It’s hard to believe that I have been living in London for almost a month. I already feel less like a tourist and more like a Londoner. (As in, I find myself getting annoyed with tourists who stand in the middle of the sidewalk taking photos/blocking traffic, stand on the wrong side of the tube escalators, etc.) Random passerby have even asked me for directions! However, I still have moments where I feel like an outsider. For example, one cashier asked me to repeat something I said because he thought my accent was funny.
My classes are helping me to get further acclimated into the culture, as I’m learning about everything from British politics to media. My Race, Gender and the Media professor encourages us to read a British newspaper every day. Some of the most popular papers here are red tops (tabloids, like The Sun or The Mirror), and the absurdity of their headlines actually makes me laugh sometimes, as does the liberal use of the word “snogging.”
To truly get into the London spirit, my flatmates and I have even started watching British shows like Downton Abbey (so much drama!) and Sherlock. We also regularly watch the BBC and I’ve been listening to Radio 1.
So far, my time here has felt like a hybrid between an actual academic semester and a vacation. Yes, I’m taking a full course load and have classes Monday through Thursday, just like at Syracuse. But unlike at SU, I don’t casually jaunt off to Istanbul for the weekend, like I’ll be doing in a few days. After class, instead of running off to a meeting or practice, I might go to a museum or go grocery shopping. It’s a new kind of challenge in time management, because there’s so much to do here and so little time.
All in all, things are going well. I’m maintaining a relatively healthy diet (hi Mom!) and I’m learning new things every day, both in and outside of the classroom. I think that’s exactly what a study abroad experience should be!