Headed Across the Pond: Abroad in England
We’re starting in London, England, cup of tea in hand, ready to begin our journey across Europe. For those considering studying abroad or looking for adventure I want to give you the locals’ scoop on traveling, in this blog England, in future blogs different great places to add onto your wanderlust list. The benefit of studying abroad and traveling in general is we gain experiences so unique to that specific place, each experience is a once in a lifetime occurrence.
I myself have not had the opportunity to skip across the pond, however two close friends of mine studied abroad in London, England: one I knew from high school who became a film major at NYU, and the other my best friend right here at Keene State. This is where I am pulling my information from, but I’ve also done my research. I’ll share their experiences; tell about the city-life and the locals, as well as some awesome places around England to check out if the opportunity presents itself.
London is an overwhelming city when one first arrives, or at least that’s what my friends said. Here are some helpful Londoner-insider tips starting with transportation. London has a system called Oyster cards for the tube, their bus and ferry network that’s a simple system made to make the commuter’s life easier. It’s a swipe in, swipe out system. You can purchase these Oyster cards for different zones in the city. If you’re going to be traveling around the city frequently it will save you money. Check out the Transport for London (TFL) website for more information.
The next major concern is food! Living with a host family is always a great option to take if offered. Although you may feel uncomfortable at first, it is the best way to get to know a place like a local and really connect with the culture. However, sometimes the offer isn’t available so living on campus or apartments are a good option as well. If food is on your mind London has many chain grocery stores, but if you’re looking for some true London vibes try the street markets like Camden or Borough. Locals are friendly in London so ask away for directions and whatever else need be. Just be open to new ideas, experiences, and culture. This is a great way to get out a try something new.
Now, if you get the chance to travel around the United Kingdom outside of London, these are a few places on my wanderlust list that just sound unforgettable. In Swansea, Wales there is a 5,000-year-old Yew Tree, otherwise known as Britain’s oldest tree. That means this tree is older than the Great Pyramid of Giza. Old trees not your cup of tea? That’s okay, Castle Combe, England is the epitome of a classic English town to spend the day roaming and soaking in the essence of the all-stone buildings right along the water. You cannot find a town like Castle Combe in anywhere else. What about a historic site you wouldn’t expect to find in England? Bath, England has a long history of being a spa city for different societies throughout the years, beginning with the Romans who built bath temples in the valley of the Avon River, some of which still stand. The city is considered a World Heritage Site. All these places are one in a life time chances to encounter places you would have otherwise never seen and are unique from any other around the world.
Traveling helps us break free of our routine, what we’re used to. It forces us to adapt to new things, a new world in our eyes. Letting go of one culture doesn’t mean forgetting it; we’re letting go to learn another culture for a little while. Adding to your miles means globalizing your mind in the same process. Are you ready? Best travels to all those in seek of a new perspective.
Photo: 1000 year old yew tree by Leighton Collins