I want to mention, briefly, why I have come here and what I hope to get out of it.

There are a lot of reasons, and very personal ones indeed, but I won’t hide them. I needed to get out of Swarthmore…that ultimately pushed me. I’m hoping that a new enviroment will allow me to be more introspective, take care of myself, not center my life on just academics as happens at Swat.

But I don’t want to be a tourist in London. I don’t want to be “The American,” even though it is inevitable. I know I can’t become a Briton just by spending one semester abroad in a college, but I want to experience a different way of life. I don’t know how to quite explain it, but I want to experience a meaningful semester where I form meaningful connections. I want to live in London, not just vacation and party. I know lots of students imagine their study abroad experience as one long party, but that’s not at all what I am looking for. When Erin told me about her experience in Buenos Aires, I was touched and inspired by her meeting with Argentinian restaurant owners and learning about Tao, and becoming friends with this family.

I don’t want to recreate my Swat or American life in London. In fact, I am in grave danger of doing that because I am still a student. But it’s meaningful to spend time with other Americans because we have similar hopes for our time in London, and we create our experience together.

Being a student makes the process a bit easier, I think, because you already have a community carved out for you. Not just the prescence of other students, but the student ticket discounts, the student nights in clubs and pubs. It’s eaiser in many ways.

I’m done spouting bad philosophy, or whatever. I’ll go back to my reporting position in my next post. Obligatory: Sunday Lunch.

PS It was such a lovely day in the village of Hampstead.