Despite the storm at Newark, my flight took off with an hour delay to London. It was a 7-hour flight, which is only half of the time of the flight I took to get back home in Taiwan. I spent the majority of the time sleeping because I was exhausted from my red-eye bus trip from Pittsburgh to New York City the day before. I didn’t even recall the time plane took off because I already fell asleep after being in the seat for 10 minutes.
After going through immigration in Heathrow airport, I took the tube to get to Camden town, which is the neighborhood where my apartment is located in. I am living with three Pitt business students in the flat. Although we’ve never met before, we get along with each other well. I am looking forward to seeing them on campus when we get back to Pittsburgh in fall as well. For me, Camden Town is a neighborhood with a unique character of its own: it is filled with punk rock and street arts; it is also the home of the famous Camden Market – which attracts over 100,000 tourists to visit every year. Therefore, the neighborhood can be bustling sometimes (especially during the weekend), but it is fairly close to my internship site and CAPA Center – where I take my classes in.
Camden Town, where our housing is located in.
During orientation week, I had the opportunity to go visit a couple sites in London: including the National Gallery, Beckingham Palace, Hyde’s Park and Westminster. We were given oyster cards with an unlimited pass to areas in zone 1 and zone 2 in the city, which allows us to utilize the public transportation system in London to get to wherever we want to go. The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also happened to be on the first weekend during the program. Therefore, I had the opportunity to go to St. James Market with my roommate to celebrate this historical moment with other British people. I am hoping that throughout the program I would be able to learn more about Finance in Charity with my Global Internship Program, as well as the accounting issues discussed through the Accounting class I am taking this semester. At the same time, I hope that I would be able to take a trip to Scotland for 2 or 3 days if it fits with my class and internship schedule in the future.
Taken in Tower Bridge of London.
For me, the greatest challenge so far is reaching the balance between work, academics and having fun. I spend the majority of the week at my internship site, however, I also need to make sure that I spend time studying for the material to stay on track with the class. At the same time, keeping track of budget became extremely important as the cost of living in London is significantly higher than other countries I’ve been to. If you aren’t careful with your spending, it is likely that you will run out of money before the program ends. I am planning to travel to Portugal and northwestern part of Spain after the program ends, therefore it is crucial for me to eliminate any unnecessary expenses to save up for the upcoming trip. The first week of the program has been incredible so far, and I will definitely miss London when the program ends.