Tube. Stairs. Repeat. For a broke college student in London, having your own car or form of transportation is not in the cards so the tube is your daily routine. The tube is the subway and the fastest way to get around London in a short amount of time, but to say it is crowded would be an understatement. Especially during rush hour, you are usually standing within centimeters of sweaty strangers for a 15-minute ride to your destination in awkward silence.

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The busy tube. People constantly getting on and off at every stop.

Despite this, I just want to say that London is amazing… only three days in and I already want to move here, but this city is not for the claustrophobic.

You would think in such a large, booming city there would be more than enough room everywhere you go, right? Not exactly. Walking on these tiny cobblestone streets full of boisterous, impatient people constantly bumping into each other or stepping on the back of your uncomfortable American sandals is enough to make anyone feel like a canned sardine. Sometimes you feel like a fish in a crowded aquarium with all these annoying little goldfish swarming around and you just need to come up from the tank for some air—aka say goodbye to your personal space!

Speaking of personal space, imagine a dorm room filled with bunk beds for ten college girls who have three weeks worth of luggage packed… that is our hostel room. So, yes, you can say we’ve all become very close very fast (physically and emotionally). Luckily, we only use our rooms for changing and sleeping, but the tight spaces follow us on our sojourns around the city too.

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To most girls, this would be torture. But since we were almost never in this room we were all totally fine!

The trek up St. Paul’s Cathedral’s winding, narrow 530-step staircase was enough to make even the smallest person alive feel claustrophobic. Even though the ravishing view of clear blue skyline meeting with the landscape of the beautiful ancient to Victorian-style city was well worth a hike, the tight space mixed with hot air was enough to make you dizzy.

All in all, if you ever get the chance, I highly advise you to grab your passport, and hop on a plane to start your European Adventure to this thriving city. There is always something here that will “fit your fancy”. Whether it’s catching a play at the theater, grabbing some (not as good as American) food or simply going people watching at Camden Market, you will be entertained; but be prepared to face your claustrophobia and make the public space your new personal space.

–Rebecca Rhyner

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