An American in London

Erika Escueta

Second semester at Villanova has just arrived. The self-consciousness of beginning college, and a new stage in life disappears.In its place is the feeling of being comfortable with roommates (hopefully), dorm life and walking from South to the fourth floor of Tolentine at 8:15 a.m. While this is the case for most freshmen, 23 other students and I found ourselves moving to a new country just as we were getting settled into Villanova.

On Jan. 7, I flew from Los Angeles to Newark and ended up in Heathrow. I am part of the Global Citizens Programme. (Note: not “program.” I am in London now, mind you.) We take four classes which last for 10 weeks; yes, that does mean that we take our finals in mid-March. Following the 10-week course, we have an internship which lasts for six weeks.

Upon arriving here I did not expect much of a culture shock; after all we do speak the same language, and London is just across the pond from Villanova. I was wrong. For the first week, we stuck out like a burrito in a fruit bowl. Londoners would comment on “those Americans.” We did, in fact, have cameras in our hands as someone with a loud excited voice announced to the group, “Let’s go to the pub tonight!”After a week of being tourists – seeing Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and shopping at Harrods – the realization that we actually lived here began to settle in. Tidbits of knowledge common to the typical Briton began to click. “Pants” means “underwear” so “trousers” have to mean “pants.” Duh.

Getting around to places became easier. Classes are all within a 15-minute walk and places like Picadilly Circus are only a couple of public transportation stops away. Speaking of which, sorry, SEPTA, but the London Underground is more convenient by tenfold.

As for accommodations, our flat in South Kensington contains slight differences. My three flatmates, also from Villanova, and I share a kitchen, a bathroom and a common room. The flat next door houses juniors from Boston University. We have no meal plan, but shopping in a foreign market and cooking in our kitchen is always an adventure.

Well, that’s about all for now, but next week we’re off to Stonehenge. So until next time, cheers, Villanova!