8 Things You Learn From Staying in London

1. There is no such thing as personal space.

A thing I noticed while in London is that people don’t really have their own space bubble. Most places you go such as the tube you will be crammed close to people not caring about your personal space.

2. Beauty is everywhere.

Literally everywhere you look there is beauty. Whether it be a park or a part of history, every single thing in London is beautiful. 

4. Restaurants work a bit different.

Almost every restaurant we went to while in London had a bar inside it. Now we didn’t know at first but quickly found out that you order not only drinks from the bars but also your meals. You go up to the bar and order and pay for your food there and then they bring it out to your table. I think this is a cool way but personally I like being lazy and having the waiter/waitress come to me. 

5. People get drinks after work.

One thing I loved about the London social scene was that people go out with friends to grab a drink after work. People will be outside all pubs enjoying a beer almost everyday around the 5pm. I think we should bring this norm to America personally. 

6. It’s more expensive.

London is a very expensive town and we knew this before going but it really doesn’t hit until your paying $14 American dollars for a meal that seems cheap in pounds. The conversion rates reall get ya. But honestly every extra dollar is worth it because I mean you’re in London! 

7. Water.

Water is very different in the UK. A popular thing is sparkling water. At restaurants you have to ask specifically for tap or still water if you want it, and most of the time they will look at you like you’re crazy. Also if you want ice be sure to ask for it because most places don’t give you ice in your water!

8.  Museums and Churches.

In London it’s kind of funny because you pay to see the churches but most museums are free to enter. That’s almost completely opposite from America. However, paying entry for those churches are 100% worth it. 

Although many of these things are different, they are all the small parts that add to your trip. London was amazing and I can’t wait to go back! 

Hello from Finland!

Day 6: Well we have officially moved into the University of Jyvaskyla! We arrived here by train on Sunday, but because of the spotty wifi, I haven’t been able to post until now. On Sunday, we took a three and half hour train ride to Jyvaskyla where my tutor met me to take me to the place where I am staying while I am here. It was quite the long walk to the train station and then to the dorms, especially with my luggage and cobblestone streets. When first arriving at my room, I was disheartened by the condition of the room because it was not quite the quality of room I was expecting. After my roommate and I unpacked, we settled in a bit, but it still didn’t feel like a home. The first night was very rough. On Monday, I woke up ready to start my first day of classes in Finland! I met my tutor outside and he walked my group to the International Office where we got campus maps and other essential information for the next month. The walk from the dorms to campus was EXTREMELY long! It took us about 45 minutes, which I was not expecting. It was also a very hot walk as we walked with the sun glaring down on us the entire time. After we got to class, I began to feel much better. The class for the first week is Education in Finland. We got a lot of information about the structure of the Finnish education system and some of the options that they offer. The biggest difference between Finnish and American education is that Finnish education is completely free for the equivalent of up to our 10th grade year in school.

We then had a BBQ cookout with sausages, pasta salad, and marshmallows. It all tasted really good. I also learned how to play a new game in English called Molkky. It was similar to bowling except with wooden pins instead of bowling pins. You also use a thick wooden rod instead of a bowling ball. It was a really fun and interesting game that I ended up purchasing online to play at home with my family. My roommate and I then went shopping to get some food at a local market. We both decided to each buy a sweet treat each week so we can share and try new things more often. When we got back to our apartment, we found one of our other group mates from ESU and the three of us played cards for a couple of hours. We all have found that it is difficult to find things to do in the evening, especially without a central lobby area to meet new people. Hopefully the weekends will have several activities or things to do around town to make that time go faster. I never realized before how grateful I am to have homework to fill the time in the evening.

The rest of this week will be filled with class, except for Thursday. I have heard that there is a holiday on Thursday, but no one seems to know what the holiday is. Posts from here on out may not be everyday because of the lack of wifi in the evenings, but I will do my best to keep all those reading these posts with the goings-on here in beautiful Finland.

Robin Gassen