Introduction: Pitt in London

Hi my name is Sarah and I’m a rising junior here at Pitt with a double major in accounting and finance. I’m in London, England for six weeks as a part of Pitt’s GBI program. I’m taking one class and working a part-time internship during my time here. As a person who gets homesick very easily, I never thought I would study abroad while in college. However, once I discovered Pitt’s summer programs I was hooked. For me, six weeks is the perfect amount of time to travel the world while not being away from friends and family for long.

Before arriving in London, I believed studying abroad would improve my self-confidence. As a college student I obviously live on my own, but my sister lives close by and is always there if I need her. While only being in London for two weeks, I can say I am the most independent I have ever been navigating a new city and country. By becoming a part of a new environment, I have learned to adapt and accept change easier. I can also better understand how my culture is perceived in England. For example, when I mention that I go to school in Pittsburgh, people immediately bring up the Steelers. Considering English football is extremely popular, I did not think Londoners would know much about American football teams. 

I highly value my academics and I believe studying abroad has and will continue to enrich my education. This program may help me discover a new career I want to pursue or create new goals. Moving to another country, away from societal and familial norms, gives me the chance to discover more about myself. For example, I am interning at a company called 18-07 careers, a professional development coaching company. As an accounting and finance major, this placement did not sound as though it would pertain to my interests. However, I am happy to say my experience at the company so far has been nothing but pleasant. I am learning new skills and meeting new people.

Before I end this post, I would like to share some things I have learned that are common in London:

1) Always stand on the right of the escalator when in the tube station because the left is for walking. 

2) Don’t be loud in the tube station. People rarely talk while on the train. 

3) Tipping is not a part of their culture because the employees get paid the national wage. The restaurant will charge a service fee on your final bill instead.

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