So I have officially been living in London for over a week now and it has been incredible, but definitely an adjustment. The jet lag itself was hard to overcome and took me a few days to completely get used to, but the culture shock was another story. Servers and store employees check up on you way less frequently, tipping is either included in bills or not expected, dryers a lot less commonly found, and shops close extremely early compared to United States standards. It has also been quite interesting adapting to the slang used by those that live in our flat. I think that one that I’ve heard the most, that confused me at first, was the use of the word class. For instance, I was talking to someone from Exeter who, at the conclusion of our conversation, told me to have a “class time.” Another student living across the hall from me was telling me a story, ending it with “it was class.” I caught on after a while and I feel like it’s all I hear anymore.
Most of my first week was made up of meeting other students, both those studying abroad and those doing all four years at Queen Mary, and going to the different events set up by the school for something they call “fresher’s week” (side note: a fresher = freshman at uni). I finally had a break from all of that yesterday, since classes start today, and was able to go into central London and explore. We got off the tube at Embankment and walked along the River Thames, getting a beautiful view of the London Eye, Big Ben, and Palace of Westminster.
We then walked about 20 minutes over to Buckingham Palace and, while we didn’t get a chance to see the Changing of the Guard, we saw a musical performance from beyond the gates.
My experience here thus far has been confusing to say the least, but amazing all the same. Like I said, classes start later today, but luckily, my classes are on Monday and Tuesday only so I have more time to explore this beautiful city, as well as the rest of Europe.