College Visit: U.K Edition

It’s Chewsday, Innit?


During the summer between my freshman and sophomore year, my family and I took a trip to Europe. When we first stepped foot in London, I was immediately mesmerized. I was only there for 3 days, but I knew then that I wanted to look into studying in the U.K after high school. After totaling up and comparing prices between U.S and U.K colleges with my parents, the U.K colleges were significantly cheaper. My parents slowly became more open to the idea of my attending school there, so this past weekend I took a 10 hour journey overseas with my mom and my sister to go on some college tours. Once we got off the plane, I was immediately warmly welcomed with many British accents and a large cloud of cigarette smoke.

Day 1 (Thursday 3/17)

About the Greenwich Campus | About the university | University of Greenwich

Once we got to Paddington Station, we walked to our hotel and set our bags down to truly start our day. We got in maybe around 9 or 10 BST (around 5 AM EST) after traveling all day Wednesday and had a full day ahead of us; we ended up aimlessly walking around for a little bit, but we ended up at our first school: University of Greenwich. The Greenwich tour was self guided, and since we had no sense of direction, the tour didn’t go so well. The school’s campus is intertwined with the Old Royal Naval College which serves as a museum; I can’t speak for my family, but I think we were all very confused by what we were supposed to be looking at. My mom was able to do some more research about the school and learned that they don’t offer campus accommodations, so it wasn’t going to work out for me. Overall, the school was gorgeous, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to compare to the other schools. I didn’t feel comfortable completely ruling it out because we didn’t have a true and fair tour guide. We took a train back to Paddington and began to look for food and made our way home. Despite being lost and frustratingly confused for the majority of the day, I had so much fun.

*For lunch we went to the Piccadilly Hard Rock Café and saw the phone booth used in One Direction’s Take Me Home album cover there. Just wanted to add that in.



Day 2 (Friday 3/18)

We woke up and hopped on an Uber around 10:20 to get to Hendon in West London for another tour. This time, we went to Middlesex University London. We met our international tour guide in the beautiful main college building and made our way through the campus. It was essentially one big circle with huge green spaces and tall buildings with large windows; we went outside of the main college building and toured the 4 story library, the student gym, cafes, and the building I’d actually be learning in. My intended major at Middlesex is “Creative Writing and Journalism” and, luckily, my tour guide studies it and is an American herself, so I got the full run down of class structure as well as an American’s perspective. Everything she told me only furthered my interest in studying abroad, especially at this specific school; Middlesex appears as a typical American college campus, but each major is much more specific. During my 3 years at university (rather than 4 in the U.S), I would only take 4 classes each year that perfectly align with my chosen major. She told me about the large number of student led events on/around campus, what her classes are like, the freedoms she has, how easy transportation is, night life, shows and concerts, and the student accommodations on campus. The accommodations mirror the typical college dorm, even including apartment style dorms. Between the good recommendations and the gorgeous atmosphere of the campus, I was sold.


After the tour we went to an Irish pub and let me tell you this: I have never had a better meal than that. I got mac n cheese and a side of fried mushrooms and I was extremely impressed. Sure, food in the city is expensive, but this was genuinely one of the best meals I’ve ever had. The tour guide told us that the school holds a lot of events at that particular pub throughout the year, so I can definitely see myself coming back many times in the near future (as long as my wallet allows it, of course). I could go on and on about this school and how amazing it was. So, spoiler alert, this is most likely where I’m going to end up next fall!


Day 3 (Saturday 3/19)

On Saturday we were supposed to attend the BIMM Institute open day for international students, but since the open day only allowed one guest per prospective student and my younger sister came along, we could no longer attend. That and I had already pretty much made up my mind about Middlesex. BIMM is the picture perfect place for my major, but they do not have on campus accommodations…or a campus. My mom and sister were discussing places both within and outside of the country that we could go, but they decided the £100 train ticket was a little much just for one afternoon. Maybe next time?

We went over to central London and went on the London Eye. The views were pretty amazing and although it is the most tourist-y thing we could’ve done, it was worth the £35 ticket. We walked by Big Ben and Parliament, as one does, and made our way down to Buckingham Palace just for fun. We ended up doing more exploring and ended up at a cute and quaint French café on the opposite side of the city. Again, the food was absolutely amazing. After we left, I came across some Harry fans on one of the trains, so that’s always a good sign. We went to a number of stores after that: T.K Maxx, a four story Urban Outfitters, Pull & Bear, Zara, the list goes on…I definitely spent way more than I should’ve, but it was so worth it. After walking around 6 miles, we went back to the hotel to film ourselves doing Covid tests so we could reenter the U.S. After a couple of hours of trying to deal with the extremely shotty hotel wifi, we were ready to go out once again. We got my sister McDonald’s (lol) and went to a grocery store in the train station. My haul included (but was not limited to) “Strawberry Sensation” PopTarts, “Cool Original” Doritos, and funny tasting Starbursts. If you ever come across the “blackcurrant” flavor in your life, run. Sorry to any Brits who may be reading, but blackcurrant is one aspect of British culture I cannot get behind.

We went to bed and my sister and I discovered the masterpiece that is “Ibiza Weekender” on our hotel cable TV. If you like any form of “Love Island” you’ll LOVE this one. I honestly couldn’t tell you what it’s about or what the goal is, but it is easily one of the most entertaining shows I’ve seen in my life. If you want to watch it, you can download the ITV Hub app (I think it’s free?). This is not an ad.

Day 4 (Sunday/Monday 3/20-21)

Frowning Face Emoji Clipart

Sunday was my last day in London. I was so incredibly upset to leave, but I sleep peacefully at night knowing I’ll be back in August. We traveled quite literally all day: we woke up before sunrise, hopped on a train, went on a 8 hour plane ride to JFK, had a 4 hour layover, and then went on another 3 (ish) hour plane ride back to Charleston. Thankfully I brought 3 books with me and downloaded both Harry Styles and Taylor Swift’s entire discographies…the internet was not on my side. (Side note: if you’re looking for a good book, Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a must-read). The time zone switch between all of this was quite jarring; we left the hotel at 5:30 AM (BST) and didn’t get home until after midnight EST. For the entirety of Monday I felt like I was dying of exhaustion, but it was all worth it!

Overall, my trip to London was everything I could’ve asked for and more. Although it’s thousands of miles away, it really felt like a place I could call home. And although that sounds cheesy, it’s true! I don’t know how I’ll feel once I’m actually studying there, but I hope this influences some of you to look into studying internationally for college!