Written By: Madison Harden
Stepping out of the airport and being sucked into the hustle and bustle of London’s grey city was, by far, one of the most discombobulating and overwhelming experiences. People here have places to be; they rush past in sophisticated black coats and heels, making a college student dressed in leggings and tennis shoes feel completely out of place. When studying in a new country, it is incredibly easy to feel as if everyone belongs there except you. I became aware of just how obvious my American accent was. Going grocery shopping stressed me out because I was worried I was doing it wrong and people could tell I wasn’t from here. I got way too caught up in trying to be apart of London, and I have to admit that it got really lonely.
I decided to join the dance society at UCL in hopes that it would help ease some of the culture shock I was experiencing. Everything about London was brand new, but dancing was familiar. Being apart of a UCL society is something that has only enhanced the experiences I’ve had while studying abroad, and it is one of my favorite opportunities I’ve taken advantage of so far. For those of you trying to adjust to life here, I highly recommend using your UCL membership for many reasons.
- You get to meet people who have the same interests as you, but also know their way around the city. London is huge, making it pretty difficult to find cool places to eat or really unique clubs and bars. The students at UCL, however, tend to throw a lot of socials and events around the city that will keep you wanting to explore the boroughs of London.
- They are incredibly welcoming, and are some of the nicest people you will meet. It is easy to feel welcomed in this community, and even easier to make friends. They greet new members with open arms and ensure that you feel just as included as everyone else in the society.
- You feel like a part of something. When studying abroad, there tends to be a lack of school spirit. With so much free time on my hands here in London, being on a team was exactly what I needed to both fill up my schedule and have a little bit more spirit. It was nice to be surrounded by people who had the same interests and passions as me, making it all the more easier to feel at home within the society.
- You can take part in really cool opportunities. Each club and society has its own unique events it puts on throughout the months. I was able to join the competition team on the dance society, and am traveling to Manchester with everyone for our last dance competition! There are so many socials, classes, and volunteering opportunities that UCL puts on for little to no cost. I highly recommend taking part in some of these, as they really allow you to explore your own interests as well as branch out and discover new people and places.
Moving to a new city for a few months is no easy feat, especially to one as big as London. If you’re looking for a way to fill up some free time, meet students local to the UK, and a chance to really experience all that the city has to offer, becoming a part of a UCL society will make your experience here at NYU in London all the better.