Arrived in London

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Hello from London!

I have arrived in London just a short week ago to begin this incredible study abroad journey for three and a half months. This is my first time out of the country, my first time in London, and already I feel myself picking up some of the Londoner habits and hacks and acclimating to my new surroundings. I am living in the royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea, very close to the CAPA center where I take classes. This borough is what typical Londoners would call “posh,” a typically very expensive place to live and in a central location. On the first day we were given a tour of our neighborhood by CAPA staff which I continued to explore with fellow students from my university the following few days.

Staying at my residence, and taking classes at CAPA there is a group of about twenty students from my home university of Samford, which I am thankful for to have a little piece of home with me. We all take classes at the CAPA center with students from all over the United States and most of us are completing incredible internships all throughout London (details on my internship to follow on a different post).

The first couple days in London I spent a lot of time with my fellow students exploring the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, wandering aimlessly and purposely getting lost in the best way possible. The neighborhoods are incredible, with architectural styles changing at every turn. These were definitely “posh” neighborhoods, with sports cars parked all along the streets. This borough is home to famous characters like Princess Diana, Freddie Mercury, Beatrice Potter, and T.S. Eliot. Kensington and Chelsea is also home to the museum district, where the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum reside; not to mention Kensington Palace and Gardens.

Neighborhood in Kensington and Chelsea.
Different style of neighborhood in Kensington and Chelsea.

One of the great things about our program is they have also organized lots of optional events to acclimate us to London and British culture. During academic orientation, CAPA hosted a high tea with an etiquette and history lesson on tea time in the UK: unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, I still cannot stand the taste tea—however the scones were delicious. CAPA also organized a panoramic tour of the city of London and Westminster, which was an incredible opportunity to fulfill my tourist urges for the day and check sights off my bucket list like the Houses of Parliament, the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, St. Pauls Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and many more. I will definitely be buying tickets to go back and visit museums and other sights more in depth

Skyline with St. Pauls Cathedral.

I have also spent some time exploring on my own, getting used to the tube, and wandering through central London by myself—one of my new favorite activities. One day, I walked around the whole day by myself, wandering through Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Chinatown and throughout central London. Exploring, discovering antique markets and unique neighborhoods I wouldn’t have found if I was always on a mission, staring at my maps on my phone to get to the next place.

Covent Garden Market.

I can already feel myself growing to love this city; I can almost feel the history, the antiquated. It is incredible to look around and see an incredible old architectural building, and below it is a Starbucks, or a grocery market. I love that the cobblestone streets are built upon centuries of history, and that I can study my degree constantly, through exploring this rich multicultural city.
Until next time! Maybe I will share about my incredible internship or my quest to myth bust preconceptions of British culture.

Maria