I spent this past summer in London, studying through Temple’s School of Communications and Theater’s British Mass Media Seminar.
Before I left, I was having some doubts: thinking I should get a job instead, worrying about leaving my boyfriend for so long, all that kind of stuff.
Whenever the voices in my head got too loud, I would tell myself: You’ll be glad you did it. It might be difficult at times, but ultimately it will be good for you.
Things that are easy to do never amount to anything much anyway, right?
I had to repeat this mantra to myself over and over again, but in the end, it turned out to be true.
Spending the summer in London was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
It was not all fun, not by a long shot, but that was what made it so worthwhile.
I figured it would be relatively easy to assimilate into the culture of the United Kingdom; after all, they do speak the same language as we do. I was wrong on all counts.
First of all, it might seem like the same language. I mean, it does have the same name and all, but it really isn’t.
I realized the full impact of our language barrier upon arriving to Ireland for a weekend trip.
Being that I was traveling with two classmates, we figured we’d save money by booking a double room and requesting a cot for the third person.
Upon arrival, we asked for our room and noticed we were getting some strange looks from the receptionist.
After a few minutes of awkward conversation, we learned that “cot” actually means crib.
By the looks we received, I guess they were wondering which one of us was taking the crib for the night.
Aside from the language barrier, which was, at the very worst, just extremely embarrassing, one of the most difficult (and best) things about being in a foreign country is that every little normally mundane thing turns into an adventure.
One of our first days there, my roommates and I were looking for a place to eat dinner.
We were aimlessly wandering around our neighborhood, with growing appetites, when we stopped to get our bearings.
Just then, a woman standing near us said to her friends, “Are you sure you want to eat around here? There are so many better places to go.”
The group then started to cross the street. My roommate looked at us and said, “Let’s follow them.”
So off we went, trying to look like we just happened to be going the same direction.
We were careful to not follow too close. At the same time, we were careful to not lose them.
After about 15 minutes, they led us to a street lined with restaurants.
We ended up having a great dinner at a little Italian place complete with a singing waiter.
There were some rough times too.
However, with a sense of humor and a love of adventure, helped everything turn out for the best.
We even got a full-sized bed for that room in Ireland; luckily, no one had to sleep in the crib.
I would definitely recommend a summer or semester abroad to anyone who wants to have a great time, learn more about themselves, as well as the world around them and come back with lots of stories.
Stephanie Lovern can be reached at email@example.com..