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Studying Abroad: Getting Adjusted

Sunset on Brighton Beach
Sunset on Brighton Beach

It's official! I've been living in Brighton, England for a week now. I'm still getting adjusted to the culture and trying to get used to my new surroundings. Brighton is a beautiful beach town on the south coast of England. Just like beaches in the U.S., they have a lively boardwalk that spans a few miles down the beach. But, unlike what you might find in the States, the beach is covered in pebbles rather than sand, which can make for a relaxing walk, one where you don't get sand everywhere. The pier has carnival rides and other activities for people of all ages as well as numerous pubs to visit.

The beach is only a few miles from the campus that I'll be living on for the next three months. To get to the beach, you can either take the train or bus from one of the University of Brighton campuses until you reach the center of town, then it's only a short walk.

Although Brighton is a popular beach town, I expect it to get more empty as the Fall and Winter months bring cold weather. For now, it still gets pretty warm during the day, making the beach a perfect place to bring a blanket and sit out with friends.

Sunset on Brighton University's Falmer Campus
Sunset on Brighton University's Falmer Campus

One of the biggest differences between colleges in the U.S. and universities in the U.K. is the drinking culture. In the States, the drinking age is 21, meaning many college students are not able to (legally) participate in the clubbing scene or even have alcohol in their dorms on campus. At many British universities, I've noticed that drinking is encouraged by the student union and many other clubs. Of course, there is always the option to stay in or not drink, and there are some students who prefer this. Pubs are also a big part of the culture, and people not only go there to get a pint of beer but also to watch a soccer match or get a classic English dinner with friends.

The accommodations at University of Brighton are not much different than what you would find at a college or university in the U.S. The biggest difference is that most, if not all, students have their own personal bedroom and bathroom. The bathrooms in our hall, consist of a small shower space separated from the toilet and sink by a shower curtain. My floor is set up as one long hallway with multiple doors leading to individual rooms with the kitchen being its own room at the end of the hall. One downside to this layout is that its much harder to interact with your suitemates. Though, I love having my own room and not having yo share a bathroom with anyone.

In terms of transportation, getting around Europe and Great Britain so far has been easy and pretty cheap, especially compared to back home in the U.S. I was able to get a yearly train pass which was discounted for students, as well as a student bus pass.

On Thursday, after our few days on campus, all the students in our study abroad program took a day trip to London. After learning how to take the tube, we walked past Buckingham Palace explored some other notable landmarks. We walked around Trafalgar Square, a busy, tourist area, and took pictures with the horse guards on Whitehall Road, an area with lots of government buildings. After walking around the city for the day and exploring some stores on Piccadilly Street, we caught the train back to campus. Exploring London was the most fun I've had so far, and it reminded me of being in New York. I already planned a trip back to the city for the weekend with one of my suitemates.


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