Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Hello again! It has been over a week since I arrived in London. So much has happened in a week and I often find myself doing so much within a single day. After an 8 hour flight to London Gatwick Airport, I was hungry and exhausted but my teacher advised me to not nap so I could get over the jet lag. Right off the bat, I was able to explore St. Pancras International, which used to be a church but is now a hotel, train station, and restaurant. My former roommate and close friend, Ray, was already in London for a week so we met up and caught up with each other.
I was very fortunate to have arrived a day early. I was well-rested and got off of Tampa time. My classmates flying in that Sunday would be exhausted and have to get dressed for a reception that evening from the director of the USF in London program. It was so awesome seeing all my fellow advertising peers again! Class has been super interesting. We learned about what a creative brief is and how to dissect it, as well as a refresher of the marketing mix (4 P’s of Marketing: Product, Price, Place, Promotion). Everyday after class, there was something going on and we received Oyster cards which allowed us to use the subway/train (called “tubes”) and busses.
Monday, June 25th: There was an Apple album cover design workshop with graphic designer Ben Arfur. It was really awesome to visit the GIANT Apple store on Oxford Street and see Arfur’s creative process, as well as design our own album cover using iPads.
Tuesday, June 26th: We had a riverboat cruise on the Thames river where we got to see several of London’s historical buildings. I got to see the London Eye, Tower Bridge, the Shard, and Big Ben which unfortunately is under scaffolding so we didn’t see much of it. However, the cruise was amazing and seeing London as a whole from the river was beautiful.
Wednesday, June 27th: We had our first TOUR! We visited Fuller’s Brewery which plays a very important role in London history. Pub culture and drinking (the legal age in the United Kingdom is 18) is very prevalent and a vital part of the London culture and experience. It was really interesting to see how a brewery operates and how Fuller’s has been so successful for only having one location in Chiswick.
Thursday, June 28th: My group of friends and I explored Piccadilly Circus, which is quite similar to Times Square. There are street performers, a LEGO store, a M&M store, and lots of restaurants and shops.
Friday, June 29th – Sunday, July 1st: We got our London passes earlier in the week and had all weekend to explore different attractions. My group visited the V&A Musuem which is massive and has so much art and artifacts from different time periods and cultures. We also visited Princess Diana’s Memorial Fountain, Hyde Park, and Kensington Palace/Garden. London has beautiful parks and gardens and it was so soothing to walk through. On Saturday, we went to Buckingham Palace and St. Paul’s. I found a really nice red telephone booth and finally got my picture! On Sunday, we visited Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and the Shard. We got to see the beautiful Crown Jewels , walk across the Tower Bridge, and get all the way to the top of the Shard. The view of the whole city was breathtaking and it made me realize just how big London truly was.
All in all, I had to learn how to work the tube stations which were really easy once you understood how it worked. There is a Sainsbury near our dorm which is a grocery store so that’s where I got items to cook, snacks, and some prepared meals for those lazy days. There are pubs on every corner with great food as well as fancy restaurants. I also found a new love for Nando’s, a chain specializing in grilled chicken. Food can start to get expensive and rack up so it’s good to budget or buy items in bulk.
Communication was a little iffy the first few days in London. I thought I was set for London with T-Mobile, but they only provided unlimited 2G data and text which was very slow and insufficient for communicating with peers and family back home, as well as using Google Maps. After reaching out to my uncle back home, I was upgraded to 3G and now I was able to communicate with people.
Now that a week has passed, I have seen a lot of the common attractions. The first week is always hectic because you want to do so much but now I will have more time and emphasis on classwork and sleep. We have several upcoming group projects focusing on researching local brands or doing a brief on a company we will be visiting. It is crazy that a week has gone by and I fell in love with London.
I will update you guys next week so stay tuned for more!