Please excuse the caps locks I’m a wee bit excited!!! Despite the fact that I am absolutely exhausted and it’s been the longest week of my entire life. The longest, BEST week of my life!! (In case you didn’t get that I’m a bit of an exaggerator. However the “best week of my life” is a pretty darn close description).
All of the stress and questions of the last four months have washed away, and the bliss of being in the city. This post will strive to answer the burning questions you have all been asking me since I decided to come to London.
First, where are you staying?
There are four different locations that the arcadia program is using this summer. They are all in central London. Two of them are near some very trendy shopping and night life locations, the other two are in quiet park-like neighborhoods. The location (which is chosen either randomly or based on your internship location) that I have been placed in is in one of the quieter neighbor hoods, near Hyde Park, which is London’s largest park and is near Kensington Palace!
What are you doing?
I interviewed with a media relations company called Level Seven Media (link: levelsevenmedia.com), which is a media relations company where I will be helping them out with tasks related to advertising, design, and a creation of a mini-magazine that highlights events in the London communities. It’s approximately a 45 min. tube ride from my flat.
What is a pound?
A pound is currently approximately 1.7 dollars…OUCH! To top it off everything is quiet expensive in London, the conversion rate is a killer!
What are your classes?
I am taking one course called Working in the UK and the EU: The Politics, Sociology and Public Policy of Business and the Professions. For this class we do readings, take two quizzes, and write two response papers a week plus the final exam. Definitely do-able. The other 3-ish credits are for the 20 page research paper that must be related to your major and your internship (I haven’t picked a topic yet, but I’m sure there is something fun and social media related that I can do).
Orientation was the first couple days after our arrival, and we have yet to slow down. The first day there were tours and shopping, picking up essentials. The next day we had a meet the staff and expectation orientation, then a scavenger hunt to get to know the tube system! We saw Big Ben, Parliament, Westminister Abbey, The National Museum—where a pigeon almost took my head off–, a cute market, St. Paul’s Cathedral and many more.
I’ve also visited Kensington Palace (We are practically neighbors) and they had a very cute, child friendly tour (11 pounds—OUCH) explaining the history of some of the different royals who had lived at that palace. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are beautiful! It’s so large that I was there for an hour and only saw a small portion.
But I did see and get a picture at the Peter Pan statue (Just like in Winning London!)
and then my lovely roomie, Morgan, and I had dinner at a Café, in the park, on the water, in the sunshine, watching children frolic, as teenagers drove their paddle boats in circles. I can hardly believe this is real life!
Yesterday I went to the England v. Switzerland qualifying football (that’s soccer over here) match (yes not game, match) at Wembly stadium. Now I’ve been to a lot of sporting events, so believe you when I tell you, it’s entirely UNREAL! There are so many people (84,000 in attendance) and the teams are fantastic. It’s an atmosphere like any other. (I very much enjoyed the gentleman behind me who called the players he didn’t like “planks,” which apparently is a version of the word idiot. Love.
It’s not all fun and games. I have been lost, at the airport, on the tubes, on the bus, and on foot more than I have been, well, the opposite of lost. I’ve road the classic double-decker buses from east London to west London. And believe it or not, I don’t even need to talk for the locals to tell I am American. Something about the way we walk and how we look is a dead give-away and not everyone is friendly toward Americans. But I have found my new favorite coffee shop near school. With a very friendly shop keeper who adores American students and repeatedly called me princess, I love him already!
Another culture shock I was not expecting is that cars drive in the wrong direction! I know this sounds harmless, however it also means you have to look in the opposite directions whilst crossing the street. This proves to be an issue. I have almost been road kill multiple times already!
By the way, it’s my birthday today! It’s been so crazy here that we decided to stay in and bake a cake. It’ll be fun to bond with my new friends over some home-made goodness.
One thing I am on the search for: I have yet to hear anyone say “Cheerio,” like in Mary Poppins. I must find out if this is real, or if I’ve been lied to my whole life. I will report my findings never fear.
Well folks, that’s all for now. (I am going shopping tomorrow; I’ll let you know the brilliant places I find.)
Stay Shiny Wisco,
(p.s. Monica in a British accent-way more sexy than American or French!)