Study abroad is famous for the travel opportunities that it offers students, but so far my experience in London has consisted of—well, just London so far. To put this into perspective, I, like a handful of other LSE students, have classes on Friday evenings, which makes it both expensive and inconvenient to travel during the weekend. This is a frustrating situation when other students, including a few from GW, enjoy the fact that their classes meet only on Mondays and Tuesdays, giving them the chance to travel for 5 days without having to stress about missing classes. If any future study abroad students happen to one day stumble onto my blog, I wanted to create this post to tell you that things are not as bad as they seem. Let me explain how I came to this realization.
In the few days that I allowed myself to wallow in self-hatred for the fact that I had booked a 5-6 pm Friday class, I lost nearly all appreciation for the city that I had actually decided to come to in the first place! Ignorance is certainly bliss, but in this case it was too much of a good thing—I had forgotten just how amazing the city around me could be, and losing sight of that truly upset me. Sure, I thought, there are things that I am missing out on by staying here, but that doesn’t mean that I cannot still enjoy everything that London has to offer—its pubs, its music, its culture, and, of course (as my previous posts have revealed), its food. All this worrying left me stressed out and shortsighted of the opportunities that the four weeks of winter break, and five weeks of spring break, would bring me. As Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” I realized I was on the side of the majority simply by studying abroad, and paused to reflect on how amazing this experience is in and of itself.
The grass is always greener on the other side, and after I understood this I enjoyed my week here to the fullest. After spending an unthinkable lump sum on a 9-month gym membership, I’ve spent a good deal of time getting back into shape in the gym. Consequently, this has meant I have also spent a good deal of time trying to prevent myself from laughing in front of men who choose to wear shorts that are shorter than anything I’ve ever seen in my entire life. But, to be fair, I am probably what they would consider an American who is simply ignorant of the culture here, and in this situation I would have no choice but to agree—that is, until I decide to embrace my study abroad experience by waltzing into their gym sporting my own pair of very short shorts. When this experience comes about I will be sure to report back to the blog, but for now that is all I have. Wish me luck as I attempt to balance work with life this coming week.