The GoGlobal Blog

Where am I?!

Where am I?!

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Hey friends, welcome to my blog! For the next 5 months or so, I’ll be documenting my travels, adventures, and random musings of Europe all on this site. This first post might be kind of a doozy, and as much as I’d like to pretend the rest will be shorter, they probably won’t be.

This is my first time outside the US and I’ve rarely been so terrified in my life. Let’s keep it honest, travel is scary. For the past three months I’ve been waking up to panicked nightmares about studying abroad, and that’s why I did wait a while to pen my first post, to settle myself a bit before exploding onto the internet. I’m about two weeks in right now, and honestly, I’m having the time of my life. I’ve learned more in the past 14 days than I have in the last 6 months, and it’s all thanks to the magic that is travel.

If you have the means, I highly recommend getting outside your daily routine and seeing someplace new. You don’t have to pick up and move around the world for half a year like I’ve done. Driving to the next town over is plenty. New perspectives are what it’s all about, because nothing beats the thrill of experiencing the undiscovered. New year, new you, right?

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Right! But it took a lot to get me to this point. Financial planning, program applications, course approvals, mental preparedness… The list goes on. Getting myself to Europe was no small feat, but also one that I refused to pass up. The process was stressful, but I already know it was incredibly worth it. I always had my finger on London. Being an English major with a deep love affair with books of all kinds, where else would I go but the literary capital of the world? Nowhere else felt right. And it only took 24 hours in the city to realize what a perfect choice I made. This is my place.

But even after settling on London, I saw how many choices I had in front of me. Basically, I could choose between directly enrolling in one of London’s many fabulous universities, living and studying on a London campus right alongside local Brits and international students. Or, I could choose IES Study London, which would have me living in private dorms and taking closed classes with only fellow Americans. Both options had their merits, and I really considered playing it safe with the familiar. But where’s my sense of adventure? So, direct enroll it was!

After a two day orientation with everyone in the IES London program I was carted off with about 20 other students to Queen Mary University of London where my adventures truly began. I found myself dropped into campus housing, living in a flat with eight other students. These include two Americans, one Belgian, one Pakistani, and four Brits. I’ve also met students from Romania, India, and Bangladesh, just to name a few, in a matter of days. I’ve never been surrounded by so many different cultures in my life, and I’m loving every second of it.

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I spent the last few months researching London and being told what to expect by various advisers and friends, but you can only prepare so much. To Americans, London may not seem like the most daring choice for travel. And they’re right, because it’s not. Thankfully, I’m already fluent in the language! But when you’re alone, any task can be daunting. And England is not America. Not even close. So I landed at Heathrow Airport on the morning of January 6th with no one to greet me, no one expecting me, and without personally knowing a single person in the entire country. But guess what? I lived! I made it across town with a few fellow IES-ers on my flight, struggling with way too much luggage and serious sleep deprivation. (Note: don’t ever expect to sleep on a plane. Economy just ain’t built for it.)

The rest of the week was kind of a blur, full of new faces, breathtaking sights, and a ridiculous overload of information. I made a few mistakes, dropped way too much money on my first legal drinks, and probably took a socially unnacceptable amount of pictures while sightseeing. But I wouldn’t change any of it. London is incredible, and I’ve only just scratched the surface. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next few months, because I know it will be life-changing. I’ll never be 20 years old in Europe ever again, and I don’t plan on wasting a moment of it.


More to come!

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