I exclaimed to another passenger on the flight, as we both strained our necks eagerly to get our first glimpse of English land.
“And they say New York City is the city that never sleeps,” replied the other international student next to me, and then we fell into silence, as I imagined countless possibilities for the next three years. How apt it was that as we landed in Heathrow to start a new chapter of our lives, dawn was awakening London.
“I could never do that, going so far away from home to study,” said a British girl I met at the bar on move-in day.
Then, in the crowd of people socialising, presenting their best selves, I shrugged and laughed it off then, thinking: This is my dream. You would go anywhere for your dream.
That was soon to change, when just two days later I bade farewell to my mother at Paddington Station.
Having gone on countless school trips and travelling with my friends in Europe, I was full of confidence when I left home, that I wouldn’t miss home. Sure, I might miss my noodles and rice, or the Asian condiments my grandmother would use for home-cooked dinners, but I could sacrifice that for living in London, for sure.
It came as a surprise when, as I took the tube back to Blackfriars from Paddington, alone, and the ruckus and constant activity of the past few days in Welcome Week faded into what was then frustrating but now poignant memories of my mother and I figuring out the Underground map, starting the washing machine without putting any clothes in, then putting clothes in but forgetting the detergent, lugging bags of bedsheets and towels from Primark, etc, I felt homesick.
It is undoubtedly difficult to be away from cherished friends and family, but the overwhelming encouragement and support through cards, social media posts, texts to check up on life in London, is exactly what makes me more thankful and appreciative for the opportunity to be here, in the heart of London, and at the forefront of social science learning and research.
At the welcome presentation we were asked to give ourselves a round of applause for, really now, making it here. Perhaps just a term, or a year later I might be jaded amidst piles of work and studying and forget this privilege I have to be at LSE, but for now (and for future reference), onward to opportunities, dreams and new experiences!