Radford University – Fashion Design
The First Day
Arriving in London can be a bit of a cultural shock, especially, if it is your first time traveling abroad. For a small town girl, being placed in a giant metropolis in general can be scary. I had been to England earlier in the year and have had the chance to absorb some of the culture and to determine if staying a longer term was good for me. I needed no introduction though, and quickly grew to love this new land. For me, London was love at first sight! It was sort of an adventure that grew on me and I continued to learn things everyday about this foreign country. I became familiar with customs and the lingo/dialect before I arrived as I have close friends from England who currently live in Virginia. I was prepared for my arrival from the beginning and everything fell into place smoothly.
London is a great European city, but it can be intimidating to any newcomer. Fortunately, I have a few friends that I have made throughout the past few years. I had a mate who worked out of London and he met me at Heathrow airport upon my arrival, a day before all the students were supposed to move into their flats. We immediately rode the tube from the terminal towards his home in Zone 4. He explained to me how the tube system worked and where I would need to get on and get off, while handing me a map to study. The underground web of transportation was confusing at first, but I quickly became familiar with it in a matter of days. Already having connections with friends living in England helped me better adapt to and understand the city and its customs. I was better able to prepare for my trip by making future arrangements and phoning or emailing people overseas for advice. This eased my fears of being alone in a city full of strangers. I slept most of the day in order to fight off a five hour time zone difference accompanied with jet lag. We went out in the city that night dancing at a club as a kind of celebration of my arrival. The nightlife is fabulous here and living in this area proved that there was never a dull moment.
The next day, we took the tube to Russell Square where we moved my luggage into my assigned flat. There I had the chance to meet my new flat mates, a lovely group of girls from all over the United States. It was easy to find the housing as AIU had sent me directions and information concerning the movein in advance and they were always available to answer my questions. I went to the main building and picked up my keys and schedule, and then set up my things properly in the room. There were three people to a bedroom, and three bedrooms in all. The whole street housed AIU students, which was nice, because we could visit with each other in the convenience of close quarters.
I set up my things in the room and went on a three hour walk through the West End of the city and ate lunch. I couldn't believe we resided in such a wonderfully convenient location. The group of students met up with tour guides later in the day for a walk around the central part of the city with directions to campus. Sites and historical landmarks were pointed out to us and activities were suggested that we might participate in. Later, everyone met up in a local pub for a chance for us all to get to know one another. This was when I truly I began to feel more comfortable with my surroundings.
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