Hello Friends and Family and hopefully not Foes!
I have been in London over a week now and wanted to start a blog to share the fascinating things I’m learning and keep a small diary of my experience to share with friends and family back home as well as my future self.
Here is a quick summary of what I’m doing here:
A month or so into summer I decided I was tired of waiting to hear about jobs I may or may not get for the year, and wanted to push on with my education instead. I was itching to travel and experience a new place, so when I found out UK grad schools accept applications all summer, I hopped to it! I studied abroad for one semester during undergrad at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England and spent about three weeks touring London- a few months really wasn’t long enough. So now I am back in London to attend postgraduate school at Birkbeck, University of London for one year on the MSc programme Gender, Sexuality, and Society. By next October, I’ll have a Master’s!
Thus far I am thoroughly enjoying living in the big city of London. I’m staying in the Bloomsbury area of London, Borough of Camden. I’ve never lived in a city before, and that is one of the reasons I came here. London, I think, was one of the best choices for a city test run.
London is a great city because…
- 1/3 of it is parks! And it has farms! Have you ever heard of such a thing in a city of millions of people (8 million- as many as New York City)? You have, and it’s London.
- Public transportation is uhhmazing. Once the handy dandy, easy to navigate, wide-stretching, underground (and non-intrusive) subway closes, you’ve got night buses that never leave you waiting too long (even if they’re rarely on schedule). A number of companies, including Barclays, have put docking stations of bikes-for-hire around the city so you can rent a bike for a quick cycle down the road or an all day tour. Not to mention, central London, where I’m staying, is quite walkable. Everything I need, including school, markets, and pubs, is within walking distance.
- Going off of public transportation, London is the hub of travel in the UK. London has five airports. RyanAir, the super cheap airline for travel all over Europe, flies out of three of them. The speedy Eurostar train makes Paris a two hour train ride from London. Then there’s always the option of coach travel.
- Oh yeah- Pubs! They’re everywhere and everyone goes to them all the time. And, the beer here is mainly British-made beer. Yay local.
- The history. Ohmygodddd. I’m going to write another post about this soon. Coming from a country that only became a nation a couple hundred years ago, and had few cities before then, I don’t hear so often that iconic historical figures or events happened ’round the corner. London is a completely different story. Around every corner either an important, well-known, and/or revolutionary figure once lived, studied, or worked, or some other interesting event in history took place. I swear. There’s a strong history of people here, as opposed to just “events.” I’m not sure if it’s just my area or all of London, but around here there are round blue and green plaques on the buildings noting “So and so lived here from x to x;” “X group was founded here in x year;” and so on. You don’t need a tour guide to learn the history of the city.
- Plenty of free museums! As someone who grew up not far off from DC, I could only very begrudgingly live in an area bereft of free museums.
- Diversity. (bzzzzzzword). But actually, there are people from all over here, as any big city. I hear so many languages everyday! On one late night grocery trip, I swear I was the only shopper in the store who spoke English as their first language. The myriad cultures and people existing within London give way to options for many different types of food 😀
That about covers it. I think I’ve raved enough for one day anyways.