I’ve compiled three lists that I think contain information that most people wouldn’t really think about when studying abroad or visiting England or other countries. I only thought/learned about these things because of my experience abroad.
Things that are worth spending money on during studying abroad:
- Drying rack or hangers if the dryers in your residence hall aren’t reliable. At my residence hall, the dryers never fully dried my clothes. I would have to get creative on how to hang my clothes in my small dorm room. I wish I would’ve spent the extra money to buy a drying rack so that it wouldn’t have been as big a hassle as it was.
- A mattress pad if your bed is uncomfortable. I thought that I could survive the semester on a lumpy bed, until my parents surprised me with an amazon shipped foam mattress pad as my birthday gift. I didn’t realize how poorly I was sleeping until I slept on the mattress pad. Even though it is a little pricey, it helped with my overall health, mood, and school performance since I was getting a better quality of sleep.
- Going out to eat in your new “home” city. My friends and I hardly went out to eat and we regretted it because we didn’t get to immerse ourselves in the unique restaurants that our city has. During one of my last weeks, we went to an Indian restaurant that had some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had. If only I would’ve gone there sooner, because I could’ve been eating incredible food more often throughout the semester.
Small things that I won’t miss about Leeds and/or England as a whole:
- The £1 coins. In England, they don’t have a £1 bill, only a coin. This seemed convenient at first, but after a while I got sick of it because the coins would get so heavy in my wallet or pocket.
- Walking up a hill to get to campus. I would walk 20 minutes uphill every day during the semester to get to campus—sometimes even more than once a day!
- The rain. People are not kidding when they comment about how rainy England is. The only time that I can remember the weather being good for more than 4 days in a row was during finals, so no one could even enjoy the wonderful weather. I learned during the semester to just always have my umbrella in my backpack, because even if the weather forecast says that it won’t rain, there is a high chance that it still will.
Small things that I will miss about Leeds and/or England as a whole:
- The slang. Everyone says “hiya” or “you alright?” when they greet you, and “cheers” to say goodbye. I love the way it sounds with a British accent. The other slang that British people said I didn’t even fully understand what it meant, but I thought it sounded cool.
- The fashion styles. I noticed in England that there are no rules to fashion. People can dress in so many different styles and trends with no judgements from others. I know if some people wore their same outfit in America, they’d get some funny looks. I think it is neat that people in England feel free to express themselves through any fashion style that they feel comfortable and good in.
- What time the sun sets. Once daylight savings came, it has progressively gotten darker later and later in England. In Madison, the peak sunset time is around 8:40 p.m., but in England, the peak sunset time is around 9:30 p.m. I feel like I have so much more time in my day when the sun sets so late!