Before and Arrival Time in London

Hey everyone!
So much has happened since before departing for London and arriving to London.
Let me start from before I left. I had run around to gather a few last minute things and then arrived to the Portland Airport, thus was my second time on the plane so it was a little nerve wrecking. Saying goodbye to my family was the hardest part, but after passing along to security it wasn’t so bad. When we landed in Canada to catch the second flight the flight became delayed! It was really hectic because when we went back to the gate to enter the plane there had been a huge line so it turned out the plane wasn’t as delayed as they said it would be. Being on the plane scared me so much, seeing the tiny buildings and nearby clouds surround us made me feel as if I was in an intense roller coaster, luckily nothing too dramatic happened. Being on the plane for 10 hours was the worst, it was difficult to get any sleep and the fact that as soon as we arrived to London we would be having to do tours, and meet everyone.

Upon arrival to London we had been sent to our rooms, got settled in and then went on a walking tour of the small shops and nearby restaurants from our campus. It was AMAZING! I suddenly didn’t feel homesick at all, and exploring around the area has been such an amazing opportunity. The next day we went to a city tour bus, where we got a guided tour from the bus from a Londoner. Once the tour was over we had the opportunity to explore on our own and that is exactly what we did! We spent all day in the city of London visited the London Bridge, the London Eye, Big Ben, and the London Tower. Went to two markets, got lost but managed to make our way back to campus. Today we visited St. Paul church and went to a chain restaurant called Nando’s, the food there is incredible! Classes start tomorrow so I will be preparing for that, so until next time!DSCN0106 The London EyeDSCN0093 Trafalgar SquareDSCN0124Tower of London

Off to London Tomorrow!

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!

Week 3: Off to England and Wales!

Hello everybody! I can’t believe that it is already the end of week 3 over here in Scotland. As the title of this post probably points out, I traveled to England and Wales this weekend! Thursday we went to Edinburgh where we went to the Elephant House (cafe where J.K Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter), The National Museum of Scotland, and Edinburgh Castle. Most of the castle was closed off for a private event, which sucked until we realized that the Queen would be arriving when we were there. So, we hung around and I actually saw the Queen of England! It was pretty exciting.

At the Elephant House (I had a huge nerd moment)

At the Elephant House (I had a huge nerd moment)

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The Queen of England!

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The view from Edinburgh Castle

From Edinburgh, a group of us took a train to London, where we would be spending the weekend. It was my first time on a train, so I was pretty excited, but eventually my exhaustion took over and I slept most of the way until we arrived at Kings Cross Station. After going to the wrong hotel and realizing that our reservations were for the wrong weekend, we eventually found a hotel with vacancies and got some much needed sleep. The next day (which also happened to be the fourth of July) we did a lot, we didn’t waste any time. We went to Buckingham Palace and saw the changing of the guard, went and saw Titus Andronicus at the Globe Theatre, rode the London Eye (my personal favorite-the views were amazing), saw Parliament and Big Ben, saw Westminster Abbey, Downing Street, and Trafalgar Square. It was a jammed packed day of sightseeing. It was surreal to see all of these landmarks that we all know in person, it finally hit me that we were actually in London when I saw Big Ben all lit up as we were walking around that evening.

 

Kings Cross Station

Kings Cross Station

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Big Ben

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Me on the London Eye on the Fourth of July!

Me on the TARDIS set at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff.

Me on the TARDIS set at the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff.

The next day, we took a day trip to Cardiff (which is in Wales) to go to the Doctor Who Experience, which was pretty exciting for me, being a huge Doctor Who fan. They had a huge exhibition of costumes, props, and even some sets to look at. It was really surreal to see all of the things I have watched on TV. They also had models of all of the monsters that are in the show, which was also really cool. Sunday we took a train back to Scotland and we were all exhausted by that point. I took the rest of the evening to relax, Skype with my family, and unpack all of my stuff. While this trip had its ups and downs, it was a lot of fun. I realized what a great thing it is that my Dad taught me how to read a map, because if not, we probably would have been hopelessly lost. I also learned that the London underground isn’t as complicated as it looks. Overall, I made some great memories and can’t wait to do it again.

Until next time,

Natalie

Pre-Departure/Intro

After finals week time has really flown by for me! Only 6 days until its goodbye USA! I have been extremely busy and haven’t had time for an intro post, so I’ll just put that in with my pre-departure now!

First of all my name is Courtney Fennimore and I’m studying Elementary Education at WOU. I want to teach fourth or fifth grade. I just recently turned 21 so that’s pretty exciting!  I’m currently working two jobs; I’m floor associate at Kohl’s and a part time nanny.  The picture below are of my Dad, younger brother and I, the other is me and some of my best friends on Halloween!

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Why do I want to go to London? Well, I have been dreaming of going since I was little. I think it all started because I wanted to be a princess and I was convinced that one day I’d meet Prince William and we’d get married. (A dream I grew out of as I got older!)  I’ve also always been a musical person and the British music scene is probably the best in the world. My favorite bands and artists are: Ed Sheeran, The 1975, Arctic Monkeys, The Beatles, One Direction (seriously they’re adorable), and Mumford and Sons. Of course they all happen to come from across the pond!  Also I feel like I should mention I watch a lot of Doctor Who, so that really feeds into my love of all things English.

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(I met Ed 2 years ago and it’s probably the greatest moment in my life so far. Go listen to him if you haven’t, seriously).

 I have always had the desire for adventure and to explore new places so when this opportunity came up there is no way in the world I was going to let it pass me by!

 For some reason I keep thinking there won’t be much of a cultural difference. Yes they have accents and call stuuf different names, but I think at the core British and American people are pretty similar. Of course once I’m over there I’ll be able to see if i’m right. I am a little weary about using The Tube I’ve only traveled in the Western US so I have never used any kind of subway system! Just looking at that map is a little overwhelming.  I’m hoping it’ll be as easy as they say, or that someone will be around to help me out!

tube map

Right now I’m not nervous at all, I’m actually really calm. I’ve been so busy with work, family, and my classes assignment I don’t think I have really had time to let the fact that I’m going really sink in. I’m sure once I get on the plane it will finally hit me!

Introduction & One Week Until Departure Posts

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.

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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.

14 Days and Counting ’till Departure

London Underground

I leave for London in less than 14 days and I could not be more excited! However, like most tourists, I’m nervous. I’ve never really been in a large city on my own before.  Sure, I’m a frequent visitor to the Portland area, but with my folks and I’ve been to New York City twice, but the first time I almost lost my eye to an umbrella wielding New Yorker and the second time I was almost hit by a taxi. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I’m a little weary of the large crowds that I’ll encounter in London.  I’m also worried about finding my way around and the large possibility that I’ll get lost.  Luckily, my parents have equipped me with enough maps and travel books for a small tour group, so hopefully misdirection won’t be a major problem.  Besides, if it does happen, I’ll just roll with it.  Personally, I really don’t know what to expect in London, but I know that I will encounter several different cultures living together in one space and centuries of history, both of which I am eagerly anticipating.  Overall, I believe this will be a great experience for me; on a personal and a cultural level.

This is really happening!!

Well, I’ve finally come down from all the stress that was spring term and I figured it was about time that I did my introductory post. Anyway, I’m Kallan and I picked merry old London, England as my destination for studying abroad. I chose London for two reasons.1) I’ve wanted to visit the UK since I was five and 2) I’m avoiding a bad professor. I leave in less than a couple weeks and I can’t wait!!

“Mind The Gap”

I have been in London for a little over a week now. My first day was not ideal, as I went to the wrong orientation. I found myself waiting in a Starbucks in the heart of London using their wifi trying to communicate with someone from my program. I was scared and felt hopeless. Finally, someone from my program came to find me. From there on out, everything has been great!

I feel like I have seen so much but I also feel like there is so much to do and see. The culture here is very similar to any big city back in the states. There are obviously differences, the main one being the means of transportation here in London. I have almost been hit by cars and bikes multiple times because I can’t seem to remember that the vehicles are coming from the opposite direction than they do at home. The steering wheel being on the right side of the car makes everything more confusing. I catch myself looking into cars and being confused because it looks as if no one is driving!

I have become much more comfortable with riding the tube (London’s underground transportation system) and have ridden it alone multiple times now. Everyone is very quiet on the tube and I feel like an outsider eating my breakfast on my way to class… no one eats on the go here, very different than in the states! All of the different underground lines are color coded so it makes it easy to navigate. I have memorized my route to class and have becoming great at “minding the gap”

I have had quite a bit of fish and chips since I have been here and have started exploring different food options. My flat is equipped with a kitchen so I have been eating at home at times to save money. Also, getting “take-out”  or “to-go” means nothing to the locals… it is called “take-away” here and they will look at you blankly unless you use their terms.

I have met people from California to New York and everywhere in between who are studying here as well! Everyone has gotten along so far which has been great. My flat mates are really nice and most of us have similar interests.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” -Ernest Hemingway

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Tower Bridge!

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The London EyeIMG_2265

At the gates of Buckingham PalaceIMG_2191

Bridget

Arrival

After missing a connecting flight in Calgary, Canada, I was left to wait in the airport in Calgary for six hours. After a few tears, some phone calls, a free burger, and a drink I was more determined than ever to get to London. Although it took much longer than expected, I finally made it to Heathrow Airport in London at 10:00 pm (I was supposed to arrive at 10:00 am) on Saturday, June 14.

After clearing customs and showing my University of Westminster acceptance letter, I got my bag and was left to find a taxi. The “black cabs” here in London are very pricy so an airport worker gave me a number to call to get a discount taxi service to come get me. As I wandered around trying to find the place where I was instructed to wait, I was getting nervous. I just wanted to get to my flat.

It seemed like everyone at the airport knew exactly what they were doing and where to do. To say that I felt lost would be an understatement! Finally I saw a man coming towards me with a sign that said “Bridget Rayburn”. I don’t think I have ever been more excited to see anyone in my life! After a long taxi ride into the city, I arrived at my flat and was greeted by security and my flatmates. After traveling for more than 24 hours and successfully making it to my flat all by my self, I felt like I could conquer the world!!

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Here is a picture of the sun rising as I was on my way to London.

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Waiting with my things (for what seemed like forever)!

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Free food courtesy of Air Canada for messing up my travel plans!

“Everything you desire is always just outside your comfort zone” – Chris Murray

Bridget

Pre-Departure

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Here is a recent picture of me in Eugene, Oregon a few weeks prior to my travels.

I leave for London in five short days. I can not believe that a trip that I have been planning for months is nearly here! I am getting more and more anxious as the time of my departure gets closer. I am thrilled to have this opportunity and feel so blessed to be able to go on such an amazing adventure.

Having never been to London, I am not quite sure what to expect. I am thankful that English will be spoken but I am also aware of the strong accents that I will be coming across. I know that there will be cultural differences between London and my hometown (Portland, Oregon) and I am excited to discover them along the way. I am excited to meet people from all over the world, as I have heard London is a culturally diverse city. I’m hoping to drink lots of tea while I am abroad and try some new food as well. I can’t wait to see different historical sites and learn more about the English culture.

“The world is a book and those who don’t travel only read one page.” -St. Augustine

-Bridget