Like many Danes, Louise dreamt of coming to the UK for a more exciting day-to.day life, to experience the hustle and bustle of a big city. And she did. But for Louise, London didn’t turn out to be what she had expected. This week our Viking guest blogger, who has requested us to only use her first name, brings us a very honest and raw account of how lonely London can really be.
I moved to the UK in 2010 to do an MA at Bucks New University. The past 2 ½ years have been the worst and the best. Moving abroad is quite a challenge. I was ready to pack my bags and move back home to Denmark after the first 3 months.
Nothing was as I expected or hoped for.
I was 23 and lived in halls with 18-year-olds who had never left home before; they didn’t know how to clean or cook. All they wanted to do was binge drink every night. I felt so extremely old and out of place. In the end I decided to stay and I’m very glad I did. Although I’ve struggled a lot understanding the British culture and mentality, which I still don’t completely understand or agree with, I have met some amazing people that I would never have had the chance to meet if I hadn’t stayed in the UK. The experience of living abroad, far away from everything and everyone I know has taught me a lot about myself in both good and bad ways, and it has made me more independent. I’m very grateful for that.
After I finished my degree I was so lucky to get a job in London. I moved there in July 2012. The good thing about London is that there is always a lot to do. If I could I’d spend all of my money of visiting every restaurant and go to a gig every night. The downside of London is that people are insanely stressed and rude. I used to think people in Copenhagen were stressed, that’s nothing compared to here.
London has a population of around 8 million. You are always surrounded by people. I often feel that everywhere I go is just too crowded. I feel like I’m getting choked and long for the quietness of my home town in the southern part of Denmark. The same quietness I used to despise growing up. I’ve found that being surrounded by people all the time makes me less patient and tolerant.
What I do like about the UK is the politeness and open-mindedness that you usually find outside London. People are very friendly and helpful. Whenever I go back to Copenhagen the rudeness always shocks me. It’s appalling how people in Copenhagen can behave. I’m aware of that it might be the reserved attitude/façade us Danish people tend to have. Although we can appear reserved, Danish people are quite blunt and honest, which I have noticed is not that appreciated here in the UK. Here you have to pretend that everything’s okay although you’re on the verge of a breakdown.
But I think, taking everything into consideration, I’ll be very honest and say I don’t like London as a city that much. Yes, there are nice places and good people here, but I’ve always felt like I don’t really fit in. I miss my family, friends and Copenhagen. I miss being able to bike everywhere, being close to the sea and being understood due to sharing the same cultural background. However, I know that if I was to move back any time soon I would get fed up very easily and regret. I have an incredible job in London, so I’m going to stay. For now.
Picture credit: Flickr – Transport for London Museum