Remembering that studying abroad is a privilege

Maya Anderman | Daily Trojan

Maya Anderman | Daily Trojan

Well we have officially reached the halfway mark of the semester. I can’t say I’m surprised at all.  As cheesy as it is, there’s a reason the saying “time flies when you’re having fun” exists. When people ask me how I’ve been enjoying my time here in London, I’ll usually give them an answer along the lines of “it’s great, amazing, I love it, etc.” but I’ve realized that response is totally boring and gives people no real indication of how I’m actually doing. Since this realization, I’ve spent some time reflecting on why I am able to talk about my experiences here so positively.

Simply put, I think when it comes down to it I just feel extremely lucky to be here. My roommate and I always joke that we’ve hit our “peak” in life; we get to live in one of the most diverse and beautiful cities in the world as students with no real responsibilities in complete control of how we want to spend our time. Aside from the three to six hours of class we have per day, we don’t really have any other commitments here. One day I can come home, go to yoga and do some grocery shopping, while other days we may sporadically decide to go to a fancy afternoon tea.

Our program plans a huge number of outings for us, from visits to Stonehenge and Bath to seeing Benedict Cumberbatch in “Hamlet” at the Barbican Theater. To top it all off, the proximity of other European countries allows us to travel over the weekends. In just these next two weeks I’m going to Barcelona with my mom, as well as visiting friends from high school in Milan. My life in London is a series of endless adventures and opportunities to explore new places.

Through all this craziness, I found that I was almost taking advantage of my time here. It’s so easy to get caught up in it that I got used to this kind of lifestyle and didn’t stop to think just how amazing it is that I am able to do all this. Studying abroad really is a privilege, one that not everyone can experience, and for that reason, I think myself and anyone else off on any international academic adventure should stop and remember to not take our time abroad for granted. I don’t know if there will ever be another point in my life where I will be financially stable enough to live in a city like London. And if I do, I highly doubt I will have the time, or luxury, to be able to partake in all the different types of activities that I have this past semester.

My time here really is precious, and that’s why when people ask me how I’m enjoying London I respond so enthusiastically. Because any point in your life where you value every minute as much as I do, it is something truly special. It’s something I will continuously have to remind myself not to take for granted.