Monday, November 23, 2015

Sew Cute Abroad: Pros and Cons of Studying in London

While studying abroad I experienced a lot of things! From events, a musical, traveling around Europe, and about 2 dozen museums. So, as you may know I have a lot of insight on what it is actually like to study abroad in London. In result, I compiled a list of pros and cons to studying abroad in London. Hopefully this can help people who are in the process of deciding between different programs or different countries! Without further ado here are the pros and cons of studying abroad in London, England. 

  • Never a dull moment: In London there is constantly something new or exciting happening. Whether it is a new exhibit at a museum, new films in the cinemas, a different event practically every weekend,  and different activities based on the season. In some cities once you've seen everything it gets super boring. London, however, if you didn't want to travel around Europe you could find something to do every weekend that is different from the last. 
  • Diverse: London is a very diverse city. This is awesome in terms of food, people, and just everything in general! While I was in Italy I got so annoyed because there was only Italian food! Don't get me wrong I love a good pizza but in London they have traditional british food but also Indian, Asian, Italian, American, and any cuisine you could think of! 
  • Traditions: The U.K. is full of awesome traditions and amazing historical landmarks. London is an incredible mix of old and new. There are tons of new buildings that are modern and interesting but then there are ancient castles and monuments that date back hundreds of years ago. Also, the country has a lot of cool traditions and iconic things all around the city. Who doesn't want a photo with the adorable red phone booths or Big Ben? 
  • Small neighborhoods within the city: London is often times very similar to NY in terms of mini neighborhoods and areas within one big city. From Shoreditch, Camden, Notting Hill, to Paddington there are so many different areas to explore. Every area has its own personality so there is an area for everyone! If you are like me (preppy girly) areas like Notting Hill, Chelsea, or South Kensington are perfect for you! But, if you prefer a cooler young scene areas like Shoreditch, Camden, and Soho are best for you. London really has a little something for everyone which is nice. 
  • Cost: Everything in London is basically twice the American dollar. WHICH SUCKS! Sometimes you forget about the conversion rate and then you stop and think: crap. Going to a school where the Euro is used might be the best option if you are on a budget. Even if you don't shop the tube/ oyster passes, groceries, and food add up very quickly. 
  • Weather: If you aren't used to bi-polar weather London may not be the place for you. Luckily going to school in Iowa taught me to expect the unexpected. One day it could be snowing and one day it could be 70. London is a lot like this. Be sure you look at the weather before you head out the door. Sometimes it's super warm then all of a sudden its freezing. It really is unpredictable. 
  • Rain: This goes along with weather, but if you hate the rain I repeat DO NOT GO TO LONDON! It rains practically everyday. Sometimes it rains all day, other days it rains for 5min. It just depends. ALWAYS keep an umbrella with you or some sort of fold up rain jacket. 
  • Charge you for shopping bags: This is something small but just be mindful of it. Bring a re-usable grocery or shopping bag with you from home. Every time you go grocery shopping they will charge you 5 pence (around 8 cents) for a grocery bag. This may seem small but it can add up especially if you are buying a lot of groceries at once! 
  • Lots of shopping: You may take this as a pro but in some cases it's a con! As a borderline shopaholic all of these stores are so tempting. Since I go to school on Oxford St. (aka the biggest shopping destination in London) it is extra difficult to keep myself out of trouble. But, if you are good at controlling yourself, unlike me, then you are good to go!  
  • No ranch dressing: Okay another stupid one, but this country does not have ranch dressing. As someone who loves ranch this is very upsetting. But, again most people can get over that. I just miss ranch. 

Overall, I am very happy I chose to study in London. I can't imagine myself anywhere else! The city is amazing, there is always something to do, and you never really have to leave to see exciting things. If you have any other London pros and cons please share them in the comments! 

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