First Week in London

I'm officially living in London. 
It's still kind of crazy to say, considering this has just been a far-off dream for a long time. 
After weeks of planning, packing, and basically going crazy, I've made it with little-to-no problems whatsoever. 

Ok, so, a brief overview from the beginning:
I arrived on Wednesday afternoon after a 10-hour flight, at the fair Heathrow airport. I grabbed a taxi, and headed for the school. Unfortunately neither my cabby nor I knew where my dorm was on campus, so after driving in circles we decided to pull over at the main reception hall. I ran in, waiting behind a girl with several large suitcases who had obviously also just arrived. Finally, I got to the front desk and asked for directions. 
"Are you in your own car?"
"No, I have a taxi" I replied
"Well, would you be kind enough to give this young lady a ride? She's in the same building as you, and her taxi has left, and she can't haul all her suitcases across campus, as it's a 15 minute walk"
And so, I picked up a friend, we hopped in the taxi, and found our dorm. Only to find out that not only do we live in the same building, we live across the hall from one another!
We made friends, dropped our things, and took to walking around campus to get our bearings. We took a trip to the grocery store, came back, unpacked, and promptly fell asleep, because jet lag is killer. 
She's from Russia, and my other flat mates (that have arrived yet) are from Afghanistan and the US. The one thing that's been most incredible about living here is the sheer number of countries represented. Brunel is the 14th most diverse university in the world, with students from over 115 countries on campus. Over the last four days, I've made friends with fellow students from Spain, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Israel, Brazil, Dubai, China, Korea, Taiwan, South Africa, Sudan, Kenya, Germany, Ireland... the list goes on. 
Of course, the one downside to this is that everyone here has spent their whole lives traveling and are fluent in at least two languages, while I claim knowledge of a tiny bit of French and Arabic, and have only traveled in the last two years of my life.
Anyways. I'm going to change both of those things over the next year.
Other than meeting new people, I've mostly been attending orientation programs and sleeping. I'm still not over my jet lag (I'm out of practice!) and am trying to purchase all the little things I forgot for my dorm. 

Yesterday though, I made my first trip out into central London. Up until this point, I haven't left the 3-block radius around campus, which is mostly suburban. I've been pretty busy and mostly overwhelmed, and haven't felt comfortable exploring yet.
However, at breakfast I met a group of girls who were traveling into the city, and invited me along. We went to Picadilly Circus, which is a large arts and shopping center, and wandered around for a few hours.
Let me tell you, I'm a big fan of London.
I didn't know what to expect, never having been, but obviously I should have known it would be beautiful and busy. The buildings were huge and the architecture was lovely. It all feels like being in a movie. And it's still crazy that I get to live here for a year.
The thing I'm most excited about though, is travel. The one thing everyone mentions is all the destinations they're planning on visiting this year. Because flights from London to anywhere in Europe are incredibly cheap and short, making weekend trips ideal.
So while I'm short on money (and soon to be short on time, with classes starting), I have high hopes of getting out on lots of European adventures this year. 

I've got more orientation this week, and then classes start on the 22nd. Hopefully I'll do some more exploring between now and then, but we'll see how busy things get!

Any recommendations for places I should visit in London? 

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  1. That sounds so exciting! Especially meeting people from all around the world. Best of luck in your adjustment.

  2. Love the photos! Enjoy exploring and good luck with classes!

  3. I love your photos - you capture London street life really well! I just randomly happened across your blog at the perfect time, as I've just returned from my year in London getting my master's and am missing it hardcore. It was the best year of my life and you'll have an amazing time! My blog has lots of info on traveling/exploring from London while still being a full time student, so have a look if you're interested. Good luck & have fun!!

  4. This is fantastic! That you so much for introducing me to your blog - it looks lovely! I'll definitely have a look around for a bit of travel inspiration :) And thanks for the sweet compliment - it's hard to take a bad photo in London!

  5. Thank you! I'm getting excited to start classes and spend more time exploring the city.

  6. ...FANTASTIC--I arrived in Zaragoza (my city in Spain) this Monday, and it's always nice to read about the period of adjustment for my fellow expat n00bs!!...

    London is one of my FAVORITE cities--you'll definitely NOT be disappointed, :-D!!...

  7. Congrats! I hope you're settling in well! And thanks - I'm looking forward to exploring it!