Study Abroad Column: Cheers From London

Before January 19, I had never been to London. Now a month and a half into Colgate’s London History Study Group, I consider myself a Londoner. I take the tube, eat classic English breakfasts and have even started substituting “Thank you”with “Cheers.” While my British accent still needs a lot of work, I enjoy being immersed in the London culture and taking advantage of what this great city has to offer.

However, I can’t help but compare my current London semester to my past semesters at Colgate. Although Hamilton and London are an ocean apart, both places share startling similarities. In London, you can expect a rainy forecast most of the week, and an umbrella is vital to surviving the city. Luckily, classes are a short five-minute walk away. Compared to the snowy weather Colgate has and the difficulty of getting uphill after a heavy snowfall, I love the ease of getting to class. 

Additionally, everything you need is relatively close. Rather than walking ten minutes into town to grab a bite to eat, pick up medicine at Kinney’s or buy essentials at Price Chopper, you can get anywhere in London pretty quickly through the tube or even by walking. 

Obviously, there are stark contrasts between the two, one of the biggest differences being the change from a rural to an urban environment. Living in the middle of London, I have everything I could ever need within walking distance. Although London is one of the busiest and most populous cities in the world, it is relatively small in terms of area. One of my favorite differences between Colgate and London is the food quality. The variety of restaurants near our flats is unreal, taking foods from across the Earth and putting it into one city block.

Even though I miss Royal India Grill more than I miss my family, the Indian restaurants in London are famous for a reason and provide some of the best Indian food in the world. Also, the nearest Chipotle is ten minutes from our flats, which is considerably better than the 45 minute drive to New Hartford. Another large difference is the entertainment that London brings. Isolated from the rest of New York, Hamilton’s entertainment is limited to the Hamilton movie theater and Colgate events, whereas London provides multiple types of entertainment. Every week, our group sees a different play in London’s theater district, which exposes us to the London arts. For those who prefer London athletics over London arts, the city is home to some of the best football clubs in the world, such as Arsenal and Chelsea. 

Even though I’ll be enjoying everything London has to offer for the next few months, I will be missing Hamilton’s cold nights, few restaurants and the grueling walks uphill. Although I’ll be substituting hockey games and SPW for travelling Europe and eating delicious food, I can’t wait to head back to the most beautiful campus in the United States.