Through the eyes of Eva Morales: A year in London


Photo Courtesy of Eva Morales

Eva Morales with some of the many friends she made studying in England during the 2021-22 school year.

Imagine leaving your family and friends behind, climbing board a airplane and jetting to the other side of the planet. Feeling butterflies in your stomach, not knowing what to expect, thinking if you really took the right decision. Was that what you wanted? Going into a country where everyone speaks different, and the culture isn’t the easiest to adapt to? These was everything crossing Eva Morales’ mind before going on her year abroad. 

Academic experience, new relationships, and connections, numerous adventures, knowing new cities, concerts, museums, delightful restaurants, etc were a huge part of Eva’s abroad year at TASIS (The American International School) in Thorpe, England. 

“I had a very holistic experience which made me grow as an independent person, but also, academically and socially,” Eva Morales, Grade 11, said. 


Going abroad is a huge part of the TCS community.  Since school returned to face to face learning at least 6 grade 11 students have studied in another country for a year or more. Everything kicked off during quarantine when all cities were closed and attending virtual classes was all that mattered. Morales decided that she wanted to experience life in another part of the world and have a more thorough academic environment.

“For 2 whole years, I felt as if I was trapped in my house, only seeing my family and without feeling that I had advanced in my learning,” Morales said. 

Realizing that she needed a change, the research for schools began. The first option was TASIS in Switzerland, but after hearing about the lifestyle teenagers held in that part of the world, it was a no for her. So the final decision was to attend the same school but in London. 

“I suggested London as a better option than Switzerland because I have lived in both cities and personally, I believe that London offers a full experience for the young public, while Switzerland is more boring and cold which is better for retired people,”Jaime Morales, Morales’ father, said.

After making the decision, the next step was to actually apply for the school. In February, Morales applied via online and in spring break the school announced her acceptance. The final step was packing her bags and starting the journey in June, ready to start studying in September. 

Morales wasn’t the only TCS student going abroad during that year. She had the opportunity to live this experience with her classmate Laura Mesa, who also decided to attend TASIS in 2021.

“The decision was made in January of 2021 after a family trip, and as my sister did a semester abroad in London when she was in 10th grade, all the process was kind of familiar,” Laura Mesa, Class of ‘24, said.


In London, everything was different, from the academic rigor to the social environment. Studying at TASIS greatly challenged Morales, owing to the fact that she needed to build a social life while focusing on her studies. 

“At first it was very difficult to adapt to this new lifestyle because I knew that I needed to focus on making friends instead of studying, so I managed my time horribly,” Morales said. 

Living on campus was a whole experience, everything was within walking distance and she was never alone. She lived with a roommate and shared bathrooms with 2 more students which was tough and overwhelming.  

“I wasn’t used to sharing the bathroom with other people so it was an uncomfortable situation for me, this made me miss my life in Colombia. So I could pull out with it for a year but that’s it,” Morales said. 

Making friends was not a problem for the TCS student, Morales knew that she needed to let go of her shyness in order to make friends, and that was the case. Soon she realized everyone was kind and welcoming, especially since they were used to having new students from around the world. 

After-school activities were a huge part of Morales’ year; she always kept herself busy. Whether it was playing soccer with the school team, going shopping in town, hitting the gym, or even just staying on campus with her friends (although never forgetting to study every night).

“It was a challenge to keep up with Eva’s lifestyle, she was very busy during the afternoon so at night she studied until 3 am, while I fell asleep at 10 pm, so our sleep schedules were very different,” Valeria Soria, Morales’ roommate, said. 

Weekends were completely different from what they looked like in Colombia. After finishing school, Morales and her friends headed to London to dine at restaurants, such as Circolo Popolare or Seabird, visit museums, or simply walk and discover new places. Regardless they had any party or other plan for the night they stayed at hotels or at Morales’ uncle’s house. On Saturdays and Sundays, Morales took spinning classes at Soul Cycle and finished her weekend with brunch in Dalesforg Organic with her friends. 

She visited different cities with her friends throughout the entire year. Train tickets were relatively cheap and they always carried light luggage, making everything rather simple. Some of the places they visited were Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam, and Cornwall. During vacations, when Morales’ family visited her, they took the opportunity to visit places such as Madrid and Lisbon. 

“One of my favorite activities to do was traveling to other cities, it’s something that perfectly complements the abroad experience. Right now I’m still studying at TASIS and I never get sick of this type of weekend,” Soria said.


After a year abroad, many things changed in Morales’ life. Vacations started to look different, like going to Uruguay without her family but rather with her best friends from London, or to Bogotá, where most of her friends live. She learned to travel alone to other countries with other teenagers and take care of herself. 

Morales spent the 2022 holidays with her bests friends, one of them being Monserrat Morales from CDMX whom she met in London. They went to Uruguay and spent their time in concerts, parties, beaches, restaurants, and overall got to experience a different vacation from what many people usually do. 

“We decided to make this trip because the connection we have with each other after Eva’s year abroad is incredible, so we wanted to see each other again in a unique place that would always be in our memories,” Montserrat Morales, one of Morales’ best friends, said. 

This life opportunity gave Morales another perspective of the world, on how to be independent and appreciate everyone’s culture.

“Nowadays I only talk with my 3 best friends on a daily basis but this doesn’t mean that I lost contact with my other friends, I’m convinced that I made lifetime connections with people from all around the world whom I can trust and who can help me in the future,” E. Morales said.

“I’m grateful we took this life-changing decision for Eva. It was a unique experience where she could learn more about independence, managing relationships, and overall the outside world that many people aren’t able to see. This opened Eva’s mind and gave her another perspective on life, it was the best decision we as parents could ever take,” Juliana Bayona, Morales’ mother, said.