It is hard to fathom that my year in Paris has come to an end. Once again, I feel that time goes by so quickly that I find it near impossible to process everything that has happened. I learned a lot, met new friends, and called arguably one of the greatest cities on earth my home. But the end of my year in Paris is also the beginning of my year in London. This blog post is about hopes and expectations.

Hope 1: Finding a nice place to live. I am currently in the process of applying for King’s residences but, in all honesty, would prefer to share a flat with friends. Luckily, I know people who are going to London with me. King’s residences would probably be perfect to get to know people at King’s. Unfortunately, they are pricey and sometimes quite far away from the campuses. Considering that the metro in London is far from cheap, a shared flat might be a more reasonable option. Though I loved living in student housing in Paris, I wouldn’t say no to living in an actual flat.

Hope 2: Learning more about conflicts and challenging my way of thinking. While I mostly focused on development issues in Paris, I will acquire a more in-depth understanding of warfare in London. We read about conflicts every day and, in doing so, get used to a certain narrative. In switching perspectives, I aim to challenge existing narratives. Applying a gender perspective to conflicts, for instance, may reveal a new set of previously ignored problems.

Hope 3: Finding friends. Okay, it’s not that I am necessarily worried about crying myself to sleep every night, but it would be nice to find friends quickly. As mentioned earlier, I already know a few people in London so I should be fine. But still, I must admit that it can be tiring to build a new circle of friends every so often. It takes a while, I guess, to make yourself feel at home in a new city; sometimes it happens instantly, sometimes you have to make an effort. In any case, the feeling of trading something intact (Paris and my friends) for something fairly unknown (London) can be distressing. The people at the German Embassy in Paris, where I am currently interning, confirmed this to me. At the same time, they emphasised that frequent relocations helped them become more mature and open-minded. It helps to think about all the fun challenges ahead.

Next month, I will publish my last blog post. It has been an incredible journey, and I hope I could encourage you to study abroad, be it for a few months or even a few years. My final blog post will elaborate on lessons learned in Paris and the benefits of studying abroad in general.

MAY 2019 | Loë Guthmann