Unfortunately, this topic is kind of heavy. But i'd be remiss if I didn't share my thoughts and feelings on this unique experience that my friends and I are having whilst living abroad. Since I've been living in London, there has been a lot going on over in the USA, to say the least. Mainly the political unrest regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a law protecting women's rights to abortion federally, as well as debate on gun laws, as there have been multiple mass shootings, especially on the 4th of July. Being in America, it gets exhausting to constantly hear about tragedies on the news. I honestly think that in a way, my generation has become desensitized to violence and political uproar. People my age (21) have lived through terrorist attacks, economic crashes, hundreds and hundreds of school and other mass shootings, the legalization of gay marriage, attacks on immigrants... We've seen countless innocent people have their lives taken, we've witnessed political warfare in our 'democracy', we've had the most controversial politicians of all time—the list goes on. It all comes to a head on social media these days, as so many people share information and express their anger and disgust. We're fed countless opinions and we witness fighting, protest, and unrest. It's all a little much. Eventually, you learn how to process that information without it affecting you too much. Life goes on.
I'd be lying to you if I said that I didn't gain some sense of relief living abroad. London in general is a very safe city, and most crime you see here is petty. People don't have the right to bear arms here, which keeps gun violence at a minimum. I feel okay being in big crowds here, or walking with my friends at night. I feel okay taking the tube alone. I don't worry about major events happening, because I don't suspect anything will happen to the people attending. I don't feel like the people surrounding me are constantly grieving loved ones or arguing about their rights. Many Londoners that I've talked to have expressed how strange they find the events in America. Like us, they see a lot of it on social media, and they don't understand why there's so many issues. London (and England) is a more secular place, so religion is not engrained in their laws. They have the rights to abortion, universal healthcare, and other freedoms that are becoming rare in the United States. When they explain this to me—it makes a lot of sense.
I've connected with some really lovely people here, and we all seem to be having a hard time digesting what's been going on. For one of my friends, there was a shooting in her hometown. Her family lives there and could've easily been at the 4th of July Parade where it happened. For us women, we were absolutely shocked by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and we shared our anger with each other. Londoners can't relate. They've had that right protected for decades.
Like I said before, there's a bit of relief being far away from it all. I don't have to live with the usual fear and anxiety that I feel when living in America. There are a lot of privileges that come from being an American, don't get me wrong—but right now, it all feels a bit strange. Watching my country go through such unrest and upheaval whilst trying to have a peaceful summer abroad is weird. It's uncomfortable. I feel the relief, but I also feel helpless. All I can do is wish and advocate for change. I can talk to my friends about this unique shared experience that we're having, being Americans in a place like London. No place is perfect, and the definition of perfect can vary from person to person anyhow. It is important, however, to reflect whilst living abroad and experiencing different cultures, and be curious about why things are the way they are in different places. A lot of it has to do with history, which is interesting to learn. It's fascinating to know how current events are affected by a civilization's past. I encourage anyone, whether abroad or not, to be curious about the way our various societies function. To question why things happen in some places and not in others. If there is any universal truths, or not. Expanding horizons should mean to expand our minds to new information, beliefs, opinions, lifestyles, etc. I think we can all benefit from that—I know I have.
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<p>Hey! My name is Bri Ferracciolo, and I'm a junior at Indiana University Bloomington studying Media (specifically Digital Production). I'm a lifestyle creator on youtube, instagram, and tiktok sharing my college experience and daily life. I love all things wellness & mental health, skincare, productivity, and of course travel. Outside of college & content, i'm obsessed with dogs and reality tv, plus I'm a foodie!</p>