London Calling by Pearl Matteson

Dear Readers,

I have to confess, I have never written a blog before so bear with me and feel free to reach out with questions or thoughts should you want to. Aside from this small disclaimer, I have to confess that I am very excited to begin this journey together on the topic of all things travel abroad. Hopefully in these blogs I can write about traveling to different countries, food, culture, entertainment, etc. The world really is our oyster if you will. For this week’s edition, I am going to be writing about my first initial thoughts on London, and the journey to getting to the city.

I knew that with the Acting Program here at UConn, it is written in our curriculum to study abroad first semester of our third year. I was going to be studying abroad in London with the Theatre Academy London program, which is a Third Party Program in partnership with Florida State University. This abroad experience changed my life, and I truly mean it as cliche as it sounds.

Sophomore year, we were given the initial paperwork with details on how much abroad was going to cost. WOW! Studying abroad, as amazing and fun as it can be, is indeed expensive. So, thus I began saving up every penny I could, while researching all of the amazing things about London (Shoutout to Buzzfeed, and TimeOut London). When the time came, we had another meeting about applying via UConn through the abroad website… You need a letter of recommendation and there are short answer essays that you need to fill out with the information as to where you want to go. I highly recommend that you  meet with an abroad advisor (shoutout to Laura Hills). They can help you with the application in the office in Rowe 117, and also give you scholarship ideas. After filling out the abroad information on the site, I then needed to fill out the forms that Florida State needed, as I was going to be studying abroad under their third party program in London.

I highly suggest that you also update any visas you may need, and make sure your passport is up to date. Once I was able to send in all of my forms and Florida State confirmed that I was indeed studying abroad, I began to look for flights and talk with my family about further external expenses.

During the summer, I began to pack. Here’s the thing, I am very much an early packer. I love to pack… I think there is a subtle aesthetic to packing and embarking on a journey.

So I needed to figure out what I needed in terms of everyday clothes, as well as what to bring as my major also required us to bring certain things across the pond. I packed a huge suitcase, but then began to find things I actually wouldn’t need or that I could just buy when I got to London. Thus, after many moments of adding and getting rid of clothes, I settled with extra room in my suitcase, knowing it would be helpful at the end of term instead of having to ship everything I own back home.  

I also talked with my bank to make sure that they were all set with me going abroad and figured out the process of traveling with my credit cards. Then the time came for me to get on the plane and I was off!

Side note- Keep a journal or a blog or something whilst there. I collected postcards and show tickets from every show and place I went to.

I had been to London before for a week with another program, but I was finally back and going to be living there for five months. I could truly call myself a Londoner.

I figured in these blogs it would be fun to have a quick section about little London secrets called LONDON ALERT!

So here is this week’s LONDON ALERT- Download CITYMAPPER… this app will save your life, as it tells you how to get everywhere via the tube, bus, train, or by walking. Second LONDON ALERT- There are so many things the Brits do better. Stand on the right side of the Tube escalator or all escalators really...if you want to just stand and enjoy the ride. If you are in a hurry, walk down on the left or up on the left. If you stand on the right you WILL GET RUN OVER. Just Kidding. Kind of.

Stay tuned for my next blog “Mind the Gap”... Reach out to me if you want. Email me if you have questions, requests or helpful suggestions. (