By Hanna Neitzke, London
I have been living in London now for about six months. These six months have changed me for life in so many different ways, but the beauty of it all is that I still get to live here for another five! CEA is a fantastic study abroad program in London, and we have the lovely Cassandra here to help acclimate with the subtle cultural differences. I have learned a lot in my time here about myself and about the city, here are a few tips on how to move to London.
Step 1. Do your research, but not too much
Before I got here, I scoured Pinterest and Instagram and Google for the most important places in London to visit, do and buy. I did so much research that I practically became an expert cartographer before hopping the pond. When I got here, it was a bit intimidating: London is a lot larger than Instagram. I realised that all of the research I had done only partly readied me for the magic of the city. When you get here, you realise that you must let go of your preconceptions of London and have fun getting lost in the Tube or on the streets and breathe in the surprisingly fresh air and go to the markets alone and get out of your comfort zone.
Step 2. Make a “London Bucket list”
Not all of that research is bad; make sure you know the places you want to visit and make sure you go there or you will regret it. Make sure this list is well-rounded. You don’t want all of the places to be strictly clubs or strictly gardens. Like I said, get out of your comfort zone and do something you wouldn’t normally do with your new friends. These new friends will probably have a list as well with places you haven’t heard of, so tag along with them too.
|My London Bucket List. i have, however crossed off the things that I have already experienced.|
|O2 Arena. I have seen Ed Sheeran, Jack White and Alt-J here. Unfortunately, The Black Keys have canceled|
Step 3. Do as the modest British do and relax with a cuppa
I had considered myself a coffee person before I came here, but now half of my cupboard is an assortment of Twinning’s. The British are a modest lot of introverts who never overreact. I think it is because of the tea. They always seem to have their lives together in this quiet city and are more than willing to take an hour-long break to refresh with a cuppa. Embrace that.
Step 4. Learn the Tube, but don’t be afraid to take the bus
The Tube is one of my favourite parts of London; it is so accessible and fairly quick. Lines run north to south and east to west. TRIAL FACT. It can virtually get you anywhere in the city as it is a fairly spread-out place, however, don’t be afraid to walk or sit on the top story of a bus. It is nice to walk around with the fresh air, but more importantly, you actually get to see everything rather than passing by metres below. One of the most interesting things is that you get to see newer buildings build straight into centuries old buildings just to keep them standing.
|London Fashion Week, Fall 2014|
|Peter Pan in Hyde|
Step 5. It is the people who make the place: American friends, British friends and Cassandra
Unfortunately, I have made few British friends. This is due to living circumstances, as you are put with other Americans and the fact that our program is all American. Unusually, I am fine with that; I did have grand ideas that I would be making connections here, which I have, but not too many. Better yet, I have made such good friends that I will be keeping for life and they happen to be American. These friends have made London that I know and love all the better. Cassandra, our program director is a doll to say the least. She acts as travel agent, best friend, mom, guard dog and sheriff and it is obvious that she loves her job. In her words, “I am your best friend until you break the rules, then I become your director and will enforce the rules with no hesitation.” And we love her for it.
Hanna Neitzke is the Spring 2015 CEA MOJO in London, England. She is now a Senior at Humboldt State University
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