Two weeks in London have gone by so quickly! I feel like I am finally getting into a routine, although many of my days are designed spontaneously. Part of my spontaneous planning this week included rushing to Buckingham Palace to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
My friends from CAPA and I woke up early on Thursday to watch the Queen’s birthday parade, also known as the Trooping of Color. The enormous crowd at this parade was unlike anything I have ever been a part of. People traveled from across the UK (and the world) to gather in London to catch a glimpse of the royal family and celebrate the Queen. The chaos was seemingly controlled by the shared pride attendees had for this country and the Queen. It was incredible to witness from beneath my festive bucket hat!
To continue the celebration and take advantage of the time off that came with the Bank Holiday, I toured the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels! One of my favorite parts of living in London is getting to experience the immense history of the city. I was in awe walking through the exhibits within the Tower highlighting the medieval history and lineage of the royal family. This weekend, I also visited the British Museum. A difference that is prominent in London is the way history and art are showcased and made available to the city for free. It is far more uncommon to have to pay for admission to museums here. In the British Museum, there are over 90 exhibits and even after three hours of exploring, I did not come close to seeing it all! I look forward to continuing to immerse myself in the culture of London by visiting more museums in the coming weeks.
To end the weekend, I spent time with my flatmates watching the livestream of the pageant celebration, including a concert honoring the Queen with performers like the band Queen, Diana Ross, and Alicia Keys. My flat is in Islington, which is about a 30-minute tube ride to the city. Here, it is fairly quiet and different from the loud college town of Oakland, PA! I did not know any of my flatmates before arriving in London, and I am lucky that we all get along very well. When I travel into the heart of the city, although London is much larger than Pittsburgh, I feel comfortable and enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life that I am now used to.
Being away from home and living with people I am not familiar with has been challenging to say the least. But I am so grateful for the friends I have made here and my ability to adapt to making London my home for these six weeks. I am enjoying the international business issues class I am taking at CAPA and gradually making connections with my coworkers and getting used to my internship placement. Besides the drastically smaller class size compared to my normal courses at the University of Pittsburgh, the positive learning atmosphere here is the same.
I have a month left in London and look forward to the abundance of places left to explore! I can’t wait to check back in with you all next week!