Expectations vs Reality

Expectations vs Reality

Hi everyone, my name is D’anna and I am writing this from London, England (oh my gosh). We arrived September 12th which already feels like a lifetime away; honestly, this whole country feels like a lifetime away from America. I always assumed England would be very similar to America (probably just because both countries speak English) but I was very, very wrong. I came to this country expecting one thing, but England has handed me something completely different, a good different. These are just a few of my experiences.

Expectation 1:

Every English person assumes my American accent is cool and would want me to say various American catchphrases.

Reality 1:

Brits don’t care about my accent, half the time they don’t even know where my accent is from. But this doesn’t only come from the English, it’s also apparent in other study abroad students as well. No one knows where I’m from by just the sound of my voice, nor do they care about the differences in my accent versus theirs. Maybe obsessions over accents is mostly an American thing.

Expectation 2:

It will rain all day everyday nonstop and there will not be a single day without rain.

Reality 2:

Although it is cloudy often, over the 10 days I’ve been in London, it has rained only about half of the days. And this rain isn’t a persistent all-day rain, it’s typically nice all day until around dinner time when it rains, then stops around 2 hours later. Like every rule, there are exceptions to this one, but at least for me, it hasn’t rained nearly as much as I thought it would.

Expectation 3:

I don’t like to drink/party so I’m sure I’ll find a bunch of people who feel the same.

Reality 3:

I have never before realized how big the drinking and partying culture was here. In England, there is “Freshers Week” which consists of parties every night at various clubs. This week is AWESOME because it’s a week to go out, meet people, party and let loose before the semester actually begins, although I will admit I haven’t been to a single night event.  I have talked to a lot of students here, and out of everyone I’ve talked to, only ONE doesn’t like to drink or party (like me). Only one person. Now, I’m sure if I keep searching I’ll find more people, but I’ve never realized just how big the clubs and alcohol were here.

Expectation 4:

Since the school is in London, there must be University buses going everywhere all the time.

Reality 4:

Now, this is true, but there was an unexpected twist. I assumed the buses would go everywhere I needed to go, so I’d be walking about as much as I would attending LVC. I have tracked my steps; last semester, I averaged 9,000 steps a day. My average amount of steps has doubled since coming here. Which is great for my health, but bad for my shoes. The (free) University buses only run during the weekdays, and at off-peak hours only run once an hour. This means that on weekends if I wanted to go into Kingston Town Centre without paying for the city bus, I have to walk about a mile there and back to my residence hall (which is good becasue with all this walking, I won’t have to go to a gym to get my exercise in). These are some awesome places I’ve been to already!

Kingston Town Centre market
Parliament and Big Ben across from the River Thames
The London Eye along the River Thames
Buckingham Palace
Royal Pavillion Brighton, England

Expectation 5:

Since I was never homesick when I went to LVC, so I won’t be homesick going to Kingston University.

Reality 5:

Although this one seems bad, it’s actually a good thing. I am very homesick; I call my mom every day for hours, something I have never done before. When I remember I’m not just at school,  and that I’m at school in another country, I begin to panic. BUT yes, this is good. It’s good because it’s making me stronger- one of the reasons I wanted to go abroad in the first place. It’s making me realize how lucky I am to have amazing parents and an amazing family of biological and non biological members. It’s making me realize that it’s okay to get lost because, after a lot of wandering around, I’ll always find my way back home. And it’s making me realize I can push through things, no matter how hard it may seem, because I won’t give up on myself or my situation.

 

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