How Reading, England Became Home

Jessica Tierney is a student at the University of California, Riverside and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jessica is currently studying abroad with ISA in Reading, England.

campus lake

The first thing I’ve learned is that even though England speaks English, they really don’t. At least compared to what I’ve been brought up with.  Corridor means hall, flat means apartment, plasters means band-aid…the list goes on and on. It’s been one of the biggest shocks because I thought that wasn’t something I would have to worry about. However, I always end up saying something wrong when ordering food then I get strange looks and laughs from my American and British friends who don’t understand why I can’t get it right. Even five weeks in.

On a different note, the schooling here is a lot different from back in the states. There’s a lot more independent study here. Meaning, I go to class twice a week for two hours and that’s it. Back home I go to school Monday-Thursday from 10-2.  It’s been interesting adjusting to this type of schedule because they really trust you to get your reading done and come in ready to work, which of course I do. I’m here to study.

It’s also pretty common for people to just casually stroll by the River Thames without even stopping. The River Thames runs through the town of Reading and for the first couple (and by couple I mean ten) times I went into town I literally took a picture every time. It blows my mind that, anywhere in England, people are walking past these historic places like it’s nothing. However, after being five weeks in I’ve gotten into a routine and it has, almost, become quite casual for me to just stroll by the Thames without snapping a pic.


I suppose one of the best parts about living in Reading is that the ISA group is also close to each other. There aren’t too many of us, but this just means that we all get to live in the same building.  It’s so nice to be able to just knock on someone’s door and ask if they want to go to lunch as opposed to living in a big city where everyone lives miles from each other.

Reading, England has to be the best place to study abroad. Okay, okay…I know all of us ISA bloggers would say that about wherever we’re staying (especially Meghan in South Africa…so jealous), but there’s something really special about Reading. I was traveling in Italy last weekend and when talking about Reading I referred to it as “home”. It really has become my home away from home.  It’s beautiful and quaint, but still has the college lifestyle and is only thirty minutes from London.  Despite the many differences I’ve encountered one thing hasn’t changed and that is choosing to study in England was (and is) the best place for me.

Leave a Reply