My Secret to Self-care Abroad

by Nicole Gieselman on March 27th

Studying abroad can be an extraordinary, life-changing experience. You get to challenge yourself and expand your horizons in an entirely new part of the world. There’s food to try, trips to book, pints to down – oh, and you should probably try to pass your classes while you’re at it. Cramming everything into a few short months can lead to an overwhelming whirlwind of experiences. There’s never enough time or money to do everything. So how’s a girl to choose?

Like many Arcadia students, travel has always been one of my passions. Luckily for me (and unluckily for my wallet), London has easy access to almost every major city in Europe. If it’s only $20, why not book that flight to Dublin? But traveling constantly is draining, and as the weeks slipped by, I realized some self-care was in order. Though I do love travel, it’s not my only hobby, and my drive to explore had caused me to ignore my other interests. For the sake of my sanity (and my grades), that needed to change.

My scavenger hunt for bands has taken me from Camden to Hackney, through graffiti-covered tunnels and lively street markets to some of London’s quirkiest venues.

- Nicole Gieselman

One of my favorite activities in Philadelphia is seeing live music, whether it be at a basement punk show, street festival, or one of the many more reputable venues. The sense of community music creates always makes me feel at peace, regardless of the beat. Since arriving in London, I’d been so caught up in the frantic cycle of classes and travel that I’d completely neglected that stress outlet. I decided to do some snooping. Within minutes, I found half a dozen venues around London that regularly hosted free concerts. But my hunt for a concert buddy didn’t go so smoothly.

I quickly discovered most of my peers studying abroad had little interest in checking out obscure indie and rock bands. With such a hopping nightlife scene to explore, who could blame them? I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I started scheduling myself one or two shows to check out each week. My scavenger hunt for bands has taken me from Camden to Hackney, through graffiti-covered tunnels and lively street markets to some of London’s quirkiest venues. Many are pubs, one was a record store, another a vegan coffee shop. All of them give me a much-needed escape from my exhausting travel itinerary and coursework.

Of course, I still travel and go pub-crawling with my American friends. But setting aside time for live music has helped me feel more myself (and save money). Almost halfway through my semester abroad, I’ve finally found a little peace of mind— and a piece of home.