This post was written by Erica Steinberg, who is currently studying abroad at University College London.
Hello from across the pond! Living abroad is a surreal experience. I still can’t believe that I’m living in London, within walking distance to Parliament, Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street. It actually feels a lot like my life at GW, where I was within walking distance to the White House, Lincoln Memorial and Dupont Circle. Everyday London life is much like everyday D.C. life, except for the added bonus of British accents.
I’m having the best time here. Although school at University College London is really challenging and time-consuming, I still find time to have fun. I just got to celebrate my 21st birthday here, which was definitely something I will never forget! The Brits know a thing or two about birthdays, but I digress.
I could go on and on about how I have toured Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, but I don’t want to bore you with something you could read in a guidebook. I’d rather share my more interesting adventures. After about a month of living here, I have actually made some British friends! Last week I spent an evening at a pub, chatting it up with some boys I met in my residence hall. They essentially spent the whole night making fun of our accents and we basically spent the whole time swooning over theirs. It was really fun and the whole group seemed to be having a great time. But of course, this would have been too good to be true.
After a few hours in the pub and quite a few beers, the British guys decided it would be fun to debate politics and U.S. history. What an experience this was! Here’s a news flash: British people think Americans are complete morons. The guys started asking us questions that didn’t even directly relate to American history. One of them asked me who General Lafayette was. What a random question! The extent of my knowledge about General Lafayette is that he was a general who helped us win the revolutionary war, and that there is a dorm at GW named after him. That’s it.
Apparently that wasn’t good enough for British Boy, and he started making fun of me for not knowing enough American history. But Lafayette is not even an American general. HE’S FRENCH! My only defense at this point was to say that the last time I studied U.S. history was in high school and my concentration at “university” has nothing to do with history (at this point in the argument I was yelling in an attempt to defend my honor). Finally, I asked him what his major was , hoping it was something like political science or history in a last-ditch effort to prove I wasn’t a moron and that he presumably knew more than I did because he had studied this stuff more than I have. Guess what he studies? History! Shocking, I know. British Boy: 0. Erica: 1.
In other news, I have already done a lot of traveling in Europe. Last month I visited Paris and Brussels, and I am currently planning a trip to Amsterdam this month. I can’t wait to see what the rest of Europe has in store for me! As you can probably tell, I am having a great time, but I miss GW and the Hatchet every day! Cheers!