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Social Survival: Study Abroad in London

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Moving abroad is both terrifying and exciting—your emotions will feel like a never-ending roller-coaster. But right when the roller-coaster finally comes to an end, you are going to wish you had more time. So here are my tips on how to make the most of your semester in London, starting from take off.

I will be incredibly honest when I say I was terrified to come abroad. I am close to my family, I like my routine, but I always wanted to live in London. So I got over my fears and what-ifs and made a life-changing decision to study at LSE. But before we get to the fun stuff, we have to get to London. If you feel nervous before your flight that’s normal (l cried the entire flight to London) but right when I got off the plane everything felt okay. Luckily, IFSA made it easy and provided accommodations so we could get acclimated to the city before beginning our semester. This was super helpful to make friends in London and begin to get a feel for the tube and the train. During this period, IFSA brought us on a tour of the city which ended with a boat ride on the River Thames. We then departed to our accommodations where we could finally begin life as a student in London.

How to make the most of your first semester? Be social. This might seem scary at first, my friends and I felt like we lost all social skills when we first moved. But, everyone is in the same boat as you and is trying to make a friend. So try your hardest not to be shy because I promise everyone else is trying to make friends.

In addition to being friendly, get involved! LSE hosted club fairs which were a super easy way to meet new people with similar interests. I joined the Lacrosse and Netball team and met so many people to hang out and explore the city with.

Being social is a great way to take advantage of your first semester because it will force you to explore the city (and surrounding countries) because everyone always wants to do something or try new things. In my first semester, I was able to go to the South of France, Dover, Italy, and Vienna with the new people I became friends with.

Even though you might feel inclined to constantly be on the move, do not forget to take a breath and look around London. This is your home away from home for the semester and you want to familiarize yourself with it. Also, school is still in
session and you want to make sure you make time to do your schoolwork. But most importantly you want to keep yourself healthy so you can make the most of your time in London. I recommend getting a gym membership—there are awesome student discounts.

Overall, have fun, breathe, take so many photos, and enjoy your time because it will go by so quickly.

Bella Bruno (Skidmore College) attended the London, School of Economics in the Fall of 2023 through IFSA’s London, England study abroad program.