We caught up with SAI Ambassador Marybeth, who reflects on her time in London.
What was your favorite thing to do in your host city?
There are so many things I love to do in London, and there is always something to do in the big city. Generally, I really just enjoyed going out and exploring all of the different districts and areas throughout the city. If I had to pick my absolute favorite, it would probably be the Brick Lane market on Sundays. Brick Lane is located in Shoreditch where you can find endless amounts of street art and graffiti, ethnic food vendors from all over the world, vintage shops and clothing, live music, and even a community nomadic garden where friends gather and enjoy their Sunday afternoons. Brick Lane is such an eclectic place and I had never felt anything like energy I felt walking through the market. All of the markets in London are unique in their own way and I highly suggest visiting all of them!
What travel tips would you give someone studying abroad?
I learned so much about traveling during my semester abroad and I think I can provide some valuable insight for future students. I traveled a lot on the weekends and it required a lot of planning. It is important to have someone in your group that is a good planner. The earlier you can book your flights and arrange your place of stay, the better. Also, I brought a carry-on sized suitcase to use for weekend travels. Having a reusable water bottle helped so much, so I wasn’t buying water every place I went. I did not purchase a SIM card for my iPhone until I arrived in London, and it worked out perfectly because I was able to use it all over Europe. The only catch is your cell phone number will change for the time being. I used public transportation in London. The tube was easier to navigate than the buses, and I did Uber a few times when the Tube would close at midnight on the weekdays.
Share an example of how your international experience has improved your skills in communicating with others.
Studying abroad in a new city with all new people puts almost everyone out of their comfort zone. Challenging yourself to go on this journey shows bravery and teaches you so much about yourself, and others. You become more comfortable with meeting new people and conversations become easier as you realize most people are in the same boat. I feel more confident asking others for help, and I also understand that people need help too. I feel more willing to help others in my home city now after I received so much help from so many kind individuals.
Marybeth was an SAI London fall 2017 student from the College of Charleston.