Life in London as a Study Abroad Student: The First Few Days

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The Fordham London Centre campus in daytime (courtesy of Instagram).

Hailey Daniels, Contributing Writer

I have been living in London for just over a week now and I want to share my experience thus far for anyone interested in studying abroad here.

I am a part of the study abroad program at Fordham London Centre located in the borough of Camden. My apartment, or “flat”, is called “Kamden House.”  It is just a five-minute walk from campus. I have four roommates and we share double bedrooms and two bathrooms. The rooms are not too spacious, but they are fully furnished with two dressers, two nightstands and two lamps in each, giving us a decent amount of storage space. Though the bedrooms may be small, the kitchen and living room are rather large. 

However, I have spent very little time inside since there is so much to do in the city.  Fordham hosts several  orientation programs including Krazy Golf, where students went to a mini-golf course that was also a restaurant/bar venue, and a boat cruise that was open invitation. A few other programs offered included a tour of Harry Potter filming locations, an “espionage” tour and tickets to the Tower of London. Because of limited capacity, students had to sign up for these events beforehand.

Though some of these events cost money, they are worth it for the experience. One of my favorite events was a boat cruise that I attended with some friends. It was an almost four-hour journey on the River Thames. The boat had two bars, a dance floor and catered food. It was an amazing sightseeing opportunity; we cruised underneath the London Bridge and saw the city from a new perspective. 

My roommates and I decided to go to the Tower of London, which I would recommend to anyone who is visiting the city. Although I have only seen it twice in my life, I feel that it is one of the must-see landmarks in London. It is essentially a museum and  it is so massive that someone could undoubtedly spend hours there. You get to walk through the rooms of the castle, peruse artwork, admire authentic armor and most notably, view the crown jewels. It does not feel like you are learning as you walk through the old walls of the castle; it feels like you are stepping into the past and becoming accustomed to what it must have been like to live there. 

All of the classes that I am enrolled in are three-hour-long lectures that meet once a week. Obviously, this is completely different from Fordham’s New York campuses, so it has been a major adjustment. However,  the professors grant short breaks throughout the lesson to partition up the class time. It is far from unbearable, but I would recommend only taking classes that you are genuinely interested in so that it is not something you dread going to. 

The workload is about the same as any other class I have taken at Fordham, but it is a little overwhelming to hear a week’s worth of material in one class. I would advise you spend a little time every day reviewing what you have learned in the class to fully understand it. That being said, having only one class a week makes for a lot of possibilities in your schedule. Most people I know have four-day weekends, with Thursday to Sunday free from classes. There are no classes offered on Fridays. 

So far, my weekends have been spent attending ticketed events at club-like venues. Pubs are also a huge hit among college-age people. Many of the places I have gone to are usually majority American study abroad students from other colleges or universities, and a mix of European students as well. Of course, there are also locals that visit, but they typically steer clear of the notoriously American-ridden places. 

These places are very similar to clubs in New York, but here, live music is a really big part of the experience for people. In New York, this is not typically the case, as normally EDM or pop music just plays from speakers. Most places I have visited thus far have live performances by local bands which really adds to the entire experience.