Some of the other Pitt students and I traveled to London last weekend. Because we have to work on Friday and Monday, we were really only left with one full day to explore. We definitely made the most of what time we had there. We hit a lot of the tourist attractions like Big Ben, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace. We took a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, and mostly just stayed on the whole time in order to get a sense of the city and be able to see the most sights. My favorite part of the trip, however, was unexpected. We decided to go to a show in downtown London. We bought tickets to Kinky Boots that were really cheap and the seats weren’t even too bad. I loved the musical, it was both funny and heartwarming. I think attending the musical was a great way to experience a little bit of the culture and arts of London, especially because this particular musical was based on a man from the England himself.
Preparing to travel to London was a lot different than preparing for my travels to Ireland. To start, I only brought one large tote bag, rather than a huge fifty pound piece of luggage. I also wasn’t too worried about packing non-essential items, I tried to keep things as light as possible. I didn’t really do a lot of research on the people of London or its history since I would be acting as more of a tourist than I am in Ireland. Before coming to Ireland I researched about the country and its people in order to prepare myself for immersion into the culture. I didn’t really have any deep-rooted desire to go to London, we more so just decided on it because it was cheap and a pretty easy and short plane ride away. I put more thought into deciding where to spend the entire summer. My family’s heritage is Irish. I feel like in America, and in my family, we don’t have important cultural traditions or a strong sense of cultural identity. I wanted to visit the country where my family is from to learn more about the culture that we often forget about.
Before coming to Ireland, I feel like I knew a good bit about the way business worked here and how my internship would look. I learned that most companies and organizations here are a lot smaller than in the U.S. I learned that people are more social and talk about things that may be consider taboo work subjects in America. I learned that people are relaxed on deadlines and work hours and people will often take off work early for tea or drinks. Essentially, through my research I discovered that the Irish workplace seems like more than a place of business, it is a place that fosters connection and social interaction.
I loved traveling to London for a couple of short days, but I remain happy with my decision to study in Ireland. The city isn’t too big and people here are so friendly. I returned to Ireland after the weekend excited to wind down and get back to my routine that I am beginning to develop. Upon return, however, I realized my credit card was missing; I left it at the airport in London. The last thing I bought was a bag of m&m’s. So, I sit here, writing this blog, credit cardless, reminiscing about that bag of m&m’s and my fun vacation in London, still feeling confident and pleased with my study abroad experience so far (although it’d be nice to have some extra funds).