Because I had never been abroad, I decided to pick a program that went to London. Though I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, I figured merely jumping the pond would limit the culture shock yet still be different enough that I would be able to expand my mind and grow in ways yet to be discovered.
I have been in London for approximately 48 hours, and it has been chock-full of “firsts.” Besides the things I anticipated, like my first long haul (8-hour) flight, there is so much I never even considered. For instance, I ordered a salad and discovered ranch dressing (my personal favorite) does not exist in London. Many things that I anticipated to be the same such as food, language, and everyday courtesy, are entirely different.
I did not understand just how culturally diverse and historically rich London would be. Though we are taught The United States is a relatively new nation, I was not prepared to see relics here from 120 CE!!
All of this to say- lose the expectations! I am a planner, but I could’ve never anticipated the sheer amount of new experiences and culture shock I have experienced in a wee 48 hours. I look forward to (but cannot begin to predict) all of the new things I will learn and experience over the coming weeks. My only advice is to keep an open mind and get out of your comfort zone as much as possible!
PSA If you visit London- the pastries are AMAZING, and a must try… but they don’t offer cream cheese for bagels!