The Experience Of A Lifetime
Start writing a post
Student Life

The Experience of a Lifetime

Traveling to London for college credit was quite possibly the greatest decision of my life.

Emily Hendricks
Emily Hendricks

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated with everything European: the accents, the royalty, the landmarks. One of my lifelong dreams has always been to travel to England and spend some time in London. This past summer, I was given the opportunity to do just that, and to get some college credit while I was at it. I was excited about the chance to see the world, and maybe make some new friends along the way.

I was nervous about experiencing everything all on my own.

Originally, one of my best friends was supposed to come with me, seeing as she was the one who told me about the program at the end of freshman year. Because the trip was such a large investment–nearly $5,000, not including the flight, meals, and other expenses–she ended up dropping out of the trip. While I was quite nervous and afraid to experience everything on my own, I knew it would benefit me in the end, because it would push me out of my comfort zone and force me to do things for myself, as well as forge new friendships.

I found a list of other people on the trip and was able to find their various social media pages.

After signing up and being accepted to the program, I found a tentative list of who else would be going on the trip. Because I didn't recognize any names and being myself, I attempted to cyber-stalk the various names on the list, trying to decide if I should reach out to anyone else going. I found a few social media pages, but I felt awkward messaging anyone. One day, I found one of the girls' Facebooks, and looking at her photos at the top of her page, saw we had a friend in common. In fact, she was best friends with a friend of mine I knew from my high school, so I texted her to see if she would be willing to meet up before the trip. Luckily, she was more than happy to meet up and talk about the program, she even texted me the information for the flight she and her friend–another girl on the trip–were taking so I could join.

I applied for scholarships to try and make the trip more affordable.

While going through the process, I applied for four scholarships: one being the Purdue Moves scholarship of $1,000, one was through Krannert, and the other two were offered through the Foundation for International Education, which was offering the program we were going on. Out of these four I received three, amounting in $3,500 to go towards the trip, for which I am eternally grateful.

A few months passed by and before you knew it we were in London.

Fast forward a few months, and we set out for Europe from Chicago. Megan, Anna, and I arrived at Heathrow in the early morning, then went to settle in at our flat before doing a little exploring with some of the other Purdue students we would be living with. That night, we had our welcome meeting and were soon off to bed because we were exhausted from our flight. The next morning, we set out! We explored and walked all over town, amounting to a whopping 13.2 miles, according to my watch. We started in Kensington Gardens–which was right down the street from where we were living, might I add–and explored that area, seeing the Palace as well as various monuments. We found ourselves near Buckingham Palace, then walked down the iconic Mall to Trafalgar Square, followed by Big Ben, the London Eye at the River Thames, and so much more. It was only the second day and we had already at least glanced at some of the most iconic landmarks in the city.

I made life long friendships that I will forever cherish.

As our month-long trip went on, the three of us became very close. We spent all of our time together and even made friends with some of the others on the trip. Of course, during the day, we went to class or went on field trips, but after class was over, we had free time to spend however we wanted. We explored all of central London, both on foot and the Underground. One weekend we went to Switzerland (casual, right?) and another Anna and I explored Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge on a bus tour. We went to Buckingham Palace (like 6 times), Brighton Beach, the Tower Bridge, multiple cathedrals, and saw Big Ben–even though it is entirely covered in scaffolding. We rode the London Eye, regardless of the fact that none of the three of us were a fan of heights. For my birthday, we went to an ice bar where you had to wear a parka and gloves, because not only was the room as cold as a freezer, it was made of ice! Even our glasses were large ice cubes with a deep hole in the center! We took pictures everywhere we went, and each of us kept a journal, even though we often forgot to write in them. Our little group had movie nights, played cards, went for gelato or crepes, and overall had the time of our lives together. The last Wednesday, my aunt and uncle and cousins were actually in London on vacation, so we met up for dinner, which was a truly incredible experience.

Emily HendricksMegan (L), Anna (R), and I on the London Eye over the River Thames Emily Hendricks

I did not want to leave at the end of our trip.

Towards the end of the month, I was so sad to leave. I was nervous for our finals, and I knew I would miss the place that I had called home for the past few weeks, even though I was already missing Indiana and my family and friends. While it was definitely a challenge being away from home for so long, left to my own devices, and thrust into a place similar but still very different from home, I had learned so much. About the European Union and marketing–the topics of my classes–about the people I lived with, and most importantly, about myself. I knew I was independent, but I didn't realize to what extent. I knew I loved to travel, but I could finally explain why. I felt free. If you ever get the opportunity to study abroad, or even just to travel, I encourage you to take it, because it will be the best thing you ever experience. Explore a new place and find joy in it, but most importantly, find yourself.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

Love Lost

Being the girl that is falling for the boy is never easy.

Love Lost

You constantly text my phone telling me that you want to see me and hang out, even though we may not have sex we cuddle and that’s intimacy in its own. I’m tired of buying you food and being there for you like a girlfriend when you consistently tell me you aren't ready for a girlfriend. I am constantly feeling I’m getting slapped in the face because I’m doing all these things and getting nothing in return. Every day I feel myself liking you more which is just crazy because why would I even waste my time liking someone there isn’t a future with. I just want you to be honest with me and with yourself, tell me how you feel from your heart, stop just saying you aren’t ready. You are wasting time telling me you aren’t ready because while you are “getting ready” some guy somewhere else is telling me that he likes me and thinks I’m beautiful and wants to date me. I’m not asking for much, but I at least want exclusivity because you ask me for all these things but in return you give me nothing.

Keep Reading...Show less
Pretty Little Liars

From reading the books in eighth grade to watching the television show all throughout high school, "Pretty Little Liars"basically defined my teenage existence. I was completely and totally obsessed on all accounts. However, even though I loved the fact that the books and the show are starkly different, there are simply just some ways in which the books are much better. Let's take a look:

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

To The Girl In The Back Row

I just want you to know you are loved. You are loved so very much.

To The Girl In The Back Row

Recently I was blessed to be a counselor at a wonderful camp, secluded in a cornfield somewhere in Virginia. I consider myself to be a seasoned camp counselor, as I have not only been a camper for most of my life but have been privileged enough to work multiple camps with all kinds of different facilities. I have worked camps with multi-thousand dollar facilities, with zip lines, rock walls, ropes courses, and boats. I have worked at camps with amazing water sports, camps with paintball, camps with canoes and paddle boats and floating blobs or trampolines in the middle of the water. I have worked at camps with in ground pools and camps without any pools, and even some camps with go-karts. I've had problem kids, kids who refuse to listen to anything I say, kids who sneak out after lights out to meet a significant other, and kids who are every camp counselors dream.

Keep Reading...Show less

Why The United Nations Is Key For The World

"As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th"- Donald J. Trump

Why The United Nations Is Key For The World

The United Nations (UN) has been in existence since June of 1945. Since then, the world has come together to work on and solve some of the harshest problems that face the Human Race. Be it children in societal ills like Human Trafficking, natural issues like Deforestation, or issues of extreme poverty, the UN has worked together in an attempt to make it a better place for us all. It's the only organization in the history of the world to bring people together in a willing, peaceful way; a feat that not even the League of Nations could do in the Post- WWI era. Why was it that one organization failed, and the other one is still going strong, 72 years later?

Keep Reading...Show less
Rory Gilmore

Quick-witted and insanely smart, Rory Gilmore has a track record for memorable, relevant quotes that have become a part of fans’ repertoires. With it being finals season, many of Rory’s words can be conveniently interpreted to reflect life during the last weeks of the semester. Here are some of Rory’s wisest words that explain your life during finals season.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments