I swear, I blinked, and all the sudden I was at the end of the second term.
One day, I was flying back from Sweden, and unpacking all my luggage. Then, I wrote a few essays and travelled to Poland. Next thing I knew I was packing up my room again to prepare for my Easter Break travels (Budapest -> Istanbul -> Morocco -> Amsterdam, if you were wondering).
The reason has got to be the fact that I was just so much busier this term. Last term took a solid four or five weeks to properly start up, and I didn’t have an essay due until week 6 or something. This time, I had to hit the ground running, and basically just didn’t stop. I felt I was constantly doing something, if not always school related.
But here we are. Time for my second retrospective.
My initial assessment of LSE is still spot on, so go read that. However, I’m more cognizant of just how strange their schedule set up is. Basically, its 10 weeks on, 4 weeks off, 10 weeks on, 5 weeks off, and then Summer Term, which consists of a few weeks of revision classes and then exams. It’s just so radically different from anything else I’ve ever experienced, and I’m nervy for how I’ll perform during the exams themselves, which are three hour essay marathons.
Note that when I say ‘5 weeks off’, it’s not really a 5 week break. I’m expected to do at least two weeks worth of revision (I’ve scheduled for 12 days). Real LSE kids actually study for MOST of the time – they think us study abroad kids are insane for travelling so much during the breaks (I don’t know a single study abroad kid travelling for less than two weeks). But honestly, I’m only abroad for a year; gotta take advantage of it, yea?
I’ve fallen more and more in love with London this term. I’ve gone to more museums, quirky pop-ups, decadent restaurants, and lively pubs in this past year than I have the 20 years before combined (probably not actually, but still). It’s going to be very difficult going back to Pittsburgh for my senior year after this amazing experience of living in the middle of one of the most dynamic cities in the world.
What’s craziest is that I don’t really feel like a tourist anymore – I really feel like a native. That’s definitely one of the biggest benefits for studying abroad for a full year rather than just a single semester. I don’t really get lost anymore, I know what is going on every weekend, and I am confident when giving directions.
Find a group of people who will go with you to pubs once a week. Its a great way to explore the city.
Go to the Duck and Waffle. Order Duck and Waffle. Also everything else on that menu – it’s all good.
Londoners are pro at re-using old buildings – I once went to a club that was a former horse stable.
Beware putting your umbrella in the ‘communal umbrella storage’ area. It will get stolen.
Everyone has at least one recommended restaurant. There is no excuse for eating at Wasabi or EAT for the eighth time that month. Just ask someone.
When Brits ask ‘Are you alright?’, its not because you look like something is wrong with you. It’s their version of ‘What’s up?’.
After the first term, I decided that studying abroad was worth it, but just barely. After the second, I have decided that it is probably the best decision I could have made. I’ve matured a lot, seen new countries, and met great people. Sad to think that it’ll all be over so soon