It seems like we have just arrived, and now it’s almost time to say goodbye. Time passes so fast in such a lively city as London. It has been almost three months since the beginning of our adventure, but it feels like it has only been two weeks ago since we stepped out of the plane. As much as we are looking forward to Christmas with our families at home, we don’t want to leave. We all met amazing new people and we got to know each other pretty well during the last months.
First of all, we started to settle into the student accommodation life. Almost all of us are living in the halls of residence provided by the University. Some of us stay in flats with flatmates from all over the world and got used to the different customs within the last weeks. Others stay in studios or private housing, but have also met many international people and made friends soon. Of course, the walls are thin and we miss our own beds sometimes, but usually, life in our new homes is pretty funny. It never gets boring.
Being at University never gets boring, because we have lots of different courses. Just like the students, the lecturers are very international and some of them are doing a really great job. There are several differences to studying at home:
We definitely have more deadlines here, but the amount of work is distributed better. In the exams, instead of answering questions, we have to write mini-essays and we are expected to give a critical view on the objectives we have learned. But if you start early enough, it will be easier to get things done and you will have enough free time to explore this wonderful city.
But University life does not only mean being in the lectures and writing exams. There are also many societies, which you can join. Some of us joined the dance society, the football team, the jammin’ society and the University newspaper. The University and the students union also provided some daytrips, for example to Brighton and Canterbury, which some of us attended.
As you probably all know, London is a city where many events take place. In early November, there was The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 Premiere at Leicester Square, where a fellow student of our group went to and she said that it was amazing but also a little bit frightening because of all the screaming teenage girls.
However, we did not only focus on the current films but also on ones that are still present in our minds. Most of us are huge Harry Potter fans and are enjoying the benefits of living here by visiting all the filming locations of the movies. There is the King’s Cross station with platform 9 ¾, but also the Grimmauld Place, the Leaky Cauldron, Gringotts, the entrance to the Ministry of Magic and several other places. However, our personal highlight was a trip to the Warner Bros. Studios, where the Harry Potter movies have been shot.
We have seen the Great Hall from the inside as well as the Gryffindor’s dormitory and Dumbledore’s office. We also had the opportunity to try real Butterbeer for once, but unfortunately it tasted like a really sweet soft drink with a foam of cream, so we all were a little disappointed. But that didn’t last long, because the rest of the tour was as awesome as the beginning and we were very glad we went there.
Right after Halloween, which is a real thing here, Christmas-themed things started to pop up everywhere in the city. You can even hear Christmas songs when you do your grocery shopping at Tesco, which is very funny and there are also chains of lights everywhere in the city, especially the ones at Oxford Street are beautiful. There must be a thousand pictures on Instagram of this special lighting. All in all, it’s very easy to get into the typical pre-Christmas mood and you often have to prevent yourself from buying too many Christmas presents and drinking too much mulled wine, because London has so much of it to offer.
However, almost all of us have less than two weeks left before going home again and we want to make the best of the remaining time: Next week, we are going to have a Christmas party together, going to go to the Southbank Christmas Markets and right now, we are planning several meetings with our old and new friends. One thing is for sure: saying goodbye won’t be easy and we will definitely come back some time.
Marcel Proppe and Sabrina Hammer