From 'Round the Girdled Earth: Interview with Annie McClorey '13
Perhaps the ease with which I have settled into my off term has more to do with the fact that Austin, Texas is a place I have been visiting since I was 10 years old and thus it is a city which I am extremely familiar with. (Not to mention that world-class Mexican food is pretty much standard fare here!). But what if I had traded my Tony Lama’s and outdoor music festivals for 10 weeks in a city known for its bad attitudes and even worse weather?
After she spent last winter in Australia, studying at the University of Sydney, Annie McClorey ’13 is a seasoned pro when it comes to living abroad. I sat down with her via Skype to find out all about London, living alone and why it’s called a “tube” and not a “subway.”
Me: Hi, Annie! Where are you?
Annie: I’m in London right now. I’ll be here for five weeks at my company’s London office, and then I’ll be moving to Brussels!
Me: Who are you working for and what are you doing?
Annie: I’m working for Cicero Consulting. It’s a financial consulting firm specializing in the political sector. Specifically, I work with the research team. Right now I’m researching the way companies are perceived in social media outlets by the public.
Me: Why this job?
Annie: Last winter, I studied in Australia, and I absolutely loved it! I knew I wanted to go abroad again, but this time maybe try Europe. I got the job completely through networking. The job was perfect because it was consulting work, but it’s also my first real job, so I wasn’t exactly in the position to be picky.
Me: So besides work, what have you been up to so far?
Annie: Before I started work, I traveled to Lisbon with two '14 friends. This weekend, I visited Kingston [in the United Kingdom], a town on the outskirts of London. There’s a huge market there — I think it’s the oldest market in England — and I explored around there for a bit. With work and all, I haven’t really had much time for much else.
Me: How has it been living there virtually on your own?
Annie: I’m having a great time living in London, but it is has definitely been hard being by myself without any friends. I was relieved to see that so many people I am working with are in their thirties or younger. Surprisingly, I have had some cultural shock, as well. We may speak the same language, but there are times when I have no clue what someone is saying to me here. Or I’ll get corrected on words like “co-worker,” because you’re supposed to say “colleague.” And I don’t go to “college,” I attend “university.” My morning commute is on the “tube” and not the “subway.”
Me: Any tips for us back home wanting to work or live abroad?
Annie: Go into it expecting it to be hard because that way, it is easier to be pleasantly surprised. Be willing to do things by yourself — otherwise, you’ll miss out on a lot of stuff. Take full advantage of everything. I am only here for 10 weeks and I have to keep reminding myself to make the most of it, even when I’m tired and would rather crawl in my bed and sleep. Oh, and make sure you know how to use Dartmouth’s VPN. It’s saving my life right now.