Correspondents’ Corner is a place for The Pendulum’s team of international reporters to reflect on their time abroad and share stories about the new cultures they are experiencing.
Like most Elon students, I was drawn to the school because of the immense amount of academic opportunities offered and its natural surrounding beauty. In the initial information session, after learning of the five options to achieve the engaged learning graduation requirement, I looked at my parents and said, “I want to do all of those.” In that moment, I decided Elon would be a perfect fit for me. When time came for my junior year, the question was not should I study abroad, but where do I want to spend a semester if I can go almost anywhere in the world. Initially, I expected to travel far away to someplace exotic, but in my final decision, I chose London.
Four years ago, I travelled to London with my family. It is one of the largest cities in the world, filled with history and all different types of business. As a major city, it attracts people from all over the world, which helps create its rich and diverse culture. It will be comforting to travel to an English speaking country with many of my classmates. The city has so much to offer and I cannot wait to begin my exploration of it. Not only will I have a chance to experience many parts of England, but probably other parts of Europe as well. In my Cultures of Islam class, there is an optional three-day excursion to Istanbul that I eagerly signed up for. I am counting down the days until I embark on the European adventure of a lifetime.
What I really look forward to seeing is the growth that has occurred in the city of London. It will be interesting to observe how the Olympics caused the area to change. Even though many have compared London to New York City by saying it is slightly bigger, the Foundation for International Education where we are studying reminded us to prepare for a culture shock. Their materials mentioned how many students do not prepare for a foreign experience and it can come as a surprise. This admonition actually excites me because I want to go to a unique place to try different things. One can only imagine that any educational experience would be completely different from Elon, North Carolina — certainly London, England anyway. My semester stay will allow me to see how people from all over the world live and work together in the same city. It will be fascinating to examine how the city is divided and how people live in its various sections.
Travelers soon learn that there are many traditions that only “locals” are privy to and appreciate. Through living in London for the next four months, I believe I will have sufficient time to develop a true sense of its culture, and become more of an “insider” than a short-visited tourist before I leave.
[box] Are you interested in writing from abroad as an international reporter for The Pendulum? Email editor Katherine Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to become involved.[/box]