It is currently 12:50 pm in London. I am sitting at my desk, in my small dorm room which looks remarkably like a single on a cruise ship. I have been living in the city now for just under 2 weeks and I feel like this is the first opportunity I have had to rest.
Although classes just started this past Monday, the prior week was wildly hectic. Orientation, or “Freshers Week” as it is called here in the UK, was definitely fun at times but rather frustrating. The IT department was a mess. There are about three employees working daily trying to connect the 10,000 students who attend Goldsmiths to an e-mail account, the VLE (same thing as moodle), a students union website, and the library server. Oh, and each program requires a different username and password. I never really appreciated how easy Lafayette makes student access to everything they need, especially with the addition of the MyLafayette site. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE it here in London and wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I’m just saying, maybe the IT department at Lafayette could give the kind folks here at Goldsmiths a quick lesson on ease of use.
Aside from the IT issues, getting settled in has proved to be much easier than I imagined. In fact, sometimes I feel like I am living in an American city. Everybody is speaking my native tongue, there is a Subway across the street from my flat, and if I ever get a Chipotle craving, it is just one quick tube ride away.
It is nice to know I have these options when the homesickness kicks in, but for now I am still living the dream. In the past couple of days I have seen the Parliament building, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and the surrounding gardens, the entirety of Whitehall, the economic district, Chinatown, and Billy Elliot. I have eaten a traditional London breakfast, unbelievable Thai, Indian, Chinese, and Ottoman cuisine. I have gone to a pub that Shia Labeouf supposedly got into a fight at, seen the Warner Bros. Harry Potter studios, and I have toured the beautiful Olympic Gardens. My trip is only just beginning and I hope and expect this list to grow.
None of this would have been possible without Lafayette and I sincerely have to thank the college for putting a genuine effort into providing the students with a host of study abroad opportunities. If you are on the fence as to whether or not you should study abroad, I say go. If you are feeling a little apprehensive about it, go. I am right now beginning to understand that in order to discover some of the greatest joys in life you have to leave your comfort zone. And with that bit of advice I will sign off until next week.