I have always wanted to put into practice what I preach. When I first arrived in London, one of my first stops was the Houses of Parliament. As a Kiwi, I was absolutely floored by the grandeur of the building. It was quite a sobering sight for someone who grew up in a small town in New Zealand. Being in London for a week or longer, certainly gave me a different perspective. It made me realise the importance of being informed about global affairs and the role that our elected representatives play in safeguarding our rights and interests. It is a responsibility that we must all take seriously.

I remember reading about an English girl called Florence Nightingale, who, back in the 19th century, worked in one of the hospitals here in London. She noticed that a lot of the nurses she worked with were poorly trained and uneducated. So, one night in March 1852, she penned a letter to the editor of The Lancet, a respected British medical journal at the time. In it, she argued that many nurses were not fit for the task they were given and that the system of training they were offered was not good enough. She went on to say that the only way to properly qualify as a nurse was by studying at a Florence Nightingale school. This was later to become the Florence Nightingale Nurses’ Association, which was formed with the express purpose of setting up these schools all over the United Kingdom. The Association still exists today and still runs the Nightingale schools. In fact, the first one opened its doors in 1908 and the last one closed its doors in 1982.

Now if that is not a clear demonstration of the importance of lifelong learning and the power of suggestion, then I don’t know what is!

The Importance Of Building A Network

One of the things I really appreciated about London was the extensive network of contacts I was able to establish. One of the biggest draws was the fact that London is essentially one big university city. It really is an amazing place for an aspiring student. The only other city I can compare it to is Mexico City, because both have a similar vibe. One of the things that make London so special is that it is such a multicultural place. I had the chance to meet a lot of new friends from all over the world, which is something I think a lot of people take for granted, but which I really admired. One girl even told me that she had learned so much about different cultures and what makes them tick. This is certainly an added bonus of studying in London – you gain a richer understanding of the world.

How Did I Fare?

Studying in London was great! I gained a lot from it. Like I said, I really appreciated getting to know the city a little better and connecting with others. One of the things that stood out to me was the diversity of the population. It’s great to study in a place where there are so many options for you to choose between. The one thing I didn’t like though was the amount of commuting I had to do. Even with all the advantages that comes with studying in London, I had to give it up for the sake of my studies. It’s only in recent years that I’ve been able to lower my commute and make the most of the city’s superb infrastructure. If I had known back then, what I know now, I would have made different decisions. The key is to take your time and do a bit of homework before you decide.

Looking Back And Moving Forward

Looking back now, I don’t know that I would change much about my time in London. Sure, there were ups and downs (a lot of downs), but overall I had a positive experience. It’s funny how perceptions can be altered, because when I think back now, I don’t see the smog and the rain. Instead, I see an endless array of green – all of which is very inspiring! In my opinion, it’s only fair to say that London will forever hold a special place in my heart. It was there that I started down the path to being a professional dancer. It was also the place where I met my husband, who is also a dancer. Now I find myself back in Auckland, where I started out. It’s funny how things turn out, isn’t it?

Being in London wasn’t an easy ride, but it was an experience that helped mould me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t change a thing about how I grew up, because I feel that it gave me the foundation I needed to build a great life for myself. Thanks for reading! I hope this has been an informative letter. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with, or if you have any other questions. You can find me on Twitter at @MandyNZ or on my website, mandykelly.com.au. I look forward to hearing from you.