Friday, June 10, 2016

June 4 & 5

After an extremely long flight and many miles of walking through London Heathrow Airport, I have made it to London!

For those of you that want the quick version, here are the highlights:
  1. Restrained myself from yelling at small, loud, kicking children on the plane
  2. Watched a girl have an emotional break down in the line for customs (but it was in another language, so no idea about the outcome)
  3. Found my group after MILES of walking through the airport
  4. Unpacked at the dorm
  5. Met wonderful people that are as excited about nerdy librarian stuff as I am
  6. Ate burgers and went to sleep
  7. Went on a walking tour of Bloomsbury, the literary and academic center of London
  8. Cruised down the Thames on a boat
  9. Got slightly lost, but got some great pictures
For anyone that wants the details, you can read below...

The British Museum
I found my study abroad group and boarded a coach to our dorm. We arrived at Alexander Fleming Hall, met our professor, and were given our keys. The hall is similar to most dorm buildings, with single rooms and shared bathrooms and kitchens. Near the Old Street Station, we are in a very 'up-and-coming' neighborhood with lots of personality. My Library Science class will be staying here with the Political Science and Dance classes during our time in London, while the other British Studies classes stay at another dorm across the city. Once we had unpacked and settled in, we met in the courtyard to travel to the other dorm.

Unfortunately, our coach was very late coming to pick us up, so we stood on the sidewalk for a very long time. The positive side to this situation was that it gave us lots of time to get to know the other students that we would be spending the summer with. I started having conversations with other library science students, and quickly realized that we had a lot in common.

Once we made it to the other dorm, we were introduced to the British Studies staff and given general information about the program. We also had the opportunity to talk with our professor, Dr. Teresa Welsh, about the trips and events we would be going on. We were all very excited to hear that we would get to attend a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Stratford-upon-Avon! Our class then rode a city bus back to our dorm and ordered burgers from a local delivery service. We were all extremely tired and hungry, so after eating we immediately headed to bed.

The River Thames and Tower Bridge
On Sunday morning we all awoke for our first full day in London. We had all signed up for walking tours and visits led by professors, mine would be a tour of the literary and academic area of London known as Bloomsbury. We were led by Tim Carens, who teaches the Victorian Literature class. Our group got to see and hear about the University College London, various parks and squares, as well as the houses of famous authors. Some of the highlights included the house where Charles Dickens wrote Bleak House and Virginia Wolff’s house. At the end of our walk we stopped to explore a small part of the British Museum. Afterwards, we went to lunch.

That evening, the entire British Studies group met for a river cruise on the Thames. We had wonderful views of various London landmarks such as Tower Bridge, Big Ben, and the London Eye. Later, we decided to try to find one of the many library bars in London. However, disoriented from jet-lag, we didn’t take into account the fact that it was a Sunday night and everything was already closed. We wandered around, and eventually made a mad dash for a restroom, before finally finding familiar territory. We took some beautiful photos of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben lit up at night and then headed back to our dorm. Overall, we had had a great time and I was enjoying making friends with the other library students.
Westminster Abbey at Night

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