Ode to my study abroad friends

I was nervous to study abroad not knowing anyone beforehand. It felt like starting college all over again. But within the first 24 hours, I was confident that I had met some great people and that it was going to be a great trip. It was nice to have a group of people to push me to do new things, and I discovered far more with them than I would have on my own. London is a wonderful city, and I am so glad I got to explore it with them. 

These people are the “them” I was referring to:

Chuck: a foodie and born to live abroad. He found the greatest Karak tea from Chapati and Karak (highly recommend). He spent a lot of time on the floor of my room, so I would keep my door unlocked. One night me came back from dinner and opened my door wearing a Queen Elizabeth mask he bought on High Street. It was horrifying. 

Whitney: an excellent dancer and gets along with literally anyone. Whitney and Chuck spent a lot of time singing and dancing for me. One night in my room, they sang “Maritza-leigh” for me, their adaptation of Amy Winehouse’s Valerie. After a brunch in the City of London, we walked over to Saint Paul’s Cathedral and sang Tuppence a Bag (a song from the original Mary Poppins, about the steps of Saint Paul’s for anyone who is unfamiliar). 

Sophie and Halina: they always look fabulous. On a train on the way to a vineyard in Kent for one of our classes, we were telling each other about our dogs. Sophie and Halina told me about their Boston Terrier Boris. Apparently, he’s a bougie dog—he loves his family, but he’s not so friendly with other people, and he hates fingers. Hearing them swoon over him was heartwarming and hilarious. Added note, Sophie thinks Golden Retrievers are vicious. Which was also hilarious, because my Golden Retriever, Hooper, is the sweetest dog of all time, but she adamantly stuck to her belief. 

Jake: also always looks fabulous and fueled my ABBA obsession. After our 10-day quarantine, we danced down our street while Jake played Dancing Queen. Chiquitita became the song of the summer, and I think Jake was the only one who didn’t get tired of me playing it by the end of our trip.  

Cate: finds the greatest jewelry. Earrings, necklaces and rings were always unique and amazing. I met her in Spitalfields Market one afternoon and she showed me a jewelry stand where all the jewelry was handmade. She inspired me to buy a big, bold ring, which is a big deal for me because I rarely wear rings. Later that evening on our way back from dinner, we took a bus not realizing it was going in the opposite direction we needed to go until we’d been riding for 45 minutes. Luckily, London transportation is easy to figure out and we were soon back on track. 

Henry: incredibly outgoing, spontaneous, and does the greatest impressions. He made friends with someone new every time we went out. At a bar one evening, I turned around to see Henry taking turns twirling around a dancing pole with a man I’d never seen before. 

Wylie: warm and energetic. She and Chuck both loved anything horror or haunted. They went on a self guided haunted scavenger hunt of sorts and came back around 2 a.m. (much later than they thought they would). I was in bed at this point, but I heard scratching on my door and got up to find the two of them standing outside my room after their tour. They recounted their night: how the hints were much harder to follow than they expected, the most haunted house in London, and how they ended up walking through Hyde Park at midnight listening to creepy music.

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.

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