London, United Kingdom – my semester abroad summed up (by Lara)

By Lara

My last weeks in London have been filled with joy, love and tears. It was hard, closing a chapter that has been so important to me. London is still a huge part of my life and I already plan on going there again for my internship semester. 

However, I wanted to tell you a bit about my whole semester and why I still think that London is the best choice for doing a semester abroad. 
Because it obviously is ;)

First of all, it is not far away from your homecountry and you won’t find anything closer to go to (okay maybe Paris, depending on which Campus you’re from). However, it is not only the nearest, but also the most special place you can live. I bet that everyone will be delighted as soon as they get here. London is a place for everyone and has many faces. 

It can be beautiful, even on a typical “London weather” day

Sometimes, strangers randomly smile at you and you cannot help, but smile back. People are genuinely friendly, warm hearted and polite. One day my friend and I were walking down the streets, looking to the ground. We must’ve appeared quite sad, because a business man walked past us and yelled “Smile girls, it’s almost Christmas”. We did!

You can go to all those markets, see some of the world’s best Musicals at West End, go shopping at Oxford Street, visit the Pubs or just relax in one of Londons‘ 3000 parks. Make yourself feel at home while you live there and take all the opportunities you can get.

Oxford Street

There’s nothing like London, anywhere in the world. You are going to find so many different people and places. Even though London is the capital of England and can be quite overwhelming to some students at first, you’re going to feel at home. In the city and outside the powerful world of busy London, in Greenwich. 

Yes, that’s your Uni and it is as great as it looks like

The countryside isn’t that far away and you get chances to explore much more than only Greenwich, Westminster and maybe Notting Hill. Not only does the Train take you to the seaside, it also takes you into a whole different world. You can visit one of the utterly stunning National Parks as well. But be aware of everything. Prepare yourselves! When my friend from Uni and I explored a National Park, we forgot to take wellies with us. Suddenly we got surrounded by a huge amount of little rivers (they were deep though) and ended up walking through three of them to get to the other side. On our way home we took the train to London, sat at the window and desperately tried to dry our socks and shoes. The people sitting across from us must’ve thought we were some total idiots. Despite that, we had nice weather and loads of fun. 

While walking through the National Park with wet feet, we saw this little fellow
And we’ve even been to the beach. Oh Lord, it was sooo windy

However, there was stuff to do for Uni too. And it was a huge amount of work, depending on the courses you had. Some days we would not even leave our room and instead sit at our tables, writing assignments and essays. Other days we had to go out for a walk, because it was just overwhelming and we needed fresh air, then we would go up to the Royal Observatory, take a deep breath, look over to the city and smile. 

Some tips for living and studying here:

  • Always take your student ID with you, there are many offers and discounts
  • Do carry your credit card with you, many restaurants are cashless
  • See a West End Musical (Dear Evan Hansen is huge)
  • Go to Oxford Street, but early and during the week, otherwise walking is impossible
  • Want to see London from above? Sky Garden is free, whereas you have to pay 20 bucks to go up The Shard
  • Do Buy train tickets early enough, you can get them quite cheap
  • Don’t be offended by the British humour
  • Take Uni work seriously, you have to keep up with the amount of stuff and find a Uni/Life balance (sounds funny, but true)
  • Don’t Stand in the way and queue up, e.g. the tube or in supermarkets
  • Borough market is closed on Sundays.

Sure, we didn’t only go and visit a National Park, went to London City or just studied, but also saw some new places like Brighton. To tell all those stories I have on my mind right now would probably fill a 100 pages, take too long and no one would read it anyway. 

London is, without doubt, beautiful

Instead (and I truly, highly recommend it) go and write your own stories, may it be in wonderful London or somewhere else.