And So It Begins

October 7, 2013

in Academic Year 2013-2014, England, Europe, Stephanie Knab

These past three weeks have flown by! It seems like only yesterday that I was getting off the plane at Heathrow and scrambling all over the airport to find my ride to the dorms. Running on three hours of sleep, the trip there was a blur. I just remember staring out the window in awe of all the historical looking buildings, British flags on every block, and millions of people walking the streets. The following week consisted of  shopping for groceries and necessities, getting lost around London, and getting to know everybody in my flat and dorm building. The area that Alexander Fleming Hall is known for their night life for students and I can now attest that this is definitely correct. There are so many cute, little pubs that are all very close to the dorms.

Just in the few short weeks that I’ve been here, I have made so many great friends already. We went to do all of the touristy things that you need to get out of the way so you can finally say you actually live in London. The London Eye is by no means overrated. The view from at night is breathtaking and it made me realize that London is a lot bigger than I thought. We also went to see Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, and Piccadilly Circus. Out of all these places, I would have to say that Regent’s Park and Hyde Park have been two of my favorite places. The gardens are absolutely gorgeous with ponds, fountains, bridges and beautifully crafted gates.

A few friends and I also took a day trip out to Bath, Stonehenge, and Windsor. Bath was a beautiful little town with winding hills and is home to the Roman Baths. Taking Latin for four years in high school, seeing these baths was life changing. Knowing the history behind them made the trip so much more meaningful. The same goes for Stonehenge. Before I went, I heard people say that it’s not worth going to, it’s only rocks in the middle of the field. However, I have found that it’s some how mesmerizing, even though they are just rocks. At Windsor, we got a tour of Windsor Castle, which was an experience in itself. Everything inside is so lavish and beautifully articulated; it’s strange to think that royalty still lives there.

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Besides for this day trip, I have spent my time getting to know London. I spend the majority of my time walking around the city, or better said, getting lost around the city. There are no two places alike in London; so getting lost is never a bad thing. I can also say that by week three, I can get to and from class on the tube without getting lost! Upon arriving I glanced at the tube map thinking there’s no way I’ll be able to get around, I’m going to have to walk everywhere. Once getting here, getting an Oyster card, and actually riding the tube, I found that it is actually a lot simpler than I would have thought.

In all, the first weeks here have been hectic, overwhelming, but some of the best weeks of my life at the same time. It’s hard to fit into a blog post how much I’ve done and how much I’ve learned since being here. It’s truly something that needs to be experienced!

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