Tourist and Student: A Balancing Act in London

Alejandro Anselmi is a student at Washington University in St. Louis who has been studying in a direct enroll program at the London School of Economics since Fall 2017. Here, Alejandro reflects on the challenges of dividing his time between being a student in a British university and wanting to make the most of his time in London, the UK, and Europe.

Studying at the LSE for a year has been a fantastic experience and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, though admittedly, it has not been without its challenges.

Although I have loved my studies and my classes, balancing being both tourist and student (two occupations that often have completely contradictory motivations) has proved an unexpected challenge. I wake up every day wanting to explore somewhere new in London or visit a site I haven’t yet seen, but often I’ll realize that I have two lectures and a class to prepare for, an essay to write, or another article to read, and my wanderlust, understandably, must take a back seat to my studies.

At the same time, the feeling of being a student at the LSE, with its prestigious history, central London location and illustrious alumni is enthralling, and I feel particularly lucky being able to study here for a full academic year and call myself an LSE student. Yes, it can be stressful at times and the workload can seem intense, but by being immersed in a completely different educational culture — not to mention a completely different country and city as well — I have learned so much academically and personally.

Despite the educational challenges, I know that when my course finishes, I’ll get to go home with my head held high and I will be able to say that I managed to adapt to a totally new environment and thrive in the process.

Ultimately, I know that even having an entire year to explore London, I will not have nearly enough time to do everything I want to do here – and even less time to discover some parts of Europe that I have not had the chance to see yet. I’m looking forward to returning at a time when guidebooks are the only ones I’ll need!

~Alejandro Anselmi, Washington University in St. Louis

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