Why London?

Tori Lyons
January 13, 2018

I’ve never been the kind of person who has a hard time making decisions.  I was able to make my college decision relatively scot-free.  I always have an easy time picking my classes each semester.  I love making plans for different excursions with my friends, and I’ve even known for a while now that I’d like to work in the theatre industry.  My decision to study abroad was nothing different.  I don’t even specifically remember making the decision that I wanted to study abroad; it’s one of those things that I’ve always known I just had to do.  Making the decision of where I wanted to study abroad, however, has been a whole different story.

For a while, it was Paris.  I imagined myself walking along the Seine, completely immersed in the beautiful French language.  Then, it was Dublin.  I imagined myself studying Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde, two of my favorite playwrights, in their own city.  Then, it was Copenhagen.  Then Prague. Then Stockholm, Edinburgh, and even Sydney.  For one of the first times in my life, I could not make up my mind.

I’ve only been abroad once—a school exchange trip to Aix-en-Provence in France when I was in 10th grade—and it completely changed my life.  It made me accept just how much is out there that I don’t know.  I felt so small in the best possible way.  It made me so excited about how much there is out there to learn about and explore.  It was amazing to have all of these realizations, but it also made my study abroad location decision incredibly difficult.  How do I go about choosing a city to live in when there are so many places out there to experience?

For a while I wasn’t really considering London.  People kept telling me I should go somewhere more different from cities in the United States.  And for a while, I listened to them.  Yet London managed to remain in the back of my mind.  Sometimes I found myself googling things like “what’s playing in the West End?” and “best thrift shops in London” and “Nando’s menu.”

It was when I found the IES Abroad: Study London program that my confident decision-making skills were back.  A theatre course with a trip to see a show every Thursday and a tour of the National Theatre?  Discussing Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway in her very own neighborhood?  Reading Ian McEwan’s Saturday and then seeing its locations in person?  Weekly walks to see the architectural concepts we study in class?  And then, to top it all off, I’d be living with other students who are just as excited about getting to know this incredible city as I am?  Right now, I can’t believe there was ever a time that I wasn’t considering living in London.  I really feel like it is the perfect place for a theatre-obsessed, literature-loving, city-girl like me.

For the past few weeks, I have been bursting with excitement about the semester ahead of me.  I literally can’t stop talking about it—with my family, with my friends, with employees at the Apple store.  I can’t wait to live in the fascinating neighborhood of Camden.  I can’t wait to start my classes, which I feel were tailor-made for me.  I can’t wait for the Cambridge field trip in late January that I signed up to take.  I can’t wait to travel and visit some of the places where I once thought I might study abroad.  I can’t wait to write blog posts chronicling my adventures.  I even can’t wait to get my Oyster card.

I find that I’m someone who gets very restless.  I love my school, and I love my friends, and I have loved that Johns Hopkins has grown to feel like home, but I am definitely ready for a change.  I’m ready to take a risk and throw myself into something new.  Risk-taking is, by definition, always a little scary, and I’m not going to pretend for a second that I’m not nervous.  But right now, I can honestly say that I have never been happier about a decision that I have made.

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Tori Lyons

<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:2.35pt; margin-right:25.0pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.0pt"><span style="line-height:115%">Hi, I'm Tori! I'm a junior English major at Johns Hopkins University. I'm from Boston, but I spent most of my childhood in New York City. Now I'm at school in Baltimore, and I'm getting ready to spend my spring semester in London (clearly, I'm a city girl.) As an English major, you won't be surprised to learn that I love to write and read. When I'm not typing up a paper or engrossed in a novel, you can find me in our theater on campus where I'm a stage manager, checking out restaurants in Baltimore (my current favorite spot is a tiny doughnut shop called Diablo Doughnuts), and taking pictures of anything and everything.</span></p>

2018 Spring
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Johns Hopkins University
Newton, MA
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