I knew as I was preparing to study abroad in London that there would be some cultural differences from Fargo and America in general. But seeing as it was England, I felt pretty confident that they would be mostly similar to us but with an accent. So far, my experience has been nothing like I expected.
What surprised me the most was how friendly people in London were. For some reason I expected a New York City kind of demeanor, but it was much closer to our “Minnesota Nice” demeanor. Cab drivers are even kind (and safe!). My cab driver from the airport to the university was easy to talk to, and he even gave me some advice about living here.
People in London also seem to be very slow-going. Which is crazy to me because the Tube takes you across the city in practically less than ten minutes. The speed doesn’t seem to be needed; no one is ever in a hurry or running everywhere. That would also explain the lack of many visible road signs. Who really needs to know where they’re going anyway?
Another huge aspect of London is how diverse it really is. On a daily basis, I hear at least three different languages. The first two people I met were from Rhode Island and India, and my roommate is from Spain. It’s so interesting to see this mash of different cultures.
Some parts of my experience haven’t been great, such as walking across the road at the wrong time or not understanding how to use their showers. Really, it’s more difficult than you would think. I have never lived in a dorm or had a roommate so my living situation isn’t exactly what I would like it to be. I miss the comfort of home and my family and friends all the time.
But that’s part of what I love about this experience. I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone and to be able to see London’s beauty and explore Europe makes everything worth it. To get to see other cultures and broaden my horizons is an amazing opportunity. But I am excited to explore new areas and grow from each new experience — that’s what study abroad is supposed to be about.