Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Business Badgers Abroad Blog
It’s amazing how quickly my first week in London has gone by. I arrived around 2 pm on Saturday the 14th with a few other students from UW. It was nice to have some other students to take the Tube from Heathrow Airport into the city and figure out where our flat was. Most of the Wisconsin students live in the same flat so we have been working together to figure out the city, buy groceries, set up our cell phones, and find important stores and places around our flat. We are now pretty settled in, which is a relief as classes start on Monday.
On Wednesday this week we went as a group to the busier part of the city to see landmarks like Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben.
Near Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
We had orientation for City University on Thursday and Friday. We were able to learn more about the culture at City, register and enroll for classes, and learn where our classes will be. Most of the Wisconsin students enrolled in two of the same classes: Performing Arts in London as well as Historic London. We hope that these courses will help us learn more about the city in which we are studying as well as see sights and shows for a little bit cheaper than if we were on our own. I’m excited to share some experiences from these two courses.
In front of the gate around Buckingham Palace
The Wisconsin students all seem to feel pretty at home in London so far. It has been very helpful to be able to easily communicate with the local population here. We have definitely required assistance in directions and such so we are all thankful that people speak English. The most difficult thing to adjust to is traffic - crossing the street continues to be a terrifying experience. I am not quite sure which way to look so I try to do a 360-degree look before attempting to cross and then end up sprinting across the road just in case. Also, the pedestrian lights are only timed so that all traffic is stopped, so most people cross when they are able to. Each day gets a little bit better but I think I still look foreign when I’m walking. The streets are not set up in a grid like they are in America, so it is also very easy to get lost and turned around here. I have been carrying a map around with me constantly just in case I stumble upon a street I do not recognize. Another thing that has been different here is figuring out the currency. There are some coins worth £2, so keeping track of one’s change is important. I have a hard time in stores trying to pay with my coins because it takes awhile to figure out which coin is worth what, so I’m hoping that this gets better as time goes on.
In the heart of Piccadilly Circus
So far, everything is going very well. I am having a great time learning more about the city and it’s been great having the other Wisconsin students here so we can learn things together. I look forward to sharing more experiences of London as the semester continues!