Iman Usmani is a student at North Carolina State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying with ISA in London, England.
I interviewed a friend, Charlotte Whittaker, 19, in the flat across the hall to get her take on moving to a big city after living in a rural area for most of her life. She gives some advice on what it takes to move to a big city and what London has to offer, especially to a history and politics major.
IU: Where are you from?
CW: Runcorn, which is a town right outside of Liverpool. It’s about two hours on the train to get to the London. It can take 4-5 hours if you’re driving, depending on traffic.
IU: Why did you pick this university? Was location a factor?
CW: I have always been into the city life so I thought, you know, London would be pretty cool. I am studying politics so I thought that this is basically the political capital of the UK. The entrance grades aren’t too high so I was like, yeah, I can get there. I have always lived in a rural area. Where I am from, it’s very quiet. There are lots of fields, which is nice, because I love the country. I wanted a bit more excitement and London is a very exciting place. If I was going to go anywhere, it was going to be a busy city. I also applied to Nottingham, Sheffield, but that can’t really compare with London.
IU: Why did you pick your majors?
CW: I just really like them. They are my favorite subjects, so I thought I can do it.
IU: How do you feel about your university experience so far?
CW: Everyone I have met has been amazing. The first few weeks I was really homesick because, as I said, Liverpool is quite far from London, but I just got used to it. I am able to enjoy it more now that I am used to it. Being independent has just become second-nature to me, like doing my own cooking, doing my own washing. I am also keeping on top of the workload, and I love all my flat mates. Just having a lot of fun.
IU: How did your hometown help you prepare for living in a big city?
CW: Where I live is conveniently placed between Liverpool and Manchester, so if I ever went anywhere, I would be in a big city. I just sort of know how to cope with living in a big city; I didn’t find it overwhelming.
IU: What’s your favorite part about living in London? What is the worst part?
CW: The worst part is probably the price of the night-out. I went to York last weekend, and it cost me a tenner (ten pounds) in total, that was entry, bus and drinks. It’s a tenner just for entry for us [in London]. The best thing is that there is so much to do. I know everyone harps on how it is so expensive, like I just did, but the transport isn’t so bad.
IU: Would you recommend people come to live in this city? Study in this city? Why?
CW: You can’t be easily daunted. I think a lot of people dismiss London because they think, “Oh no, it’s too expensive” or “Oh no, it’s too chaotic.” If you have this mindset, you aren’t going to like it. I sort of had the mindset that this is going to be exciting and that if you are adventurous, you probably will adapt to it and really enjoy it. You just have to take those risks. I think a lot of people see London as purely a sightseeing place, and [as a student] you might get disappointed since you won’t have as much time to see the sights. It is good to study here because there are so many resources. We went to the British Museum and the Imperial War Museum with students in my course. My subject has so much at its disposal. When you’re doing humanities, there is just so much history behind London, that it’s just ideal.
IU: Last question: what is your favorite American lingo?
CW: I heard my flat mate say “Gucci” which means its good. It’s one where I have just been like, “What is that?”
The world awaits…discover it.