After long hours in an airport, a plane, and a bus, my first moments out and about in the city of London were wonderful.
On our bus ride from Heathrow to our hotel on London’s east end, I got a good orientation of what everything was like, but I was itching to just get out and see the city from its sidewalks. Finally, after resting up, our whole group set out on a walk that led us around The City, London’s financial district, which led us to sights such as the Tower Bridge, a glimpse at the Tower of London (which we’ll visit soon), and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The City truly feels like a city. We were warned early on that traffic does not stop for pedestrians or have sympathy for jaywalkers, and saw that as we were out walking. One after the other, red double-decker buses were speeding down the narrow streets. Even still, people heading home from work talked on cell phones and crossed streets with little regard for traffic. It was a little odd to see so much hustle and bustle amidst the elegant buildings that surrounded the streets.
Although I enjoyed the walking, our group of jet-lagged and hungry college students then headed to The Minories, a pub where I had my first taste of English pie.
Last year, I went on an incredible trip to Belgium through the University of Illinois College of Media James Scholar program. It was my first trip out of the country and a completely life-changing experience. Going on that trip made me realize how much I want to travel.
So when the opportunity arose to go on the same James Scholar trip again this year, only to London, I was beyond excited. I’ll be spending one week in the city with fellow College of Media students, visiting the BBC, seeing many of the tourist spots, and taking it all in as an aspiring journalist in the era of digital media.
My college experience has opened my world to so many new things, including my love for science journalism, my excitement about new and social media, and the pursuit of learning new things and meeting new people through my reporting. But being able to study abroad has been an added bonus on top of everything, and something I would’ve never imagined I would be able to do. London will be the largest city I’ve visited yet, so coming from a small town of 1,300 people makes this trip, once again, beyond exciting.
Until my flight leaves on Sunday, I’ll be reading up on London and thinking about the possibility of fulfilling the number one item on my London to-do list: getting that iconic Abbey Road crossing picture that every Beatles fan dreams of. Wish me luck.