It’s been a while since my last blog post, but I’ve been putting that time to good use. I’ve been exploring my neighborhood and the rest of the city, getting used to my classes, and just getting acclimated to my surroundings.
First, I’ll say a little bit about Shepherd’s Bush, the neighborhood that I am staying in. Honestly, it is not what I pictured when I thought about London in the past. Apart from some of the architecture, it feels very similar to other cities in America like New York. It’s also not the busiest part of the city, but there is still plenty to do. There are many, many restaurants and pubs with a fairly diverse selection of both. There are restaurants with Caribbean food, tacos, burgers, falafels, pretty much anything you could want. There’s also the massive Westfield mall, which is only a 15 minute walk from our flat. A couple buildings down from our flat is also the Shepherd’s Bush Market, which is a good place to buy fresh food, souvenirs, clothes, and plenty of other items you might need. I haven’t explored much of the area apart from the main road our flat is on, the area around Shepherd’s Green park, and the area around the mall, but I would like to get to know the area better. There might not be any palaces in Shepherd’s push, but I like it.
As far as academics are concerned, I like all of my professors. The biggest differences from classes back home is the length. I’ve never had 3 hour classes before. We haven’t really had to hand in many assignments yet, but the professors do not seem too different from the ones back home (except for their accents). I’m probably the most excited for my Shakespeare in London class. As a part of it, we get to go and see 3 plays (2 of which are at the Globe Theater!). My internship at Alcohol Concern has also been going well. My duties have expanded to include monitoring their social media accounts and posting on their behalf. It was mentioned that I might be learning some graphic design software in the future, which I am very excited about!
I’ve also been busy when it comes to touristy things. We took a bus tour of the city, went to Stonehenge, saw the Roman baths at….Bath, and have made it out to Camden and the South Bank. Of all of these things, Stonehenge was probably my favorite to see. I love learning about history (I considered majoring in it) and seeing Stonehenge as we drove by in our bus was almost a surreal experience. Bath was lovely of course. Walking around the city was almost better than seeing the actual baths. The views of the houses on hills as we were driving in reminded me a bit of Pittsburgh. Just a bit though….
One thing that I have yet to get used to is ordering at pubs and restaurants. Unlike in America where a member of staff comes to your table and takes your order, you have to go up to the bar and tell them yourself. This has lead to several instances of my friends and I sitting around our table talking for quite some time before one of us remembers that we have to actually go and order. So far this has been a fantastic three weeks. There are only two things that I want to do better. First I want to go out more at night (but it’s hard to muster the energy after a day of sight-seeing) and second I would like to meet more British people. Otherwise, I am having a great time!