19-year-old Liz Beecher is one of several lucky University of Sydney students immersing themselves in “western European culture” this semester.
“I’m having such a good time getting out of my comfort zone.” Beecher has spent two months exploring the “crazy” sights and sounds of Central London.
“I’m just so keen to have experiences I could never have back in Sydney. I mean, I just had some fish and chips the other day. Amazing. Just last night I had a meat pie. And then I caught the ‘tube’ home, which is the cool name the Londoners have for their train line. It’s amazing.”
“Their language is just totally different too. I can barely understand half the things they’re saying.” Despite the language barriers, Beecher has managed to make friends with one local.
Josh Thompson, a 20-year-old at the London School of Economics, met Beecher at the Australian bar where she has spent every night for the past three weeks.
“Yeah, Liz is pretty cool,” says Thompson. “She won’t stop going on about how weird cricket is though.”
Beecher hopes to see a cricket match before she returns home in May.
“Oh and you should see the TV shows they have here! There’s this thing called QI and something else called Sherlock,” Beecher said. “To be honest, I’ve mainly been watching Neighbours though because I’m so homesick. The culture shock is real.”
Beecher has also managed to form strong friendships with six other Australians from the same Sydney private school circle as her.
“Oh, my god yeah! So Maddie and Sabine actually went to exactly the same high school as me but were belowies [in the year below]. And then Sam and Blake both dated girls in my softball team. It’s been really cool to meet people I just wouldn’t have run into otherwise.”
Beecher is optimistic that she will maintain her unlikely friendships when she flies back to Sydney.
“I was originally thinking of doing exchange somewhere like Warsaw or Singapore, because those are really cultural places. And then I was like, maybe those might be like, not cultural enough. Meanwhile London is so multi-cultural that it’s, you know, cultural. Apparently, Indian food is great here.”