All cities are exactly the same. They all have roads and buildings and people and maybe a handful of interesting attractions if they’re lucky. There isn’t really anything that makes them different. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Read more
Posts from the ‘England’ Category
1. The people
People flock to London from all over. I think in the month I’ve been here I’ve met more people from somewhere else than native Londoners. But that’s all part of the city’s charm. One of my favorite things to do in the United States is eavesdrop on people, but it’s next to impossible here because everyone is speaking German, Dutch or Arabic. Although it is helping me brush up my French and Italian. I’m getting really good at hearing people say “hello” and “where are we?”
2. The boroughs
In case you didn’t know, London is massive. The city is divided into thirty-two boroughs, and each one has its own character. If you want to stare open-mouthed into other people’s houses and catch a glimpse of what you’ll never have, head to Kensington and Chelsea. Want to stand on some of the oldest grounds of the city? The City of Westminster is for you. Are hipsters with fancily styled mustaches and fixed gear bikes more your speed? Camden is where it’s at. There’s a place for everyone.
I’ve been infatuated with London for years, ever since my family vacationed here in 2005. That’s a long time to be in a long distance relationship with a city. Still, I remained faithful. Leaving the States behind was harder than I expected, even though I could hardly wait to reach my destination. But after a series of flight delays, a classic movie-style sprint through an extremely confusing airport (here’s looking at you, Toronto International), and getting on and off four different wrong trains in the Heathrow Airport, I made it. I’m here. I sit here writing this from my flat in Notting Hill—the Notting Hill—watching double-decker buses trundle up the hill followed by daredevils on bicycles.
In preparation for my fall semester abroad in London, England I was frazzled, confused and a bit clueless. Even with all the helpful pre departure materials ISA provided and the advice I had received from friends, I still found myself a bit overwhelmed. The last week or so before my departure I was rushing back and forth between stores trying to find clothes that would work with the foggy weather that London is famous for. Going to school at the University of Tampa means my wardrobe consists of tank tops, shorts, sandals and other typical warm weather clothes. Since I found myself to be having quite a bit of trouble with what clothes to pack, I decided that I would write a blog to try and help future students with their packing.
In my hometown, the most beautiful building we have is probably the Wal-Mart, so my first few weeks in London can be aptly defined as a culture shock. London is an amazing city bursting with history and beauty on every street. My walk from my apartment in Southwark to the Strand campus at Kings College is no exception.
1. The Palace of Westminster
Also called the Houses of Parliament, this is the meeting place for the House of Lords and House of Commons. The buildings we see today are largely reconstructions built after the devastating Great Fire of 1834. Architect Charles Barry designed the new Gothic style construction that incorporated the surviving structures. It took more than 30 years and over £2 million, but the gorgeous result still stands regally over the Thames today.
It’s a weird thing, to feel yourself blossoming. Blossoming isn’t really the right word, it’s much too frilly, although it does get the point across; it’s a weird thing to feel yourself expanding, filling out the hollow bits, growing into a mold that has been patiently waiting for you to settle into it. It’s weird but that’s how the last two weeks have felt, the last week especially. I think that’s part of the reason it has taken me so long to actually sit down and write this, because I knew that feeling would come and because I knew that it’s what this first post needs to be about- potential and the realization of it and all the wonderful things that are still to come.
These past few weeks have been filled with new adventures of every kind, including visits to some historic universities. Namely: Oxford and Cambridge. Upon visiting these universities (and through studying at King’s College London) I have found that there are a lot of differences to be found between U.S. and UK universities.
In my first few days here, the ISA staff has taken me all around the vast city of London. No matter where we go, they have no shortage of information to share, especially when it comes to the goings-on of London.
Where are good places to get food to cook in my apartment?
If something more conventional is needed, there are a lot of chain grocery stores in London. One of these, the co-operative, is a great choice for study abroad students. With a large selection of fresh, ready made meals and a post office inside, it’s a quick place to get everything you need.
In just 11 short days I will be starting to journey to study at King’s College in London, England. Of course, the adventure of a lifetime does not come without some preparation (and pre-departure jitters). To help calm the nerves, I’ve been working on two things this week.
Friends are amazing. They’re always there to make some memories, and help ease the memories you wish you could forget. The good ones make you laugh until you cry, and the best ones are the ones you can travel abroad with. Read more