My heart swells every time I return to Chapel Hill from a break. I can’t help but smile at the Old Well or stop for a moment to take in the beauty of Wilson Library.
I’ve come to have the same reaction to the sights of my new campus: King’s College London.
While walking over Waterloo Bridge, I still get giddy at the sight of Big Ben. I sometimes have to catch my breath as I walk along the Thames — and not because I’m out of shape (although that probably doesn’t help).
I chose to study abroad in London because I’ve always wanted to live there. Probably stemming from an early childhood obsession with Harry Potter, my desire to move to the United Kingdom never faded, even as my belief in Hogwarts and Diagon Alley did. Fulfilling my dream, I came to study at King’s in early January of 2015.
It was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have made while at Carolina. King’s and UNC could probably cease distributing any and all promotional materials when I return to campus, because anyone who will listen or who is unfortunate enough to sit next to me at the dining hall will hear me gabbing about how much I enjoyed studying abroad. UNC has afforded me the incredible opportunity to study and live alongside regular King’s students.
I have had my moments of homesickness and fear, but I’m confident I will come to forget those moments of insecurity over the years. My lasting memories will be of exploring London and the countryside with other study abroad students, hanging out in my floor’s disgustingly dirty kitchen with my flat mates, and traveling to visit my UNC family across Europe.
Study abroad has been eye opening— anyone will tell you that— but when I look back the thing I will remember most of all is fun. Having so much fun I can’t adequately express it in a blog post — it’s one of those “you had to be there” things.
Sometimes it feels like studying abroad for one semester didn’t give me enough time, but then I think of UNC again and I’m torn. These two vastly different but equally divine places have become home, and I guess I should just count myself lucky to have studied at both.
By Carolyn Coons
Carolyn Coons ’16 is a history and journalism double major from Charlotte, North Carolina. She was the former editor-in-chief of Blue & White and a writer at The Daily Tar Heel.