Five Questions to Ask Before Studying Abroad in London

Crystal Chilcott is a student at the University of Colorado- Colorado Springs and an ISA Featured Blogger. Crystal will be studying abroad with ISA in London, England.

What Not to Wear in London, London, UK, Chilcott, Photo 1
As much as I love my nail polish and hoodie, I don’t want to stand out as a tourist or faultily declare a political affiliation!

The closer I get to my September 12 departure date, the more questions I have about my study abroad experience in London! Luckily there is a bevy of information out there thanks to ISA, friends who have traveled to London, and the all-powerful tool of Google!

1. What should I pack and what should I buy upon arrival?

It isn’t until I start packing that I realize how much “stuff” I use on daily basis. So what should make the trip across the pond in my suitcase and what should I buy upon arrival? Queen Mary provides the option to pre-purchase a linen and towel package to pick up upon arrival. Instead of hauling sheets, a pillow, and towels, I pre-ordered the package. There are some items that will not be available or would be impossible to ship, like my prescription contacts or my preferred leave-in hair product that will be packed in my luggage.

2. What is the temperature and climate of my study abroad location?

The last time I went to London, I was remarkably unprepared for the cold temperature and rain. Since I had only brought sun dresses and a light jacket, I had to purchase a lot of clothing which was an unplanned expense! This time, I am packing for lots and lots of rain and packing a variety of clothing for all weather. Of course I also need an umbrella!

3. What sort of phone apps will assist me during my time abroad?

I have a hard time converting pounds to dollars, kilograms to pounds, and Fahrenheit to Celsius. To alleviate the need for math, I am searching for easy conversion apps to carry on my phone. I also downloaded apps like Viber, Skype, and Snapchat so I can keep in touch with friends and family at home without racking up a pricey international phone bill.

4. What should I wear (and not wear) to make myself fit in?

In celebration of my study abroad term, I got the Union Jack painted on my nails. A friend from England warned me not to wear them abroad as some people might make presumptions about my political affiliation. I also have a London themed suitcase and several London sweatshirts, none of which will be making the trip abroad.

5. What sights and activities do I really want to experience?

ISA gives students the opportunity to go on many excursions, but there is always more to explore! I started a Pinterest board a year ago to start keeping track of places I want to visit during my time abroad. A friend gave me a book called Secret London, which explores some of London’s unusual sites, like a Victorian schoolhouse right near my campus! There is so much to explore in London and without research, I would probably miss out on some pretty interesting places!