Now, many of you may think that London is full of the hustle and bustle of city life. And don’t get me wrong, it definitely is. However, there are many things that set apart my home university, nestled on the side of a mountain in good old Bethlehem, from the LSE. There are really some truly brilliant minds here at the LSE, and sometimes it’s definitely overwhelming. However, it does not seem like anyone in this town has a sense of urgency, and it has really been a challenge for me to adjust to this lifestyle. I’m one to always have a plan and schedule, and I hate when I feel like I’m going to be late. Here however, many of my fellow classmates tend to stroll into lectures 30 minutes late. Now, in the states, this rarely happens, and when it does, you get the whole class staring at you. Here? It seems to be the social norm to always be late.
Another astounding difference from any institution in the states versus here is that no one here expects to be spoon fed. To all my college friends back home, listen up! That’s right! There’s no one holding our hand telling us what exactly is going to be on the exam or what pages we have to read. Here everyone knows they just have to know everything and they accept it. There is not a huge stream of emails coming in every day making sure your classes are correct at the beginning of the semester, and advisors are not breathing down your neck to make sure you graduate on time. Everyone here is expected to fend for themselves and seek help when they need it, as opposed to being constantly asked if you do need help.
Another huge adjustment I’ve had to make is not knowing my actual class schedule. As opposed to knowing your exact schedule, professors, and classrooms a whopping 3 months before classes actually start, my “timetable” as they call it, is still not completely done. I’m heading into my second week here at the LSE and I only have 2 courses shown on my schedule, waiting for my other 2 which are pending to be approved. But here, students don’t find this as stressful as us American folk who are used to knowing these things well in advanced. People here just go with the flow, and still manage to get everything done.
This lifestyle is definitely something I am slowly adjusting to, and believe it or not, there is quite a bit of culture shock just coming to England. As I walk the streets to and from class, or when I’m running errands, every coffee shop, bar, and pub is filled with people at all hours of the day. And boy do people here love their alcohol. No matter what day of the week, there are floods of people in and around bars and pubs making the most of their happy hour (or happy evening I should say). But here, alcohol isn’t seen as it is here. Anywhere I go, even a museum cafe, they sell some sort of beer or cider. Here, people seem to be more responsible and don’t see it as a taboo lifestyle. It really is incredible that a school so prestigious as the LSE has approved the existence of “Wine Appreciation Society” (which I have decided to join!) and is run by the Student Union. In America, that is definitely unheard of.
All of these subtle differences have combined into what is turning into a very worthwhile experience as I continue my studies, make new friends from around the world, and adapt to a surprisingly foreign country.