Underground Abroad: When Culture Shock is a Real Thing

Week three and I am beginning to feel the homesickness. Last Tuesday I turned 20 and the only thing I wanted to do was FaceTime my family and friends. I think they talked about that during the cultural shock seminar that I partially slept through due to jet lag. I read all about the steps to overcome being homesick and most of them seem okay. “Go out and experience the city,” multiple sites have told me. I guess that works. I have attempted to keep myself busy during the day so that I will keep myself from thinking about what is happening back home. I am a little upset that I missed the blizzard. It reminds me of making a snowman with friends and watching my friend Matthew make his first snow angel while wearing a leather jacket.

This week’s excursions included a trip to the Museum of London for my women’s history course. We made our way through the Victorian Era and examined the way women were portrayed throughout history. The outfits were extravagant and would probably make me tip over and fall.

I also got to see a lot of street art this week. It’s always great to support those artists that paint what they see around them on a daily basis. It’s like seeing London through their eyes.

Camden Market was another peak of my week There, I picked up a few souvenir pieces. Each one was painted after the artist took a unique photo around the city.

There are so many cultures that are represented in London. After asking for the tenth time “what is stew,” I decided to have my friends, who are Nigerian, give me a brief trip into their culture. We traveled to Peckham, which was a tube and a bus ride away, to a Nigerian restaurant. I felt like a foreigner in the restaurant even though we were all of the same complexion. When I talk about my eating habits in Spain, I always said that I ate anything that said pollo, the Spanish word for chicken. After skimming the menu and not knowing what the sides were, I went with the chicken. Overall it was good. I had couscous with stew, which I still do not know the ingredients of, and I do not regret my decision. Over the next few months I will continue to try the foods of new cultures.

“As You Like It” by William Shakespeare was shown at the National Theatre this past Thursday. This was the first time that I have ever seen the play. I expected it to be like any other classic Shakespeare play. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they get torn apart for some reason, and they die in the end. However, I was surprised to find that the two lovebirds were reunited and no one was put to death. I look forward to the coming week’s plays.


Check out this week’s photo gallery:

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About Dajé Walker (17 Articles)
Dajé Walker is a sophomore studying Secondary Social Studies Education and History at the Pennsylvania State University. Her obsessions are learning about the history of different countries, trying new foods, and improving her very amateur photography skills. She will be studying abroad this spring with the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES Abroad) in London, England. As an aspiring educator and researcher, she hopes to learn from every experience that she has over the course of the semester. She will be writing weekly reflections on her adventures this semester.

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