Spending this semester in London has changed me so much. I am faced every day with challenging situations that help me to grow as a citizen of the world, and the things I have seen — whether it be a beautiful monument or a beggar on the streets of Rome with a starving child — I will always carry this semester with me. However, nothing has been challenging than battling homesickness. I am a very independent human being and I came to London because I knew it was something I had to do. But, I miss my family and friends every day.
The summer before heading to London I was terrified. I worried about it constantly and lost sleep over it. If I had the choice I would not have gone, but I knew that I had to. Being so terrified actually drew me closer to my parents. I hated having to leave them, and this is me, as a 21-yearold senior in college, not an 18-year-old freshman. It was harder to leave my parents this time than it was to leave them freshman year. There is a complete difference between being 200 miles away, and over 2,000 miles and a six-hour time difference as well.
The first day in London was a challenge to say the least. I had trouble getting to Regent’s College, finally showing up lugging two huge suitcases and completely drenched from the rain. Then, I found out I didn’t have the right currency and was living with two guys who were my polar opposites. All I wanted to do was book a plane home and hide under the covers in my mom’s bed. I remember skyping them the first night and fighting the urge to cry, because I didn’t want them to worry about me.
Day two I made the decision to turn over a new leaf. I was going to make this experience mine, I was in one of the greatest cities in the world and was not going to let my homesickness get the better of me. I ended up finding a group of people who felt the same way I did and had very similar interests. We bonded almost instantly — you really have to over here. The first month here I talked to my parents every day for at least a half hour. Then, I decided I needed to continue to grow up, so I told myself I would take a break for about three days. And I lived to tell the tale. Now, I talk to them every two days or so.
That is not to say my longing for home went away. Six weeks into the semester my sister, who is also one of my best friends, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and there were many complications. It killed me to be stuck here while my family was home dealing with it. If it weren’t for my friends here in London, I would not have made it through. They understood. They let me cry, talked me through my feelings and kept me occupied when I needed. They didn’t know my family, but they knew me and were invested in what was going on with my niece. I never felt like I was alone.
Now, I have less than six weeks here in London and cannot believe time has gone by so fast. Some of my new friends I will hopefully still talk to on a weekly basis when I’m home. I have experienced so much of this beautiful city and learned so much from so many new people. But, I can already imagine what it will be like to run into my parents’ arms on Dec. 11 when I get of the airplane in St. Louis.
—Michael Raymond, senior directing major