Initially, when I got here I thought it was going to be cute hats, sweet accents, and utter politeness. What I discovered was that London was in so many ways, just like New York City. Which I loved, the savvy vibe that I was greeted with was so forward that it didn’t really take me by surprise. I just jumped right into it. When I got off the plane, my chaperone (who had an accent so thick I really couldn’t understand him) took me from the airport to my dorm and suggested we take “The Tube”, which is the British equivalent of the MTA/ NYC subway system. I was totally down for it. I lugged my heavy suitcases half a mile and we jumped on the Picadilly line. This was completely normal for people to take the tube after flights. I felt really bad though because my huge two suitcases and backpack took up a lot of room on the already fairly crowded train car. The tube took around an hour which was great because I was able to check out the entire train and what it was like for a regular commuter, something I was going to be soon enough!
The way the Tube works is that there are six zones that you are able to travel through. Zone 1 being the center of the city and Zone 6 being the outermost zone. Traveling through zones requires an Oyster card or a contactless credit/debit card which you swipe in with. The more zones you travel through the more your fair increases. I wasn’t a huge fan of that because I was so used to the flat fair of $2.75 USD. While here initial fair starts at around 2.30 GDP, which is more than 2.75 USD! The tube is super fast and efficient and they come a lot more often and are way more reliable than NYC transportation. There are so many different lines you are able to take in order to travel on the tube. The lines I take the most are the Circle Line, the Picadilly Line, and the Metropolitan Line. Those get me the closest from my home station which is called Farringdon. The neighborhood I am situated in is absolutely adorable and reminds me of my home borough Brooklyn, it was super comforting to have this familiar feel and really made me appreciate the neighborhood much more. My dorm is set up in a suite-style so I have 4 other suitemates and we each have our own room and share two bathrooms and a kitchen/ common area. Having my own room here is awesome and I have a decent amount of space for all of my belongings.
At first, it was a tad isolating just because I didn’t know anyone and I wasn’t sure what exactly to do with myself. There was just so much waiting out there I couldn’t fathom how I was going to do it all. After I unpacked I took a walk by myself just to feel out the neighborhood. It was Saturday so I expected to be greeted with a fair amount of kids on the street and of course, I was right. A block or two away is an amazing night club which happens to be one of the best in London. I saw a huge line of kids waiting to get in and everyone looked so cool. Style and fashion was the number one thing I noticed when I got here. Everyone had it! I was so excited to be immersed in it I could hardly wait until classes began. I was ready to dive in and become one of the British locals, I just didn’t know how!