Things that will happen whilst you're studying in London

This post is courtesy of Monica Arora.

Studying in London, you will not only learn a thing about how to master one of the world’s oldest cities, but you will also learn a few things about yourself. Things and events will happen to you that will you make you dance with joy, terrify you, or will have you scratching your head at one in the morning while waiting for a bus home. Here are some of those “things” as told by my favorite movie set in London, 101 Dalmatians.

1. You will be hungry all of the time.

Unless you grew up in a big city where you’re used to walking around, you will not be used to, well, walking around the city or running up stairs to transfer from one Underground line to the next. Therefore, you work off everything you eat, and you’re hungry all of the time. No matter how much you eat, when you eat, you will be hungry constantly.

2. You will spend most of your free time in the parks

London has some of the best parks in the world, and I spent nearly every weekend, weather permitting, just sitting in the park or along the river, people watching to my heart’s content. You will be surprised how much you will appreciate nice weather. Grab a magazine, a sandwich, and some chocolate, and you will find your favorite bench in the park.

3. British television will own you

British TV is marvelous. There is just something about the comedies, dramas, and documentaries that come out of the UK that just suck you in for hours. It’s not like you will catch one episode of a series. Oh, you’re 5 seasons behind? Grab some Maltesers and Tea and spend the whole weekend catching up. The shows are that addicting.

4. You will be uncomfortably close to someone on the Underground

The Underground at rush hour will test your personal space boundaries like no other. There will be a time when you accidently put your hand on someone’s hand, or the train will come to a sudden stop and your face will fly into someone’s chest. It’s inevitable, just be prepared; try a less crowded carriage at the back to avoid such embarrassing events.

5. You will have to become accustomed to noise

London flats are not well insulated. Therefore, you will hear things you simply don’t want to hear. So pack some earplugs, or attempt to get to sleep early. However, you will be awoken by slamming doors, the garbage truck at 8am, or someone having a late night snack in the kitchen next door.

6. You will be cold in July

Europe is not known for its hot summers. However, I think I had one week in July where it was 70 degrees and above – It was glorious. Don’t be surprised when it’s a high of 60 degrees in mid August. Prepare to wear a jacket all year round.

7. You will have to change your style.

Sweatpants are a no-no. Hoodies, what are those? Londoners seem to always be presentable and in the know when it comes to fashion. I was surprised when I saw people wearing high heels to class. Therefore, always look presentable because you will always be making a fashion statement. Head to Primark (the UK’s version of JCPenny) and start creating a new fashion sense!

8. You will feel like people are on top of you constantly.

You chose the city life – It has its perks, but it can always frustrate you. You will constantly question why there is no walking pattern on the sidewalks, why people stop in the middle of the sidewalk, and why someone is going too slowly through the Underground turn styles. It’s a face paced environment, so learn to go with the flow like you’re in a school of fish!

9. You will probably almost get hit by a bus

Thank goodness London is kind enough to tell walkers which way to look before crossing the street by labeling directions on the street. However, you probably will almost get run over by a biker, a car, or even a runner. It’s difficult navigating crossing the street, and you will be surprised at how ridiculous it can get sometimes. My trick was looking at the traffic lights and signals to see if I could scurry across the street with all my body parts intact.

10. You will master the city!

By your second or third month in to your studying abroad, you will own London, and laugh at the time the city tried to outwit you! Explore, learn, get lost, make mistakes, and take it all in. Every day that you swing your curtains open, you’ll look at your window and declare “Watch out, London! Here I come!”

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