I’m Still Standing

Pause. Stop what you are doing right now. Stop the music, find a quiet spot and just pause. Wherever you are take a moment. Close your eyes, feel the ground beneath your feet. Take a deep breath and feel the air in your lungs, the sun on your back, the wind across your body. In that small moment that you take for yourself think about everything that has brought you to where you are today. Take the time to appreciate where you are and how you got here. Ignore what you need to be doing for that moment and just take your time to feel that small amount of time. There is a value and a power in moments like these that allows us a moment to reflect. It’s the still small moments in life where everything comes crashing down around you. In a lot of ways I think that our mental state mirrors the cartoon physics of Bugs Bunny and his ilk. Until we take the time to notice, we can keep on running despite having run out of space.

I’m caught between a desire to acknowledge and revel in the moment and the fear of acknowledging that everything has come to an end. So for right now I’m choosing to pause, eyes closed as I hover above an abyss that I refuse to acknowledge. For right now I am enjoying the moment being surrounded by friends in a place that I have come to love, I am a long way from home still, and for the moment I’m just going to see the sky above me, the ancient, crouching buildings down the street, and I’m willfully ignoring the suitcase that sits, creeping behind my door. When I did my last external study program, I left claiming that I had never been more sad or more happy to leave somewhere. In that moment I know that that wasn’t true, I was happy to be leaving and glad to leave behind the life I had created there. But here it is different. Here I’m happy and am surrounded by people that I get to see every day.

I know that being happy to go home and being heartbroken to leave are not mutually exclusive. Despite this even now I feel my mind’s eye opening and looking toward the abyss of realization that I’m going home. So I’ll be done now and I’ll just sit in the moment. I will let myself not dwell on the future, but rather appreciate life for what it is right now. You don’t have to say goodbye until you acknowledge that you are leaving, so as I sit here in a mental hover, midair amidst the winds of change, I’m going to smile as I refuse to see my own predicament.


Isaac Morley



As I sit here writing this, I absolutely cannot believe that this incredible study abroad experience is coming to a close. It seems like just yesterday I was sitting on my couch in Colorado Springs stress crying over whether or not I should buy a London Pass and dreading the 9 hour flight. And then I got to London, all alone and trying to conquer one of the oldest and most amazing cities I have ever seen and I was terrified. Terrified of getting lost, of losing my belongings in the Tube, scared of my Oxford homework, and most of all scared I wouldn’t make any friends on this trip or that my fellow students wouldn’t like me. Boy was I wrong…

When we arrived here in Oxford we were lead through an exhausting whirlwind of orientation, tutorial prep, and other things… of course we always made time for some Pimms 😉 I still remember that first evening at the Turf tavern where I sat with Alec, Rachel, and Madi and we had the most spirited and intellectual conversation about how Harry Potter is the great epic classic of our generation. I remember sitting back in my chair and smiling to myself thinking, “Yes. I’ve found my people.”

From there we fell into a routine of hopping from cafes to different branches of the Bodleian Library (I’ll miss your architectural beauty but not your wifi, Bod) to eating far, far too many baguettes (please reference my last blog post). And there were definitely many good times, but there were some not so great times as well. Oxford at times felt confining, and let me tell you I cannot wait to walk down the sidewalk in Old Town and have strangers smile and look like they don’t want to kill me, and have people be happy when I pet their dogs instead of them looking like it’s a capital offense against the crown. Some of the stress and occasionally even boredom was broken up by lovely trips to Windsor and London, and of course a little clubbing at Atik on the side. (Of course I had to include a photo of my hero Queen Elizabeth II because anyone who’s spoken to me on this trip knows I’m obsessed with her).

We got to go see four amazing Shakespeare plays, and we all had different opinions on which of the unique performances was our favorite. (King Lear in Stratford-Upon-Avon marked the only bright spot in my horrible sick day that I spent in the Stratford McDonalds so it was automatically my favorite). We had the opportunity to go back to London, my favorite city, twice on this trip and I went back a third time to explore it on my own. Also, please appreciate just how incredible our recreation of the Abbey Road cover was… we killed it ladies!

By the time the last two weeks rolled around we had all grown incredibly close, and about the time I found myself getting dressed up in Regency clothing and laughing with my friends I realized that this goodbye was going to be a very painful one. A group of us even decided to venture to the seaside town of Brighton because we can’t get enough of long bus and train rides apparently, but let me tell you it was WORTH IT. I don’t know why I was expecting the ocean to be gray and melancholy (maybe because much of the UK is), but when we got there I swore I’d been transported to a California beach town. We hung out on the pier, drank the worst margaritas of our lives, and took our shoes off to get in the ocean (spoiler alert: the rocks on the beach make it feel like your walking on tiny knives so it’s not for the faint of heart!). Anyway, Brighton turned out to be the most refreshing, unexpected, and beloved place we visited on this whole trip!

And last but certainly not least I have to touch on Oxford. I fell in love with countless libraries, trees, bumping races, and unexpected experiences. For example: on our last day of adventuring before our Bod cards expired, Rachel, Kira, and I toured multiple colleges and realized that Trinity College is actually shockingly small. However, our biggest adventure came inside our own college when we unknowingly wandered into the president of the college’s private residence! Her door was open because she thought we were the caterers, but thankfully she was the nicest woman I’ve met since arriving in this country and she talked to us for a while. Also, props to her for letting us pet her adorable dog Penny! Anyway, I’ve gotten way off track. I am so thankful for the opportunity to study at this historic university and this is definitely as close as I’ll ever get to going to Hogwarts!

Anyway, there is very little time before we leave this country and I’m feeling very emotional. I’m exhausted from the sheer amount of writing we’ve done in such a short amount of time. I’m overjoyed at the thought of seeing my family (and almost more importantly my cat) when I get home. I’m devastated at the thought of not living a short walk from actual Harry Potter filming locations and an hour from London by train. And I’m very very sad that I will not get to see my crazy, wonderful new friends on a daily basis. Plus I’m always filled with that strange, sad nostalgia that comes when it’s time to leave a vacation; however, this time it is so much worse because in these few short weeks we created a life here. I love you all so much.

Alec and Isaac: Thank you for always being willing to talk literature with me and for bringing your unique takes on Shakespeare to every class. I learned so much from both of you.

Ronnie and Tiffany: Thanks for the little things like spirited conversations in pubs and for dancing the night away in clubs (haha accidental rhyming). You both have such wonderful personalities and I’m so glad I got to share this experience with you!

Lauren and Amanda: I’m so glad that I got to go on the Brighton trip with you guys! We didn’t spend a lot of time together before we went, so I am so glad that I got to know you better and spend a wonderful beach day with you!

Han: Thank you for being your amazing, kind, beautiful self. You’ve taught me so much and I will be forever jealous that you got to do your tutorial on Harry Potter! Also, thanks for somehow managing to get great candid photos of me without me even having to ask, you’re a blessing.

Kira and Anna: You guys are so freaking adorable and you never fail to make me laugh. Like honestly you brightened my day every time I talked to you. Kira, thanks for suffering with me in the Trinity Library and for being there to witness the amazing, “cheers” moment. We will always have that haha 😉 And Anna, you’re probably one of the funniest people I know, and I am so thankful that you’re my friend.

Madi and Reagan: Thank you for being the most incredible roommates I could have ever asked for. Madi, I’m so glad that you’re my friend and you best believe I’ll be dragging you to Sundance with me next semester. If I write any more about you I’m going to start crying, but just know that I love you! And Reagan, thanks for the late night therapy sessions and for having the kindest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. Also thanks for being the best trip dad we could have ever hoped for!

Rachel: Ugh, girl you are so incredible and I’m so thankful I get to call you my friend. Your calm strength and amazing personality kept me sane on this trip and honestly you’re the best, I want to be you when I grow up. You’re going to do incredible things I absolutely know it.

Cole: Queen, I’m crying in the club writing this. I love you so much words can’t express it. You are so fantastic and you always know just what to say or do to make me smile even at the times when I felt like crying. Thank you for being my fellow baguette addict and for being my biggest fan in everything I did here. I can’t wait to party with you in FoCo and I love you so freaking much bb.

And finally Aparna: Thank you so much for putting up with our crazy personalities, our dramatics, and our insanity. You deserve a medal. Also thank you for being the best teacher and friend to all of us on this trip, you are incredible and I am so glad that I got to know you so well during this trip.

Alright, I’m emotional. No really I’m actually crying right now. I don’t want to leave but the time has come and I’m so glad that I got to share this once in a lifetime experience with such incredible people. And no matter what, we’ll always have Oxford. ❤

P.S. Chozen Noodles, I’ll miss you most of all ❤

Thorns and Roses

My final thoughts on this trip are complicated. There were many ups and downs (thorns and roses), but there was a huge turning point for me. I shared something very personal, that I wasn’t even really sure I wanted to. But the people I have met on this trip are amazing and trustworthy.

On March 18th, I received the worst phone call of my life so far, a phone call that meant I wouldn’t be able to see my favorite person in the world anymore. And it still hurts so bad to write that. He was Robert Autobee, my Uncle, but also a father to me. I still can’t believe he’s not here for me to share this experience with. And every time I find something in a shop that he would love, it crushes me to know there would be no receiver of it. Other than missing wife and family, this has been the biggest thorn in my being here. Almost everything still reminds me of him. I have this beautiful picture of him sitting up on the nightstand to remind to do my best every day. And as a little bonus so I don’t cry too much in this post, here is a picture of me in my New College scarf, and my bear that was made for me from one of my Uncle’s t-shirts with his own little scarf:


So coming into this trip, I wanted to do everything by myself. I wanted to be alone, and to reflect, and to heal. And to some extent, that did happen, but what I didn’t expect was to grow so close to everyone around me. I have met the most wonderful people on this trip, and even before I revealed what was going on with me, they made me feel welcome. I was allowed to be by myself when I needed, and I was always able to join in when I wanted, and it meant the world to me. As an older, queer, married, and grieving individual, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and understanding group to navigate my way through six weeks of a new world and homesickness. And I will be forever grateful to what I have gained here on this tiny island 4,600 miles away from Colorado. Here is a lovely picture of some of the said group of people as well as my favorite picture of me and my wife:

To end this blog, I want to look at a piece of writing I did in my tutorial. One of the characters in the story told my main character, “Don’t forget to find the new moments. Don’t forget to find something new that is irreplaceable. Or you will drown in the energies of what isn’t there.” and I have to admit, when I wrote it, I didn’t even think about how that was my own subconscious telling me the same thing and not just one fictional character to another. But now I get. Nothing will ever replace him, and it will never stop hurting, but it becomes a little easier to bear when you have so much new love surrounding you.

Thank you for listening to my ramblings, I hope I managed to make something of some sort of value to people. And never feel like you have to trek through any hardship alone. Here’s one final picture to sign me off:



The Clock is Ticking…So Stay?


Life would always give you something special when you do not have any expectation towards it, especially for me before I came to this program. I mean, it is easy for people to fly from one university to another university, but it could be extremely hard when you dwelled for three days on the bed in your home. I do not even have a chance to eat a hot pot before I headed towards London! I stayed in Hong Kong by myself for 9 hours to wait for my second flight, the sky outside turned from pure blue to orange, then red, finally black. I still remember my mood at that time—I would pay for anything that could take me back home. Now my mind totally changed, weird me.


Not first study abroad for me, even though this summer also not on my plan. I always do things that not on my to-do list. If I would say the best choice I have ever made is to decide to go to the CSU, made the decision of joining those lovely people could be recognized as a quite similar one. I am an emotional person; a tiny thing could trigger my sentiment—even things like shuttling back and forth underground; walking along the railway at 1 am with those Venneit Close people.

I learned a lot from people around me, not only during the class time but also in the daily life. I feel a mix of feeling when I realized that the Google map has already marked Venneit Close as “home”, also with the notification of “just 2 days left”.

“Please do not forget me” is always my monologue.

The end of loneliness would finally come, and the reunion is on its way.

LOOK AT ALL THOSE CHICKENS (AKA the best study abroad group I could’ve asked for)!!!

Everyone that I had talked to prior to coming on this trip had warned me about the period of time where the study abroad is quickly wrapping up. Where all of the people that I have met finish their projects, are busy packing and trying not to bawl their eyes out, but if you are as nostalgic as I am, you’re either not trying hard enough or you had the best study abroad you could possibly ask for and are indeed, cryin’ in da club.

This last week was certainly one of the most challenging during the entire trip. It always seems that trips like these have an ed that test what you have learned throughout the experience. During our final trip to London, I certainly learned a few things about myself: 1.) I. AM. AN INTROVERT. There, I said it! This trip has been incredible, but I am ready to have my space back where I can lock myself inside my room or lab office for days at a time and no one will know (or care) where I am, just knowing that I have no where better to be or spend my time in other more entertaining ways. 2.) Being in such an accelerated program has really strengthened my ability to critically analyze media and information in an efficient manner, while also refining my position or thought on whatever is relevant to the situation. Whether it is Shakespeare plays, museums, memes or scientific journals, I have certainly grown a lot academically during this trip. Big shout out to Aparna and a slightly smaller shout out to my tutorial professor, Dr Katie Ewer, both of you certainly have been great mentors during the last month (and change) and am forever humbled by your lessons and knowledge. Thank you. 3.) To my lovely Oxford chickens who have accompanied me during this trip. I AM SO PROUD OF EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU. I certainly felt like the group mom, which is an honor with a silver lining: y’all are so intelligent and caring, but herding everyone on our adventures is like herding a litter of kittens and is IMPOSSIBLE. In all seriousness though, every single one of you deserved to be on this trip. Though I haven’t had the time to grow as close to all of you as others, I certainly feel like we all have gone through such a growing period in our lives. This program tended to be taxing, enlightening, rustically charming (thanks Bodelian) and I would never, ever, no matter what, forever change this experience for anything.

So thank you all for the boat races where we sat on the ledge of a mini castle, for the endless reserves of pimms that know no end, the countless baguettes (for they were the true casualties of our group), hours upon hours in the library working on papers, and friendships that do not have words to describe how incredibly unique these past 5 weeks have been. Thank you.

I love you all.

Sincerely yours,

Momma Cole

P.S: peep the picture of me as the momma swam charging anyone who tries to front my babies (y’all). How do the paparazzi get these pictures anyway??

P.P.S: Aparna, I am pretty sure that I forgot to post pictures for one of my other posts, but don’t know how to fix it (sorry I am so technologically unsavvy). Sooooooooo… here are too many to hopefully compensate for that utter lapse in judgement.

The End…Already?!?!

I can’t believe that I am already writing my final blog post and that we leave in a few days. I didn’t think it was possible for five weeks to fly by so fast, but this trip proved me wrong. It feels like yesterday I walked into 43 Trinity where suspiciously no one was home, but the back door was unlocked and all the windows open. This would later become a common occurrence for our flat so we didn’t have to carry our keys with us. If anyone is actually reading this blog post, other than our lovely teacher Aparna (hi!), I am unsure what to write about here. Whilst in Oxford, we have had many adventures together as an amazing group, but also individually as we trudged through our difficult yet rewarding tutorials. There are too many emotions and memories to create one truly cohesive blog post, so I recommend reading the other ones, as my fellow Rams are much more eloquent with their words than I. But, I also need to write a little bit more so to chunk up my blog post I’ll run through a highlight reel of my favorite moments with Oxfam.

Week One: Oxfam arrives in Oxford and we hit the ground running with our Shakespeare class. We all are rushing through our first three plays as they were due the next week in a rapid succession. We also go out for a fun adventure to “‘da club”, where we moved around like a big herd while dancing our cares away. This same weekend we went off to Windsor Castle, where the Queen lives sometimes, and if you read my other blogs we ate delicious ice cream here as well.

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Week Two: Our Shakespeare class kicks into hyper speed, we complete 3 of the 4 plays and go off the Stratford-upon-Avon to see Shakespeare’s birthplace, grave, and King Lear performed. During this week as well, most of us met with our tutors for the first time for a preliminary meeting or had their first official Oxford assignment due! Anddd that weekend we went to London for our double header at the Globe to see Hamlet and As You Like It.

Week Three: Our Shakespeare class is almost wrapped up as we study our final play, The Tempest. We are all busy at work with our tutorials and spending time in libraries reading book upon book. We also went out that weekend to get a proper English breakfast and then went out dancing that night to celebrate our beautiful Kira turning 19!

Week Four: We have a little bit of a slow down in our Shakespeare classes work, so all focus shifts to our tutorials. Personally, I spent a lot of time in the Radcliffe Camera with large books reading up for my paper. We also went to the Roman Baths, which had gross green water, and ate really good hot sausages from a sausage cart.


Week Five: This week we worked on wrapping up our tutorials, writing our speeches for our Shakespeare course, and hanging out with one another as the program comes to a close. We traveled to London again to see our final play performed at Saint Paul’s Church, it was an interactive production that required the audience to move set to set in the garden–it was interesting. In London we also had adventures, Alec was in a street show, Anna, Kira, Han, and Sydney recreated the Beatles photo, and Alec made a “hilarious” joke about The Tempest and Cole.  Some of us also went to Westminster Abbey, which is breathtaking. 10/10 recommend London as a bucket list must visit place.


SOOOoooo that brings to a close my longer than expected highlight reel of this program. While this isn’t everything that happened this is a quick and easy summary. Thank you so much to CSU for allowing this program to exist and OSAP for, while unorganized and scatter-brained, facilitating our excursions and housing us. This program was a dream come true for a Shakespeare nerd like me and was only made better by the amazing people that accompanied me. I will cherish the memories we made and look forward to the memories we are hopefully yet to make together.

Also to my Trinity squad, y’all are the best chicken nugs out there…thanks for all the adventures and large amount of vine references.


A Series of Fortunate Events

Picture this: it’s your freshman year in college, you don’t know what you want to do with your life, and you’re thinking about switching schools. What do you do?

Apply to study abroad, obviously. At least, that’s what I did.

The past year has been a bit of a whirlwind for me. A year ago, I was just graduating high school and realizing that the world is a big ocean and I am but a small fish.

While this program has been overwhelming and challenging, I truly believe that I could not have chosen a more opportune time to study abroad.

I have had the pleasure of being one of the youngest people on this trip, a position that I have taken full advantage of. It’s been extremely insightful for me to have spent the last five weeks surrounded by students who have more experience in academia than I do.

With all the stress and confusion of deciding to transfer schools, my fellow CSU students have reminded me of my love for learning and how empowering education can be.

Cheesy as it sounds, I have experienced a lot of personal growth abroad that I hope to carry with me back to Colorado.

Abbey Road

Whether I’m cooking in the tiny kitchen with Rachel, working in the Trinity library with Sydney, or singing David Bowie with Anna on the streets of London, I am constantly grateful for the people I have met on this trip.

As my last few days as an associate student of Oxford, and as an official CSU Ram, draw to a close, my heart if full.

On a happier note, I had another amazing experience at Oxford today.

Rachel, Sydney, and I spent the afternoon wandering around, taking advantage of our Bod cards and trying to see some of the other colleges.

When we got to Trinity College, we saw a pretty open doorway that is usually closed to students. 

“What’s this?” Rachel asked, inquisitively poking her head through the door.

“An exam room,” I said, thinking of all the times I had seen a sign reading Quiet Please, Examinations Are Taking Place In This Stairwell outside the door. 

Thinking nothing of it, we entered the building where we were greeted with the sight of a beautiful living room and a small courtyard where two people were sitting.

“Come on in,” a woman called out to us, coming into the building from the courtyard accompanied by a cheerful dog. “Hello there, are you students?”

“Yes, we’re associate students at Trinity,” I said, thinking that we were about to get yelled at for being someplace we weren’t supposed to.

“Oh, I’m the President of Trinity College and you’ve just wandered into my house,” the woman, Dame Hilary Boulding, said with a pleasant smile on her face.

Rachel, Sydney, and I started looking at each other thinking that we were about to get raked over the coals. But much to our surprise, and delight, Trinity’s President turned out to be one of the kindest and most welcoming people I have met at Oxford.

After introducing us to her dog, Penny, and asking us about our tutorials and time at Oxford, she invited us to apply to do our master’s at Oxford and told us to visit her favorite college: Worcester.

After sincerely apologizing for bursting into her house and thanking her for her time, we set to take a look at Worcester College which was well worth the walk.


Overall, it was a phenomenal last day as an associate student. Thanks Oxford. 

How do you write like you’re running out of time?

I trust you’ll understand the reference to a somewhat newer Scottish tragedy without me having to name the play. And yes, there is tragedy as touching as Hamilton in my story as I approach the end of my time here. You might say that I’ve received an omen reminding me that everything ends eventually. I am, of course, referring to the tragic and painfully abrupt bereavement that happened very close to me: the destruction of my favorite flip-flops. Truly, could there be a more heartbreaking harbinger of the end of times (in Oxford)?


And yet, they say that a flame burns brightest right before it goes out, and I’ve found this to be an apt way to describe the windfall of events that have me running from place to place, now armed (or legged) only with my backup running shoes. As our time in Oxford comes to a close, I find myself burning with newfound passion to see everything I can, finish strong on my final papers, and make lasting memories. How sad it is then that there are only so many hours in the day and it seems like I’m always running out of time. Kicked into overdrive, I’m now striving to put as much into my days as possible. Our final trip to London was yesterday, and I can proudly say that I feel I really lived to the fullest. The day began in high spirits with a trip to Camden Market, a place I can truly say is without equal. The experience of walking through the myriad of stalls and booths was intriguing, satisfying, and rewarding despite my poor means leading me to forgo buying any of the amazing articles of clothing or fanciful pieces of jewelry. I don’t think I’ve seen such vibrant displays and energetic hawkers anywhere else in London, or anywhere else I’ve been in my life, all things considered. The sheer variety was astounding. As I frantically absorbed this amazing place, I finally was satisfied with my desire to see a genuine expression of London’s culture, which was more than pervasive in Camden market, it was all-encompassing. From here, we traveled through the Tube to Covent Garden, where we were immediately drawn to a large fountain with Shakespeare’s likeness carved into it’s center. Perhaps if you’ve met me before, you might think that I was drawn to the magnanimous appearance of the Bard’s likeness, or perhaps the insightful quote on his huge book. This time, for once, I was more focused on the water itself. Captured below by the unparalleled photographer Ronnie (who informed me in no uncertain terms that if I did not give her due credit it would likely lead to my disembowelment), is the joy of simple pleasures and living in the moment. It seems this is all I can manage to do in these short weeks in which I’ve found myself unable to plan ahead or do anything without complete spontaneity. Here’s hoping there will be a little more time for adventures despite the busy finale of this trip!Kicking

Yes I am already nostalgic and I haven’t even left yet

Day by day, this trip’s end comes nearer, and I can’t help but already feel a bit nostalgic for the time that has been spent here. Each moment I catch myself realizing at some point how fleeting the present really is: how one day these will all just be a collection of photographs, stories to tell, or memories that I smile about whenever I’m reminded of them.

I tend to view my life experiences as opportunities of growth, and taking time to reflect has been so important. While it seems like we have not been here for very long at all, it feels like it has been a very long time all at once. Thinking about who I was the day that I left Denver International Airport feels strange. It sounds cliche, but these past five weeks have challenged me to grow and become a better, stronger, and more confident version of myself, and that is something I wasn’t really expecting. Yes, I knew that this would have an impact on me, but I thought it would be more on the academic side of things if I were to change at all. After all, it only really has been five weeks. I still feel that difference in myself, though, and it is quite remarkable that such a short period of time spent here had the ability to change me so much.

When I am home, I might speak of the academic experience a bit – the papers I wrote, journal articles I read, conversations with professors I had. However, most of what I speak of will not be that. Rather, I hope to speak of this:

the scenery, the art, the places

landmarks and buildings

mindless strolls around the city

the drinks and cuisine

unfamiliar places and people

silly cultural nuances

hugs from my new friends

reuniting with old friends

laughter that doubled us over

late night conversations

flashing lights while we danced

places we loved

bus rides we hated

challenges overcome

moments of reflection

moments of growth

moments of frustration

moments of resilience

moments that will never be replaced

and, most importantly… all the vine references.

To my group members: Thank you for your kindness, friendship, and acceptance. This place and you all will always have a special place in my heart.


If You Give This Mouse a Cookie…She Will Check the Label First! – Rocking Education Abroad with Dietary Restrictions

I am the queen of packaged foods. Gotta love those ingredients lists filled with unpronounceable words!

As many people who have met me know, I have life-threatening allergies to peanuts and all nuts. This means I have a tough time eating at new restaurants, and when I’m away from family who are familiar with my allergies I have to act in an abundance of caution. In fact, before this trip I received advice from various places at school not to even study abroad at all!

In the hopes that this post will also reach future students traveling abroad, I have some stories and tips for anyone traveling with a dietary restriction.

During my stay at Oxford University, I’ve chosen to mainly buy and cook my own food rather than going to restaurants (because even pizza could be hiding nuts in it – crust can be made using peanut flour, and peanut sauce is a thing)! The Tesco supermarkets are my new best friend.

Ingredients are labeled differently here than in the U.S. If you’re a vegetarian, food packaging consistently has a nice, clear “Suitable for vegetarians” on it. I’ve also seen gluten-free items labeled better than in the U.S., though it’s not always consistent. The “May Contain” warning for allergens though is often hidden in blocks of text, so be aware!

Cheap supermarket eats I’m loving:

-The fruits and veggies are super tasty and less expensive here! Pretty much the only consistently safe thing for nut allergy sufferers! Fruits my classmates and I have found particularly tasty include the cherry tomatoes, strawberries, and the watermelon.

-Take-and-bake baguettes for 50 pence (to follow the blog theme of some classmates)!

-Store bought pizza! Pretty much as good as in the U.S., and you can get a full, refrigerated fresh pizza for 1 pound!

-Pasta (like any true college student. It only gets tricky when you must cook it in a frying pan and your stove won’t light, so your roommates have to light a paper towel on fire to start it)!

Stuff to Skip:

-Fresh bakery goods and sweets. I know, they’re so hard to resist! The baguette I mentioned above is one of the few safe breads for me. I have a major sweet tooth, but almost any bread or sweet item has a peanut/nut warning on it here. That’s why I’m so happy in the featured image for this post – I just found the first pastry I can safely eat!

-Hamburgers. From what I’ve been hearing, they’re just not measuring up to what we’re used to!

-Cereals. Pretty expensive here, and lots of allergen warnings. Be aware that the same brand as something you eat in the US may actually have different ingredients here in the UK!

Overall, I think I’m doing pretty well. I won’t let my allergies take over my Oxford experience, and it’s really not a big deal once you get used to the supermarkets here. And lately I’ve been loving sampling some British snacks: Scottish baps, scones, “Hula Hoops”…

For anyone with a food intolerance, you really can travel abroad! And for the experience, let yourself have at least one night out at a restaurant: do your research, find one online that’s known for being allergy friendly, and go at a non-peak time.

If you need me, I’ll just be over here stuffing my face with finger pastries…