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Reflections Abroad: How London Changed Me

There wasn’t a moment, or person, or second that made me fall in love with London. I wish there was one single defining moment that made it for me because it would make it easier to explain my experience studying abroad in London. The life here, the people here, the food, the culture—the London is all apart of what made this whole experience abroad something more magical than I expected.
 St. Pancras Hotel - Harry Potter's Entrance To The Train Station
 18 Stafford Terrace, London, UK

At first, I didn’t want to be here. The overwhelming new city experience enveloped me and made it so difficult. Talking to other students about this, they all have had the same experience. The first two weeks are the hardest. Biggest adjustments with understanding the London way of life. It isn’t easy studying abroad, don’t forget that. I didn’t realize how hard it was; I always brushed it off when people told me how brave I was but just remember, it is such a brave thing to do.
 The Fellow - London Restaurant & Pub

Among the many different things like late-night bike rides or early-morning strolls, the way that London functions: fast, helped shape me into the new me. I know a lot of people who are excited to go back to the States, this concept is foreign to me. London’s spark is something that I can’t just shake off. Throughout my experience here, traveling, studying (yes! That still happens!), living has changed my priorities and my desires. It’s not a bad thing though because it made me a better version of myself realizing the difference between what I thought was a happier version of myself and what it truly is.
 Windsor Castle

There is so much to do here, so much to see and while you may make lists and push it off to do for the later moments, even just sitting and watching the sunset outside your bedroom window can make you realize the beauty of London. There is a spark. Every single second I’ve had here, I’ve embraced it because this is a once in a life time opportunity and I am so thankful to have had. With new friends, new culture shocks, new experiences, new memories, this experience traveling, studying, and living has made me into the person I’ve always wanted to be.

Before, I thought I had it all together, I really didn't. There is something that happens when you study abroad, something that you don't realize. I truly thought I was very culturally aware since I've worked with international students, I've traveled, and my personal background, but I didn't realize how much more was out there. There is so much in the world to see, to do, and to experience which is so important to the evolution into a more culturally aware person. 

 Trees in London at St. Dunstan's in the East.

London has that way with you, although it’s gloomy most of the time, it still knows what to give to you. There are so many things that are different in the States, some of which I miss but even then, it’s nothing like the magic of London. This magic, this life, is something that isn’t easy to understand until the end of the time someone may have studying abroad. Don’t go searching for it, or you won’t find it. It’ll come. These moments around has helped shaped me into a better me and I will always cherish how amazing my experiences here.


Michelle M. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in London, England. She is currently a senior studying Cinema Art and Science and Photography at Columbia College Chicago

Michelle McGhan is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in London, England, and is currently studying at Columbia College Chicago.
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