Greetings from snowy London! In addition to unusually cold weather, apparently we also brought snow over from America. And now that it’s started here, it doesn’t seem to want to stop. It’s slightly amusing for those of us hailing from states with harsh winters to see how unprepared this city is for the weather, dumping massive amounts of ice melt everywhere and cancelling trains and flights just for a bit of slushy snow. It’s also unreal the number of people you will see in a day having snowball fights with any bit of snow off a car, children and adults alike (let’s face it, mostly adults). It’s pure joy for them.
Despite the weather, the first week of classes went swimmingly. I’m taking all the sort of courses I would at home, so it’s nice to have some familiar territory, but in a new setting. Because I’m not doing any outside courses at another university or an internship, I just have five classes at the IES Center. Mondays are my Shakespeare the Dramatist class, as well as Censored! What the British Could Not See (a film class). Tuesdays are a class called From Aphra Behn to the ‘Blitz’: 300 Years of Women’s Social History. Wednesdays are Literature and Place, and Thursdays are the Modern British Novel. Then Fridays I have free to start my weekend! It’s a great schedule, and I think I’m going to enjoy the film class and the novel class in particular.
I think a lot of students want to know how academics compare when they travel abroad. It’s difficult to tell so far, and I’m in somewhat of an atypical university environment, but it doesn’t seem terribly different. Weekly assignments are quite minimal, but professors definitely demand a lot from midterms, finals, and quite lengthy research papers. I know a main challenge for me this semester will be to maintain a good balance between time spent on schoolwork and time spent getting out to see everything I want to see of London and other parts of Europe.
The IES Center is located in Bloomsbury, a gorgeous area punctuated by little garden squares, with Georgian architecture and university buildings. It also has everything in the way of shops and restaurants, and I love that I can just go pop into the British Museum between classes if I want. (Free museums are one of the greatest things about London.)
It’s really very easy to just get out and explore, especially living in central London, where most things are just a short Tube or bus ride away. A few nights ago, a few friends and I just went spontaneously to find something to do, and ended up walking along Tower Bridge, which is lit up incredibly at night. I love that there is no shortage of things to do and see here, and I just want to see it all.
Stay tuned for my next blog post, in which I will talk about London nightlife, Greenwich, and other adventures!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Ariana is a junior at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, majoring in Creative Writing and minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. On campus, she is busy with bellydance and yoga, and as an executive member of the student health club. She has ridden elephants in Thailand and gone whitewater rafting in New Zealand, but her time studying abroad in London will be her first experience of Europe, which she hopes to make the very most of. Writing is how she makes sense of the world, and she hopes to share this blog with you while she explores jolly old England!</span></p>