Leaving London never happened.. / by Amanda Liew

It’s been a year since my last post. What started out as a little abroad blog just to show my parents transformed into an international sensation, garnering me more awards than I could imagine, and a following of thousands. I wasn’t ready to handle it, though, and quickly withdrew from the limelight for the fear of losing myself….Hahah in reality, I loved blogging to be able to share my thoughts with my friends. That plus my long-awaited purchase of a DSLR, motivated to me start this up again. 

I realized that I never left London fully. Sure, I was back across the pond, shuttling back and forth between California, Philadelphia, and New York, but I feel like I left an old version of myself abroad and came back a completely changed person. I’m sure those of you who have gone abroad understand my sentiments exactly. When I first arrived at college, I was excited to “start again” - to break out of who I was in high school and become this new and fabulous version of myself. The only problem, though, is that at 18 I hardly knew who I was or who I even wanted to be. Fast forward to junior year, and I’m experiencing freshman year all over again (quite literally! I fully participated in KCL’s Fresher’s week and lived with first years!). The only difference this time, was that I was 20 with 2 more years to learn about myself outside of the confines of my household. I found an amazing group of friends of Brits, Americans, Australians, and Italians, and I felt “natural” in all the right ways. I didn’t try to impress every single person, but rather stuck close to the people who made me laugh constantly. I was truly amazed that in such a short period I had solidified such a strong group of friends, but also such a strong sense of my own personality. I came back to America KNOWING who I was, and that made all the difference. My self-confidence has been stronger, and my eyes have been open to how much more I can do in life. Spontaneously using every weekend possible to travel the world made me realize how much time I waste normally. This fall, I did what I could. I made a goal to leave Penn’s campus once a week to experience something new, and I have to say, it was a success! I brought my friends to Chinatown for the Mooncake Festival, finally experienced First Friday, visited the Poconos for a weekend Greek InterVarsity retreat, and more. 

The biggest take-a-way of all, though, was that amazing friend group. For two and a half weeks, I gave the Brits a taste of America. Stephen, Max, and Sarah flew to San Diego for a Southern California extraordinaire where we visited everything from glorious La Jollan beaches to Disneyland to Jake’s frat in USC.


Stephen and Max then flew with me to Philly only to go up to DC the next day to meet Beccy (via London), Matt, Jose, Lauren, Nick, Sebastien, and Arielle.
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We then went to NYC where we casually bumped into Michelle Obama in front of the Rachel Rae studios (no photographic evidence, unfortunately)

And finally we came back to Philly to see the birthplace of America, watch a Phillies game, and show the Brits  a good ol’ American “freshers” week celebration. 

Needless to say, going abroad was the best decision of my life! I hope you guys look forward to the rest of my posts documenting life “abroad” back at home!