“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life!” – Samuel Johnson
The last time I told you all the reasons why you will regret it if you don’t take a gap year after your high school graduation. Today based on the last post, it is all about why I chose London for my gap year and which experiences I made there.
Back then when I was still in high school, my English was unbelievably awful, and I even almost failed my English exam. Due to that, I had a huge struggle because I wanted to study International Business Management and as the name of the studies already tells, you need to understand and speak English. There was no way that I am going to study something else, so I decided to improve my English skills during my gap year. For enhancing English, there were the opportunities of the USA, the UK or Australia. Based on those three occasions my decision was quickly decided because Australia doesn’t really attract me and I love the British accent. During my teenage years I was so addicted to Gossip Girl (still love it though) so New York came into my mind as well, but again, the gorgeous British accent was more important to me, and I went to London.
As I also already mentioned in my previous post, there are different ways to spent your gap year. I had a friend who did an au pair in London, but as for me, I wanted to revisit a school.
I still remember that I was pretty excited about my gap year abroad and also made a lot of expectations. Little did I know that it was going to completely different in the beginning.
High School in Germany starts from 7:40 o’clock in the morning and most of the time ends at around 13 o’clock. So I made up in my mind that my life in London will be the school in the morning and sightseeing and shopping in the afternoon. Well, the difference was that my language school in London started at 9 o’clock and finished at 17 or 19 o’clock. It was a little bit exhausting in the beginning because I also got a lot of essays and presentations as homework, but I got used to it, and at some point, it wasn’t that hard anymore because my English was really improving as well.
In addition, my teachers were fantastic, friendly and helpful. Also, I had the best class ever since middle school, and everything was just perfect. Since the school were for foreigners, they also have an activity office with a lot of free time offers. My favourite suggestions were the ones for the musicals. You may already know it through my Instagram account that I have a big passion for music. Thanks to the offers, the musical tickets were much cheaper, and so I visited “The Lion King” for the first time in London and also “Wicked” again.
Whenever I had a problem or something else, the whole staff were there for me, and everyone tried to help me if something did not go right. Also, what I appreciated the most was that every time I made a mistake in English, someone was correcting me. I know that a lot of people don’t like it when they get corrected but as for me, I really do appreciate that because it is easier to learn from your mistakes.
As for living, in the beginning, I lived with a host family, and I still know how homesick I was for the few first weeks because the host family was not so good. I know that every host family is different, but I also heard a lot of negative stories about the other families from my friends too, and they even changed their host families a few times. On the other hand, I was fortunate because I had a fantastic roommate. We visited all the sightseeings together and had a lot of fun. After a month I decided to move to the school residence, and this was the best decision I could have ever made. The school-home which is also named the Ability Towers was better located than my old host family. I just needed 30 minutes to get to school from the Ability Towers (London traffic is always so busy!) while it took me 1 1/2 hours before from the host family.
From the moment, which I changed to the flat, my life entirely changed too. Since the residence is located in the first zone, it was so much easier to get to the clubs, all the shopping places or the restaurants. In addition, all my neighbours were my friends, classmates, or schoolmates and even the activity guys lived in there. Each apartment was for five pupils. So you had to share your room either with one or two other roommates. I shared my room with two other girls from Argentina and the Netherlands. Since that moment on, my life was like school, studying, shopping, partying, delivery service, going out for dinner, cooking with my flatmates or playing monopoly until 3 am with my friends.
Another good point for living in residence was that you have to learn how to handle your life on your own. Cooking, doing the laundry, going to the supermarket and all that stuff. That was the first time that I have to learn how to live on my own, and along with those experiences, it was a crazy time living there with all my friends who I met in London.
Due to the fact, that EF schools are all international schools, the pupils are from all over the world. German, Japanese, Swedish, Spanish, Dutch, French, Venezuelan or even Costa Ricans. I found so many international friends during my time in London and as already stated in “why you will regret it if you don’t take a gap year” the friendships I made abroad are one of the things I valued the most of my gap year.
A few months ago I met one of my best friends from Argentina who I met during my time in London. He has always been like a big brother to me because he took care of me back then in London every time. Now, four years later it is amazing to see that nothing has changed and even though I am not a small teenage girl anymore, who needed to take care of, he is still treating me like a little sister like back then in London. It just made me realise again how much those international friendships are important to me and that the unique perspectives on the life of my friends abroad enrich mine hugely. There are also a lot of other friends I still keep contact on regularly, and I am merely feeling blessed that I can say I am having friends from all over the world!
Even though I have also moved to Munich for my studies and have lived in Paris, London was definitely the craziest time of my life so far.
Now looking back I am kind of happy that I was so bad in English and I did my gap year in London! I do really suggest everyone to do a gap year when you have a chance to do it. It will be a time in your life that you will never ever forget! Take the chance and say yes to adventures!