10 Things I Learned During my Semester in London

deanna schmidt




Grabbing the wrong passport and missing your flight is not the best way to start off your journey.


British people ignore the rain. They act as if it simply doesn’t exist. It isn’t happening. It is not raining. Carry on with your day as if everything is normal even though on the inside you are silently worrying about the state of your progressively dampening hair.



Are you a broke college student? If so, you can almost get away with scamming your way through a whole semester’s worth of free rides on the tube if you know how to work the system. Just pretend to scan your oyster card as you walk very close to the person in front of you who just went through the handicap door. It’ll look like you both scanned, even though your oyster card is £5 in debt. However, if you try this at a small station on a quiet day, you’ll practically get your head ripped off by the tube attendant who will force your friend to pay for your ride.



PSA: British guys wear leggings to work out. Avoid staring at them at all costs, because this is a completely ordinary sight.



Where’s the best place to party at uni in London? The kitchen. Why would you want to pregame in someone’s dorm room when you could pack into a stuffy, smelly, grimy kitchen instead? Hungry? Just steal someone’s food from the communal fridge. Not a partier? Too bad for you. You can’t drink your bedtime tea because a bunch of drunk 18-year-olds are blocking the way to the kettle.



Lemonade is not lemonade, it’s Sprite, and I don’t like soda, so when I took that first sip, expecting a gush of sweet goodness, I was hit with sour carbonation instead. Never in my life have I been so close to having a spit-take.



A lot of the feminine products here are awful, scratchy things. It’s as if they’re behind in their period technology. Don’t get me wrong, some of their products are good. However, they’re extremely hard to find. I don’t want to have to go on a scavenger hunt every time I have my period. And the rest? The pads are made out of an irritating material and don’t absorb much at all. The tampons don’t have plastic applicators. Nighttime pads are legit diapers. What makes it worse is that these products are sold in small amounts. Bitch, when I buy period products I want to STOCK UP. Don’t give me any of that boxes of 10 pads shit. That will not suffice. Why would I buy a box that won’t even last me through one period?



The lack of customer service here is a GODSEND. You don’t know how good it feels to walk into a Lush store and not get immediately attacked by every worker who’s available at the moment. You get to walk in there like you own the place and they don’t bother you at all.



Slits in-between bathroom stalls aren’t necessary. Public restrooms in other countries actually have full doors with no cracks. You have no reason to worry about accidentally making eye contact with a random person on the other side. Some even have tiny rooms all to yourself. But, you ask, how will I know if the stall is empty if there aren't slits? They have little signals built into the locks on the stalls— red for occupied and green for vacant. Who would have thought something so simple could make the bathroom experience that much less awkward. Get your shit together, America.



Now that it’s over, you can look back on 3 months’ worth of memories that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Also, your Instagram page is bangin’. You’ll be slaying the game with #TBT pictures for the next two years until you’ve run out of artsy pictures from your travels.



Deanna Schmidt is a senior English major and Psychology minor. She is a firm believer that ice cream can be eaten during any season at any time of day.