When thinking about the lifestyle that entails living in the big city of London, a few ideas come to mind—it’s chaotic and you’re always on the go. As someone who is attracted to the big idealistic and fast-moving lifestyle of cities, studying abroad in London sounded great to me. I live in New Jersey only 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia and an hour and a half away from New York City. I am used to the eccentric energy that riddles through the city atmosphere. The cab drivers slamming on their horns, the seemingly never-ending crowd that prances together as a herd through crosswalks, the business-man weaving through traffic with a phone pressed to his ear and the sharp words of a demanding conversation spewing out, and the starting and stopping of colossal buses puffing smoke are all very familiar to me. The mosh-pit of noise this creates is part of the reason I am so attracted to cities, as the fast-paced environment is appealing to me.
Although this city lifestyle is what originally attracted me to London, as human beings, I think that fresh air and open spaces can be a necessity at times. I was not thinking too much about this importance before arriving to London, but after exploring the big city and being non-stop for a few days with my fellow study abroad friends, I found myself missing the rural atmosphere of my small town in New Jersey back home. City life can be exciting, but sometimes you just need to pack a few sandwiches with some friends and enjoy the refreshing atmosphere that only a picnic in the middle of nature can offer. After talking to a few locals, my friends and I found that our college, University of Roehampton, is located extremely close to the largest Royal Park in London, known as Richmond Park.
Richmond Park consists of 2500 acres of trees, grass and fresh air. It also is home to around 650 free-roaming deer, which we had to pleasure of being greeted with the first time coming to Richmond Park. This park is located in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Whether you’re seeking out a place to clear your head solo, or you’re on the hunt to find the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic with friends, Richmond Park is the place to be. Once classes start, I am looking forward to opting out of the library some days and working on my schoolwork under a tree in this scenic park, instead. Here, one can unplug from electronics and escape the busyness and chaotic energy of the city to embody nature and become present within oneself. The city will be waiting with its eccentric pubs and loud atmosphere when you’re ready to go back!
As someone who thrives off of routine and structure, so far studying abroad has been an exciting ride. Throughout my short time of only a week and a half in London, this experience has promoted self-growth and patience within me. Since I have not had too much of structure in the time I have been here waiting for classes to start, I have been working on how to adapt in an environment where everything is not always planned out. Spontaneous trips on a whim to the center of London and exploring the quirky, local spots that the city has to offer has been exhilarating and marvelous. That being said, I am grateful to have discovered such a beautiful area so close to me that I can incorporate into my daily routine with runs and bike rides in the mornings before I start my day.
I am looking forward to using this open space of nature and fresh air as a place to recharge and center myself before being thrown back into the fast-moving environment of the city. Thanks to Richmond park, I am able to experience the exciting city-lifestyle that London has to offer and also enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of nature during my time studying abroad.
Rebecca Nocentino is a student at Rowan University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying with ISA in London, England.