Saturday, August 26, 2006

Quick update on London prep:

* I now have a place to live. I believe it's within walking distance of campus, and it's relatively inexpensive. (Relative to the area, of course; it's still an outrageous amount for me.)

* I finally got my orientation packet a couple of weeks ago. Attached was a schedule of events for international students, including a riverboat cruise on the Thames, a Beatles Magical Mystery tour, and a trip to Oxford. I'm really looking forward to some of the events.

* I'll be in Columbia next weekend, sorting out the switch to English, and talking with the study abroad advisor about last-minute details. Of course, I'll also be going to the Rock and seeing friends.

* Financial matters are finally settling.

* I designed letterhead to use while I'm in London, encountering Illustrator for the first time in the process. I can't wait to send letters out using it.

* 21 days to liftoff.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Things are pulling together disturbingly well right now. I wonder when the bottom will fall out ... but I intend to enjoy the time before it does. I think I found a place to live. I just have to decide if I think it's safe to say I'm going to rent a room before I see it or meet the people renting it to me. We've been e-mailing, and they seem pleasant, but you can't really tell from an e-mail. Rent's relatively cheap; as far as I can tell the house is within walking distance of campus. (I don't have an exact address, so I'm not 100% sure.)

I also finally received my orientation packet, and devoured it within 20 minutes or so. I was very excited to get it. It's so much fun to read something about London and think, I'm going to be there in 29 days! By far one of the coolest feelings in the world. Of course, there's still plenty of apprehension.A completely new place, where I don't know anyone and I'm the international student. It should be interesting ...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Let the search begin

Yesterday, I found out that I will not be staying in the residence halls at the University of Westminster as I had planned. Which means, of course, that I need to find an apartment or a place to stay. Rent is ridiculous in London; I was told to expect to pay between 75 and 85 pounds/week. I've found some at around 70 pounds, though, so I think that's what I'll count on spending. Actually, those are rooms, which is fine. Single rooms are much more economical, and I still have it to myself; I just share a bathroom and kitchen, which I'd do if I stayed in a res hall anyway. I also discovered that renting a room is actually less expensive than staying on campus, too, so I guess it's not all bad. But doing an international room search is both interesting and stressful. I found one website that's been very helpful; in fact, I may try to contact some of the people listed. I'm worried about doing that, though. What if I find some really cool students that I'd like to live with once I get there? (There's a housing meeting on the second day of orientation to help those who won't be living in residence halls.) It's all very worrisome, and I'm kind of disappointed that I won't be living on campus. I'm not very social, and I'm not sure I'll put out the effort to meet other students now. On the other hand, I might get to stay with a British family this way; I think a lot of the rooms are from students looking to make up the rent with as many people as possible, but I saw some families offering spare rooms (cost of living there is high, after all -- I'd try to make extra money, too. :)). That could be very interesting. Basically, I'm just trying not to panic about this unexpected situation.

adopt your own virtual pet!