Looking for a change in scenery, I took on a semester abroad in 2013 in London. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had in my life. It was a welcome change of pace as it was the first time in a while I had lived outside of Cincinnati.
London is a large, walkable city with great public transportation (The Tube) and I didn’t need to rely on a car to get around. In addition, London was full of activities and things to do. World Class museums just a few minutes away and easy, inexpensive access to the rest of Europe – I toured Rome, Lisbon, Barcelona, Dublin, and Copenhagen to name a few.
I frequently stepped inside cultural icons such as The Tower of London, Churchill Gardens, The British Museum, Victoria and Albert, and the Natural History Museum. I could explore the infamous Kensington Gardens and end up in Hyde Park. My friends and I visited Cardiff to encounter the Doctor Who Experience full of memorabilia from the show. Being in England, we also made sure to visit Harry Potter World.
It was amazing to be in a city where I was forced to be independent. For most of my time in London, I did not know most of the people because I was shy. That made me explore London on my own. However, it helped me get out of my shell and changed my view on how people interact with me. I made friends with a month left to go.
There was a precedent set in my mind based on past experiences. Living in London I broke down these assumptions and soon more open to meeting new people. I realized that I did not have to be defined by my past – that these new friends took me for who I was in the present with no knowledge of who I was before. When I arrived back home in Cincinnati, I was encouraged to grow my social circle without holding back.
Living in London, made me appreciate how independent I can be but also how nice it is to have people around that you like. As well being overseas played into me learning more about arts and broaden my horizons. It was amazing to see so many beautiful places across Europe and at times experience them with other people. It made me realize how much I love to travel. London in so many ways has helped me to become the person I am today and will continue to grow into in the future.