The title says it all. I arrived home from London over four months ago, and yet I’m still set in the ways of the UK. About 90% of the time, I look right-left-right when crossing the road, and can only do it the American way if I remind myself to do it. This is just one of the many things that has stuck with me since I’ve left London. The other things that have stuck with me are the memories of the food, experiences, and friendships of my time abroad. I’ll never forget what it was like to travel to a foreign country and experience life as a Londoner. Living in London gave me more confidence and allowed me to explore the person that I am, and since coming back, I have become a much more independent person, and I’m grateful for my opportunities of travel and study.
I haven’t been able to keep up with my blogging over this trip due to technical issues with my internet connectivity and ability to download photos, plus I’ve been having a fantastic time in London and the rest of the UK. I’ll post the rest of my weekly adventures when I return to the US and have fully functional internet access so that you all can see what I’ve been up to on my adventure!
This trip to the UK has been one of the most life changing experiences of my life. Over the course of this trip, I was implanted in a foreign metropolis and expected to be able to navigate the streets of London without looking like a helpless tourist. While I was not able to meet expectations the first few days (with my nine hour trek back to campus), I ended up mastering the art of navigating London without looking like a helpless foreigner. In my time here, I have been able to go to several London landmarks, from the Globe theatre to the British Museum and the British Library (my favorite place in the world, which you’ll hear about in my week 4 post), and have also had many opportunities to travel throughout the country and see the countryside and more picturesque areas of Britain. I’ve been to Scotland, Wales, York, and Stratford-upon-Avon during my stay in London, and have enjoyed nearly every place I’ve traveled. While I’m excited to get back home and start real life again, I’m going to miss my time as a fly on the wall in London. I plan on coming back here someday, and I hope I’m able to do so. While I’ve been to a great many places here, there are still things that I wanted to do but wasn’t able to (The London Eye, Canterbury, Bath, Dover). While it saddens me that I was not able to get to these places, it gives me more motivation to come back, as there is still plenty of stuff available at my disposal. London is a city of endless opportunity, and it’s impossible to see everything you want to see in any allotted amount of time. Here’s to hoping I’ll be coming back to London in the near future, and here’s to hoping you all enjoy my further posts going into more detail about my experiences here!
So the internet has been really spotty up here at King’s College, so I haven’t been able to update everyone on my arrival and my first couple days, but the internet finally started working again so here we go!
Coming over to London went very well, though it took quite a long time. I started my adventure with a six hour drive to the airport in Portland, followed by two plane rides culminating in 12 hours of flight and passing through Immigration in both Canada and the UK.
After we landed in London and got through Immigration, which took nearly half an hour, we were on our way to King’s College. At the college we checked into our rooms and went on walking tours around the area before dinner, where everyone got to meet each other officially for the first time. After dinner, I went back to my room and slept until midnight, when I woke up and started (and finished) most of my homework for my first few weeks of class.
This past week has been full of incredible experiences! The first day we were in London, we went on a bus tour of the city, and then were allowed to wander through London for as long as we pleased. A few other kids and I got lost for a few hours, but ended up walking and touring the city for nearly 9 hours. It also gave me several opportunities to take some beautiful photos.
We wound up at the British Museum, where we were able to view several wonderful artifacts, including THE Rosetta Stone!
The next day, most of the Shakespeare class went to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to see Shakespeare’s bloodiest, and one of my favorite, plays Titus Andronicus. The Globe was breathtaking, and the play was phenomenal, the best play that I’ve ever seen!
Since Monday, I have mostly been doing school related activities, as I am primarily focused on my schooling here in London. However, I have had several chances to go into London Town and have fun with friends, and by myself! Over the past few days, I’ve been able to see the London Bridge illuminated at night, go to King’s Cross and take my Platform 9 3/4 photo (Go Ravenclaw!!!), see several different museums, and attend Richard III starring THE Martin Freeman. This past week has been phenomenal!!!
Tomorrow’s the big day! I’m about to start my study abroad experience in London! I am very excited, but am chronically worried that there’s something I forgot to pack. I guess that’s just my nerves getting the better of me. Tomorrow’s going to be an incredibly long day for me, consisting of at least 21 hours of travel time. My first flight tomorrow leaves at 3:30 PST, and I have to meet my professor at PDX by 1:30. This would not be a problem, but I live over six hours away from Portland, so I’ll be up bright and early tomorrow trekking to the airport crossing my fingers that I have everything I will need. From Portland, I fly to Vancouver, where I have a two hour layover, then off for a 9+ hour flight to London Heathrow. We are due to arrive at LHR at 11:30am local time, which is 3:30am my time. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some sleep on the plane so that I can enjoy my first day in the UK, but I’ve never been able to sleep for more than an hour on a plane, so I hope there’s a coffee shop near King’s College. I’ll need something to help me get through my first day. Although I have an early wakeup tomorrow and a tedious journey ahead of me, I am very excited to be heading off to London and getting a once in a lifetime experience. Here’s to hoping I’m able to sleep tonight!
I’ve been very busy and sick since finals week ended, and I haven’t gotten around to my introduction post, so this post will serve as double duty for my Introduction and my week until departure post. My name is John Goldsmith, I am an English lit major, and this summer I will be participating in CCSA’s London Summer program at King’s College London and will be taking a literature course on Shakespeare while I am there. I chose to participate in this program for several reasons. While most of my goals for this program are academic related, my primary goal is to branch out and immerse myself in a new location with new faces. At Western, I have been lucky enough to have made incredible friendships through my work as a Peer Mentor (picture on the right) as well as my years on campus (picture on the left). My friends at Western provide me with feelings of safety and security, but I don’t want to become too dependent on the relationships and connections I’ve made at WOU. By participating in this program, I am able to expand my horizons by living in a brand new city with people whom I’ve never met before. I am certain that this program will not only encourage me academically, as I will be studying in one of the premiere cities for English Literature, but I will also be able to make myself a more adaptable person in the real world.
I have one week left until I leave for London, and so far everything seems to be going smoothly. I am a bit nervous about the travel and the overall experience, but I’m more excited than anything. Last night, on our program’s Facebook page, the other students and I had a very lengthy post regarding which characters from the Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings were superior to their most similar counterpart. Having a post like that, where we were all able to express our opinions and be ourselves, made me much more excited about meeting the people I will be studying with over in London. I have also started the readings for my class, but due to being chronically busy and recently falling sick with a nasty cold, I haven’t been able to read as much as I would like. Aside from my readings, I am prepared for my month in London. I have everything I will need for my time over there, and all I have left to do is pack my suitcase. Until then, I will be relaxing and making the most of my time home before I leave.