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Student Reflections

Exploring Outside Your Study Abroad City

Rachel Mann
March 16, 2023

As I’ve mentioned in past articles, I’m a hardcore city gal. I love the endless possibilities of shops, restaurants, and walking routes in major cities, and if somewhere requires you to own a car to get around, you won’t find me living there full-time.

Naturally, London checks off everything I could ever want in a city, and I’ll always want to fit in the groove of its fast cadence. But, after spending a couple of months here, I’ve reminded myself that not only am I studying in this one city, but in an entire country made up of many (smaller) cities and towns. So, in order to feel the most connected to England and to get a holistic sense of it, I must explore beyond where the Tube takes me. 

Therefore,  two of my friends and I decided to plan a day trip a couple of weeks ago to Brighton, a seaside city that faces the English Channel and is a favorite summer destination for Brits as well as tourists. Both Northeastern students who’ve studied in London before and locals we’ve met here recommended that we take the time to walk around this charming city and explore the slower pace of life than London. The easygoing train ride there, beach walks, and quiet streets contrasted the never-ending commotion in the capital and allowed us to take a quick breather from it all.    

For those interested in visiting Brighton, the welcoming city is filled with charismatic cafés and pubs. Walk the colorful streets for just a few minutes, and you’ll stumble upon a spot that’s bound to satisfy a craving for a good latte or another favorite drink. The seaside walk is refreshing –– no matter what time of year it is, for we visited on a frigid day in March –– and there are plenty of places to sightsee, such as the Royal Pavilion and the Brighton i360. You’ll get a good sense of the city even if you only get to stay for a day (which is impossible to achieve in London!).  

I believe if you’re studying abroad, you should not only to get to know the particular city you’re living in, but also the country as a whole. It’s easier said than done, but exploring the towns near and/or far will enrich your overall abroad experience and make you feel more in-touch with that country. I know that by the time my semester is over, there’ll still be a myriad of places within London and England on my to-visit list, but even knowing of these places and being intentional about visiting them is crucial. Step outside the comfort zone you’ve created for yourself and take advantage of all doable travel opportunities.