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London – Learning to Adjust

    By Taylor Lopez. October 28, 2013 - 4:01 pm

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While planning to study in a foreign country for a year, I expected that the adjustment period would be long, sometimes fun and sometimes frustrating.

But, I thought at least there isn’t a language barrier to hurdle, since in England they also speak English. After being here for more than a month, I realized that the language was a little harder to understand.

Adjusting wasn’t just a thought but an action.

Transportation

I took for granted my car, and now without one I’ve had to rely on public transportation. Unlike in Hawai‘i, London relies more on trains and subways.

Although, the topic of the rail is still up in the air, it hasn’t actually been put into use.

For me, learning to ride a train was sort of like learning to riding a bike, except this bike was really fast. Since I am about 30 minutes from London I have to take the train to the Underground or the Tube, the country’s subway system.

Before getting on the train I have to buy a ticket at the till, their word for cashier.

I seemed to have this problem everywhere I go. I present my Hawai‘i ID and the cashier scans it then looks at me and does this until satisfied that it’s an actual ID and not one made up off of some movie.

Then there is the question of the credit card of whether it is real or not since it doesn’t have a chip like the credit cards in England do.

All in all it was a long process figuring out that when the train or the Underground arrives, you better have your ticket and quick reflexes because those double doors close quickly.

Also, I knew I wasn’t on an island anymore when I could take road trips or train trips that were more than two hours!V37#8_learningtoadjust_tlopez

School

When I first arrived here I had to go through a week of induction, which helps the exchange students settle in to the UK school system.

I’ve learned that the school here is more independent and they have three different classifications of classes: seminar, workshop and lecture.

Back home I was used attending three-hour classes spread out through the week, but here lecture is one hour for some classes, another hour is seminar, and another hour is workshop or two to three hours of workshop, etc.

This all equals out to be very confusing.

Although, it allows for students, including myself, to have flexible schedules, which makes travel possible during the school year.

Weather

England has beautiful architecture but unfortunately not beautiful weather.

When I arrived here I was greeted with clear skies and relatively warm weather.

This was just a trick though as it didn’t last long and soon the rain began to fall and the sun disappeared.

When I began to think 50 to 60 degrees was a warm day, I knew that I had begun to adjust.

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All photos by Taylor Lopez.