From Tourist to Local

Junior Madolyn Desch discusses her experiences living and working in London, England as part of the 2018 Summer Global Internship Program.

For my entire life, I have lived in Ohio. I lived in the same house in Cincinnati since I was 1 year old before moving an hour and a half away to Ohio State.  Though I have traveled extensively away from home throughout high school and college, including a month spent in Germany with the Fisher Freshman Global Lab program, nothing could compare to the nearly 3 months I spent living and working in London this summer.


When I arrived to London in May, I was a tourist –I relied on Google Maps and City Mapper to navigate the tube, I spent my free time visiting the tourist sites, and I depended on my co-workers’ suggestions for places to go and restaurants to visit. But within a few days, I began to become more than a visitor to the city; I learned how to navigate without utilizing my phone and discovered lesser-known areas inside and outside the city center. I could name four different tube and bus routes to get to work each day for the many times there would be a signal failure and tell you which car would be the least crowded so I could get a seat.

Even more than knowing the ins and outs of the transportation system, I learned so much about the culture of the city. London is one of the most Westernized locations in Europe, but the differences between the US and London are immeasurable.  I became so accustomed to cars driving on the opposite side of the road, security screenings at everything from museums to churches and even rooftop restaurants, and the lack of ice and water drank in Europe that it has taken time to readjust to the US.  While having air-conditioning and driving is a great perk of being home, I miss the public transportation, the ability to travel to a different country, inexpensively, on the weekends, the bounty of festivals, outdoor movies, and daily activities that occurred at The Scoop, my favorite spot to spend my lunchbreaks at or visit with friends after work, and my incredible co-workers who made it a summer I will never forget.

Before leaving, I anticipated that my summer spent in London would be different than any other experience traveling abroad I had had up to that point. I knew that I would grow accustomed to my new life in the city over time. What I did not expect was to feel so at home in the city in such a short period of time. Within a week, I did not feel like a tourist in London; I began to feel like a local and even was mistaken for one multiple times by tourists and locals alike asking for directions or history lessons on the British Royal Family. Now that I am home, I constantly think back to my time there and bring up the practices I think Europe is better at in most conversations. In less than three months, London became my second home, and I am so grateful for the Fisher College of Business and the Global Internship by We Find Group for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity.




Madolyn Desch

Madolyn Desch is a third-year at Ohio State studying international business with minors in fashion and retail studies and French. Through Fisher she has traveled to Germany with the Freshman Global Lab and London with the Global Internship Program, as well as numerous other countries. When not traveling, Madolyn is an avid chef, raises a 4 Paws for Ability Service dog, and she is involved in Ohio Staters, Inc, Buckeye Leadership Fellows, and Delta Zeta Sorority.