Semester Abroad, Global Correspondents Four Months Later

January 6, 2022
By Lah'Nasia Shider, CAS '23

Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

Lah'Nasia is one of the Semester Abroad Global Correspondents that shared their experiences abroad during the Fall 2021 semester. Follow along with the group of correspondents on our blog and look out for their images on the @pennabroad Instagram feed. 

It still has not registered in my mind that I have spent four months of my life on a different continent; four months away from my family; and four months missing the experiences that my friends at Penn were having. But at the same time, I’ve also spent four months doing something I never imagined myself doing; four months meeting people from all over the world, and four months making memories that will last a lifetime. Going into this journey I honestly did not have many expectations. With the state of the pandemic, I did not allow myself to get too excited because of the fear of it being canceled, but luckily it was not. In a way, I believe this made everything I did in London so much more exciting because I never expected myself to be able to do them. The first few weeks in London were amazing. Everything was so new and thrilling–from the architecture to the museums, to the scenery–it made me excited to wake up early and take on the city (with a cup of coffee, of course). 

After those few weeks of pure bliss, it was like a switch went off and things began to change. I started to realize how much I missed the life I had back at home–my family, my bed, my mom’s cooking, and seeing my friends every day on Locust Walk. Looking back, I realize that during this time I did not leave campus as often as I did previously, and I definitely did not take advantage of the city. Most of my days were spent in the library, cafes around campus, and my dorm; I barely took the tube into the city to explore. As I reflect, I wish I realized that every day did not need to be perfect, but I should have made more of an effort to appreciate London and this experience. I wish I made more of an effort to climb out of the rut that I was in because I only had seven more weeks on this journey. Though the initial four months may seem like a long time, it really is not in the grand scheme of things, especially when time feels like it’s moving 10 times faster. I wanted to make sure I got to do everything I planned and did not leave London with any regrets. Lah'Nasia having tea in London.

Luckily, as November approached, things began to change again…only this time for the better. Things began to go back to how they were during my first few weeks in London. I left campus more, tried new restaurants, visited historic sites, attended musicals, and overall did exactly what I wish I did before…appreciated and savored every single moment. Like every experience in life, there will be bumps in the road. You just have to figure out ways around those bumps and look at the bright side of things.

My study abroad experience in London will be something that I will cherish forever. Although those four months felt more like four days, I took so much from this experience and truly believe that I grew as an individual. I now look forward to stepping out of my comfort zone more and continuing to make memories like these.

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The Semester Abroad (SA) program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to study in a new global community through extended study for a semester or year. Penn Abroad partners with top institutions around the globe and collaborates with Penn’s undergraduate schools to offer programs for students across academic disciplines.