It was the second to last day before I was headed back to the United States. My time in London, England, was coming to a close and every moment felt bittersweet…
I was going to miss my friends. I knew some students before we were all accepted into the same program, but my relationships with them have changed. My study abroad roommate and I developed our friendship throughout the one-credit planning course; however, it blossomed into something deeper during the trip. Our long night talks about braids, panic attacks when planning trips, and adventures throughout London are irreplaceable memories. It’s weird how a trip can make you feel like you’ve known someone your whole life within a few weeks. That’s what makes it even more beautiful.
I was going to miss the place I fell in admiration with, Peckham, a black community located in South London. It was the place where I filmed my short documentary for the class. The vibrant colors covering the store, the array of the different cultural foods, and the sweet innocence of young children roaming around the streets after school made me feel welcome in their community.
I am going to miss my teammates. Despite the long hours of planning, filming, and editing, we were a group of black women who conquered our video because we wanted to share other black women’s stories. I am not sure if I’ll ever have the opportunity to work with a group of such hardworking, passionate ladies.
I am going to miss our subjects for our video. These ladies were so powerful and inspirational. At times, I didn’t feel like a journalist, more like an innocent black girl soaking up all the knowledge they had on black hair and black businesses.
I am going to miss the food. Yes, European food is different, but it is tasty. Also, I have never tried such a variety of food in my life. I can now say that I am an expert on Peruvian and Indian food. (Well, kinda).
I am going to miss my TA. She was compassionate and cared for her students. We all know that’s not common in college and I am grateful for her flexibility. (Oh, and she liked to hang out with the students!)
I am going to miss my backpack…at least for now. Yes, unfortunately, as I stated at the beginning, everything was okay, until my backpack with my laptop, mic, and passport was stolen two days before I headed home. It breaks my heart to even write this. Thankfully, I wasn’t injured, but it was still a frightening experience. I am still waiting on the investigation, but here are a few tips to all the future “study abroad students”.
- Don’t take your passport with you while traveling. I initially didn’t, but when I traveled to Paris for a weekend trip, I forgot to take it out of my backpack. It is so easy to forget what you’re traveling with.
- Stay with a friend. I was with a friend at the time and I don’t know what I would do without her help.
- Keep items insight. While I had my backpack protected under my body, thieves have clever ways to distract you, especially during rush hour.
- Have your phone charged at all times. My phone battery was low at the time because I was at the university all day. I was just grabbing a bite to eat, not realizing this could happen within a matter of seconds. Luckily my friend was with me, but it was still worrisome.
At the end of the day, if something happens to you, remember, people can be cruel and tricky, but you must remain calm. I am grateful for my friend who was by my side from the police station to the US Embassy. She helped me to remain calm and positive during a difficult situation. I was really blessed to have a friend like her.
I’m waiting for positive results from the police, but until now, I am grateful for this opportunity to tell a story through film and to experience a new part of the world.
This post was contributed by Faith Castle, a 2019 Global Ambassador majoring in journalism. Faith is studying abroad on the Community Life Documented Maymester program in London, England.
Don’t get left behind. Read more about Faith’s experience in London>>