By Lauren Achée /// Staff Writer
When people from home ask me about what it’s like to live in London, I only have one word to say: overwhelming. London is a city that is constantly on the move, with people always weaving around one another to get to their destinations, navigating the crowded Tube and swarming streets. If you were to capture London in a photograph, it would be full of electric blurs– the city itself seems to move and dilate under your feet.
This overwhelming quality is heightened by the fact that I am here completely on my own. I came to London alone, without knowing a single person here. There were no study abroad programs at Lewis & Clark that had everything I wanted, so I applied to universities in the UK as an international study abroad student, applied for a leave of absence from LC, and found myself here at Queen Mary University of London six months later.
In what felt like the blink of an eye (I was accepted here in November 2014), I went from living in a house in Portland with my closest friends to living in a flat with two British students, two Italian students, and a fellow American, all of whom I had never met before, all with different life experiences, and all with different ways of saying “pasta” and “aluminum.”
Because I have senior standing and am on track to graduate early, little to none of the classes I take here will transfer, making my experience 100 percent immersive. I am here to be in a new country and to learn about myself.
There is no part of me that regrets the decision to go at this alone. I have never in my life been so out of my comfort zone or so aware of how comfortable I was in Portland. Sometimes it feels that I am standing still and this city is just moving around me, but this crushing feeling also seems completely necessary to my personal growth.
Some days it’s hard, and some days I miss the comfort of Portland. But I feel so completely lucky to feel this way. It means that I am in the position to learn so much about myself, about how I deal with new situations, and about the person I am outside of the comfort of home. And that is pretty exciting.