It’s officially week one of my immersion into British culture. I did not have the jitters while waiting in the airport or the night before. It was pure excitement. Who will I see? Who will I meet? Will I successfully assimilate? These were the questions that constantly ran through my head while waiting at Gate A17 of the Philadelphia International Airport.
While wandering through the airport in search of check-in, security check, and my gate, I was greeted with a familiar symbol. The Nittany Lion. Everyone always says that Penn State has thousands of alumni all over the world. Though I did not speak to those Penn Staters wandering around the airport, I had a feeling that I was not alone. I had a crazy idea to scream “We Are” and hope to hear the all too familiar “Penn State” ring through the halls of the airport. Instead, I decided to work on my goal of being more of an extrovert and I spoke to a nice British gentleman who was charging his phone near me.
Six hours later I exited my plane and was greeted with the smiling face of my friend Deborah and her dad. Unfortunately I grabbed the wrong paperwork to enter the country. Fortunately they allowed me into the country and we continued our journey into the city. I think that was the only time I was nervous or scared about what my next step would be. I decided to attempt my second goal which is to be okay with hanging out with myself. So for lunch I walked down a few streets in search of a small local place to sit and eat. It was odd, yet I enjoyed it. It gave me some time to think about everything that had happened thus far and what I wanted to do next.
The first few things on my to do list for this week and next week are to visit the British Museum, get a card for the British Library (let’s face it, that place is a book lover’s dream come true), and pick a street and just walk. Hopefully I find my favorite pub to study in or find my favorite floor in the British Library. There are two things that I have learned about myself after only a few days of being here. The first being that I do not have the patience for negativity or inconsideration. I only have four months in this beautiful country, so why should they be wasted on the few people that will find a way to make this experience negative? Therefore, I plan to be very friendly and try to make friends while I am here, but I am also willing to deny friendships for the betterment of my experience. The second slightly less introspective lesson that I have learned is that the British will eat chips (french fries) with almost anything. It will take some getting used to but I do not mind.
Check out some pictures from my first week abroad!
Daje Walker is a sophomore studying History and Secondary Education. For the Spring 2016 semester, she will be studying abroad in London, England.