Why I Did My Gap Year In London!
When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life! -Samuel Johnson
The last time I told you all why you will regret it if you don’t take a gap year after high school graduation. Based on the previous post, it is all about why I did my gap year in London. Why I chose that city and what experiences I had in the capital of England.
As I also mentioned in my previous post, there are different ways to spend your gap year. I had a friend who did an au pair in London. Nevertheless, I decided to go to a language school.
THE REASON WHY:
When I was still in high school, my English was unbelievably awful, and I even almost failed my English exam. Due to that, I had a massive struggle because I wanted to study International Business Management. As the study’s name already says, you need to understand and speak English. There was no way I would learn something else, so I improved my English skills during my gap year. There were opportunities for enhancing English in the USA, the UK and Australia. Based on those three occasions, my decision was quickly decided because I love the British accent. I was so addicted to Gossip Girl (I still love it, though) that New York also came into my mind. However, the gorgeous British accent was more critical, and I went to London.
SCHOOL LIFE IN LONDON
I was pretty excited about my gap year abroad and had many expectations. Little did I know that it would be different in the beginning.
High School in Germany starts at 7:40 am and usually ends around 1 pm. So I made up my mind that my life in London would be like school in the morning and sightseeing and shopping in the afternoon. The difference was that my language school in London started at 9 am and finished at 5 or 7 pm. It was exhausting in the beginning because I also got a lot of essays and presentations as homework. Luckily, I got used to it, and at some point, it wasn’t that hard anymore because my English was improving.
Besides, my teachers were fantastic, friendly and helpful. Also, I had the best class ever since middle school, and everything was perfect. Since the school were for foreigners, they also have an activity office with many free time offers. My favourite suggestions were the musical ones. You may already know that I have a big passion for music. The musical tickets were much cheaper thanks to the offers, so I visited “The Lion King” for the first time in London and “Wicked” again.
Whenever I had a problem, the whole staff were there for me, and everyone tried to help me if something did not go right. Also, I appreciated it whenever I made a mistake in English whenever someone corrected me. I know that many people don’t like it when they get corrected. Still, I appreciate that because learning from your mistakes is more accessible.
LIVING IN LONDON
As for housing, I lived with a host family in the beginning. I still remember how homesick I was for the first few weeks because the host family was not so good. I know that every host family is different. Still, I heard many negative stories about the other families from my friends too. They even changed their host families a few times.
On the other hand, I was fortunate because I had a fantastic roommate. We visited all the sights together and had lots of fun. After a month, I decided to move to the school residence. It was the best decision I could have ever made. The school home, also named the Ability Towers, was better located than my old host family. I just needed 30 minutes to get to school from the Ability Towers (London traffic is always so heavy!). At the same time, it took me 1 1/2 hours before.
From the moment I changed to the flat, my life changed too. Since the residence is in the first zone, getting to the clubs, shopping places, or restaurants was easier. All my neighbours were my friends or schoolmates, and even the activity guys lived there. Each apartment was for five pupils. So you had to share your room with one or two other roommates. I shared my room with a girl from Argentina and the Netherlands. From then on, my life was like school, studying, shopping, partying, delivery service, going out for dinner, cooking with my flatmates or playing Monopoly until 3 am with my friends.
Another good point about living in residence was that you must learn how to handle your life independently. Cooking, doing the laundry, going to the supermarket, etc. That was the first time I had to learn how to live independently. It was a crazy time living there with all my friends I met in London, along with those experiences.
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES & FRIENDS
Since EF schools are all international schools, the pupils are from all over the world. German, Japanese, Swedish, Spanish, Dutch, French, Venezuelan or Costa Ricans. I found so many international friends during my time in London, and as already stated in “Why you will regret it if you don’t take a gap year“, the friendships I made abroad are one of the things I valued the most during my gap year in London.
A few months ago, I met one of my best friends from Argentina, who I met during my time in London. He has always been like a big brother because he took care of me in London every time. Four years later, it is fantastic to see that nothing has changed. There are also many other friends I still keep in contact with regularly. Hence, I feel blessed to have friends from all over the world! It made me realise how much those international friendships are essential to me and that the unique perspectives on the life of my friends abroad enrich mine hugely.
Even though I have also moved to Munich for my studies and have lived in Paris, London was definitely the craziest time of my life. Looking back, I am happy that I was so bad at English, and I did my gap year in London! I suggest everyone do a gap year when they can do it. Take the opportunity and say yes to adventures! It will be a time in your life that you will never ever forget!