IPO News

Life Lately in London ft. Jocelyn Canton

Friday, November 11, 2022

Hello from 3,328 miles away! My name is Jocelyn Canton and I am a first year student studying abroad for my first semester in the great global city of London. I am a UMass student studying Public Policy in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. 

I chose to study abroad for my first semester because I had never gotten the chance to travel outside North America, let alone live outside my hometown (Newton, MA). With one month left, it is time for me to start reflecting on my experience and the lessons I have learned by living and learning in a foreign country.

The biggest skill I’ve gained from this trip is time management. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of living in a big city, but learning how to set aside time for myself helped me become grounded in my surroundings. During my first month in London, I was so keen on going out to pubs and clubs every weekend, and while I love exploring London’s nightlife, I was becoming “clubbed-out.” In order to fix this, I made myself take walks either after classes or on weekends. During the time I set aside for decompression, I discovered the side streets of our neighborhood (Kentish Town) and watched the sunsets on Primrose Hill. Taking breaks meant that I could discover a different side of London. Through my walks I am able to find beauty and tranquility while surrounded by a busy city.

Being in London for my first semester has offered so many unique opportunities that I would have never been able to experience anywhere else. Within two months, I have been in London to witness three prime ministers and two monarchies. Since politics is a subject of interest for me, I have been invested in the British government and comparing their processes to US politics. Being here for the Queen’s passing also presented the extremely unique opportunity to witness people from all over the UK come pay their respects by visiting her coffin. A small group in our cohort, including me, made the decision to join the queue to pay our respects. We left Kentish Town at around 10 PM, but we finally entered the queue at midnight. After fourteen hours of standing and slowly shuffling every half hour, we finally arrived at Westminster Hall. Personally, I thought every hour of standing half-asleep was worth it. Although we only spent about a few minutes inside Westminster Hall, the experience allowed us to meet people that had traveled from all over the UK. Unique experiences such as these have made my time in London unforgettable.

Another opportunity that studying abroad has provided me is that I was able to travel around Europe. During our break week I traveled to Vienna and Prague with another person in our cohort. Along with a break from our classes, we were able to eat amazing food and explore two amazing European cities with beautiful architecture. As odd as it sounds, while we were away, I became a little homesick from London. I realized that I had created a life in London that I thoroughly enjoyed. When I was sitting in a Tube station at 2 AM coming back from the airport, I realized how much I have loved my time in London.

With less than a month left in London, I will continue to reflect on the skills I’ve gained through studying abroad, while also trying to fit in more museum trips and day trips into my weekends.  I am so thankful that I was provided the opportunity to spend my first semester in London. It is an experience that I will never forget, and I cannot wait to share my experience with others!


picture of Jocelyn Canton
picture of Jocelyn Canton picture of Jocelyn Canton