Meet Michelle! She is a current study abroad student from California Baptist University and a Generation Study Abroad Scholarship winner. In this blog post she shares all that she has discovered about London, and how the Generation Study Abroad Scholarship has enabled her to embark on her study abroad adventure.
I have to say that when I first arrived here, it didn’t feel real. It took me a while to comprehend that it wasn’t like camp where you’re there for a week and then off to heading back home but rather, this city was going to be home for the next 5 months of my life. Even now I feel like when I think about it long enough, it just seems so surreal.
When it came to culture shock, there were only a few things that really stood out to me and seemed different from what was considered to be the norm at home. For example, the tube! For those of you don’t know what the tube is, it’s a form of underground public transportation that takes you from place to place. If I was to equate it to something similar to what we have in California, I would say it’s like the subway or the metro link. Before coming here, I had never relied so heavily on public transportation to get me anywhere because in LA, of course we have public transportation, but for the most part everyone drives everywhere. The first time I took the tube by myself, I was so scared because knowing me, I figured that I’d somehow get lost but thankfully, that’s never been the case and I’ve grown to love how easy the tube is to use.
Another thing that came as a culture shock would have to be one of my favorite things about London: I LOVE HOW EVERYONE WALKS EVERYWHERE!! If people aren’t taking the tube or riding their bikes, they’re walking. Even at night I feel like the streets are always filled with people and in a way it makes me feel so safe. Back at home, you don’t see as many people walking along the streets, it’s just not a thing.
The last culture shock that I’ve experienced is one that I highly anticipated and made sure that I was super prepared for: the weather!! When I first realized that during my time here, there were going to be days where it would get down to the 30’s I almost cried (one thing to know about me is that i am not a fan of cold weather; I’m from Southern California and am used to 90 degree weather!). At home 50 degrees is what we would consider cold. With all of that said, I was so nervous for the cold weather but shockingly, I’ve now come to love it! It’s still not my favorite thing in the world but by now my body has gotten used to the change.
Amidst the culture shock and adaptations, I’m so grateful for the time that I’ve had here so far. This is easily one of my favorite things that I’ve gotten to experience throughout my lifetime and I can honestly say that I can’t wait to come back and possibly live here for a year or two.
My study abroad program has given me the opportunity to act as a study abroad ambassador with Generation Study Abroad through being awarded the scholarship. Because of this, I have been able to travel, experience the city, and meet so many other people from different cultures and backgrounds. Both of my parents are from Ghana and London is filled with a ton of Ghanaians. Recognizing that, I’ve met a number of Ghanaians in the store or even at random places like the local laundromat and I’ve been blessed to have conversations with them that have brought a feeling of connectedness. On top of that, within my program I have met some of the greatest people who I am lucky enough to call friends; I was able to make friends fairly quickly and through our time here, we’ve only gotten closer and closer! We’ve been able to travel together (Paris, Barcelona, and many more to come 😉 ) , have “family” dinners together, and even experience the most embarrassing moments of studying abroad with each other.
I’d just like to say, thank you to Generation Study Abroad and thank you to everyone who’s supported me while being on this trip!
You can read Michelle’s full blog post and more posts about her study abroad adventures on her personal blog here.
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