Less Than One Week

Brianna Santo University of Westminster, England


December 14, 2015

In the wise words of a man called Ferris Bueller, “life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” This sentiment could not be truer, and I have never felt time move as quickly as it has these past three months. I leave in less than one week. Six days, to be exact, though I don’t think it has quite hit me. I am still in denial; I have assignments to finish and my suitcases to pack.

I knew very well that this point was coming, not a day went by on this trip that I didn’t dread the idea of leaving and wish I could freeze time in its place. This entire experience has felt like a complete dream, and I am not sure that I want to go back to reality just yet. However, being so close to the end of my trip I have been reflecting a lot on my time here, and realized a few important things.

  1. I am beyond thankful for my family and my friends back home.
    None of this could have been remotely possible if it weren’t for the encouragement of my friends and family. My parents especially have been so supportive of my coming here; there is no way I could have made this happen without them. Though they did give me my space, which I was grateful for, when I was missing home they were always a phone or video call away, Not just my mom and dad – but my brother and dog, and my aunts and uncles, and cousins and grandparents – all of my family has been extremely supportive of me along the way, and I am so grateful for it!

    I’ve as well realized how lucky I am to have such amazing friends, ones that kept in touch even when I was to busy to reach out to them. It was always nice to receive a postcard or FaceTime call from America, or have my friend who is studying in Spain come to visit me in London. This trip has made me take a step back and think about all the people and things from home that I am thankful for, even the small things that I had never stopped to really think about before.
  2. I will never forget the friends that I have made here.
    The school that I am currently studying at, the University of Westminster, has three campuses in London; and I was placed in the one furthest from the central city because of the classes I was enrolled in. At first this was a source of great worry for me, because I wanted to make sure I properly experienced London and the city life. However, I could not be happier with my placement.

    Not only have I gotten to live in both the luxury of an enclosed campus and the central city, but I have also lived with actual British students. The university’s other campuses separate the housing of the abroad and exchange students from the other students, making their experience quite different. Though I have made friends with other American students from my program, most of the friends that I have made have been from all over England. It has been wonderful to share our cultures with one another, like when one of my friends brought us home made scones from her mother, or when we made them their very first Thanksgiving dinner. We have had countless conversations comparing everything from our accents to the type of candy that we have in our countries; it has just been really cool to see the world from their perspective and to try new things!
  3. I will be coming back very soon!
    Growing up I had always dreamt of coming to London. I had kept pictures in my room, and had t-shirts with the Union Jack and Big Ben on them; I absolutely loved the idea, but it seemed too far out of my reach. Even going into college (or should I say “uni”) I had strategically chosen a school with a great study abroad program and had the pamphlets for the London programs stashed away for safekeeping. Then it ultimately came down to the night before the due date for study abroad applications at my home school, and I had yet to fill mine out. I was still undecided, I had looked into schools in London and various other countries, but the decision seemed too big and scary.

    I am so happy and glad that I decided to submit that application, and that I stuck to my gut and chose London even though others encouraged me to go somewhere "different." I had worried London wouldn’t be everything I imagined it to be, that I had built it up too much in my mind over the years. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, London, and the UK in general, have been even better than I could have possibly imagined. This trip has fulfilled the dreams of a younger me, and made the older me realize that so much is possible and it is important to face the things that scare you.

    I will one hundred percent be returning to London as soon as I have the opportunity; I do not think a day will go by in America that I don’t reminisce about my time here. I thought leaving home to come here was the hardest thing I had ever done, but I now realize leaving my new life here and returning home will be even harder. I am tremendously excited to see my family and friends back home, although I think a part of me will always remain here. As this will probably be my last blog post, I just want to say one last “thank you” to all of the awesome people in my life, here in London and back home in America, you all have made this experience so special and unforgettable.

Cheers! Xx