for 3 and a half months. If you are not the most adventurous, it’s ok to stick to something that feels a little more comfortable: Whether you choose somewhere you have been, somewhere with architecture you love, somewhere you have always dreamed of going, or somewhere that has ties to home. Any choice you make is going to be a little scary, but I can promise you, it will one hundred percent be worth the risk. There are always beautifully simple things that will bring you back to discovering yourself in your new home.