Well, I am finishing up my first official week here in the UK, and I cannot stress how much I already love it here. The people, the atmosphere, the food, and everything about London is incredibly diverse and interesting. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Heathrow Airport, I knew that these six weeks would be unlike any other experience I’ve ever had before.
When I first arrived at my flat, I was pleasantly surprised. The pictures given to us in our pre-arrival packets had made our home away from home seem small and isolated. However, upon my arrival, I noticed that my flat was clean, nicely decorated, and not too small for me and my roommate! The area that I’m situated in is known as Shepherd’s Bush, a neighborhood in west London located in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It is so vibrant and lively during both the day and night, and I love being close to all my new friends, who are all residing in the same building. My flat is also located within walking distance to so many incredible restaurants like the Sindercombe Social, where my friends and I watched the semi-finals of the World Cup, and pubs, such as The Defector’s Weld. Shepherd’s Bush is also home to Westfield Shopping Centre, which is one of London’s largest malls, and it is walking distance to my flat.
Living in a flat with a roommate is not too much different than living in the dorms at Pitt. I knew my roommate, Athena, before coming on the program, so it was easy to find someone to go out with and explore the area. The only challenge I’ve had thus far is the lack of air conditioning. Normally, this isn’t a problem in the UK, but July has been an unseasonably hot month, so I was definitely thankful that we live so close to the mall to go and buy fans for those especially hot days!
My first week of classes and interning has definitely filled up my time greatly. While I spent the first few days in London taking in the sights and attractions, I am now back to managing my time between classes and my internship. For my classes, I’m currently enrolled in a class known as Shakespeare and London to fulfill my literature general education requirement. Although I’m an accounting major and don’t necessarily take classes focused on reading plays and poems, I’ve really grown to appreciate the Shakespeare plays that I never paid attention to in high school. It’s so interesting to learn about Shakespeare in the town he lived in, and I believe this newfound appreciation for the playwright will make all my papers and assignments worth it.
Additionally, I started my internship this past Monday. For the next five or so weeks, I will be interning as a Data Analyst intern at Kingston Smith, which is a top 20 accounting firm based in London. I work in the city office, so my commute is only about forty minutes each way from my flat by the Tube, which is London’s main transportation system. I find it much more accessible than the Pittsburgh buses, and aside from the lack of air conditioning on the Tube, I think I’m definitely going to miss it once I return back to campus in the fall. Considering I’ve only had one data analytics class, my internship, which focuses on projects done in a computer program known as Python, is definitely going to be a challenge for me, but my supervisor and peers are all very supportive, so I never feel too intimidated to ask a question.
In addition to getting acclimated to my new surroundings, I have also been adapting to a new social environment. I’ve met so many new people here and made a whole new group of friends that I already feel close to. In the matter of just one weekend, we’ve walked through the South Bank, eaten a lot of cool street food, and, of course, taken lots of cute photos! Even though we are now going to classes and interning, we still manage to spend time together, and we are all planning a trip to Dublin at the end of July!
It’s definitely been a crazy week so far, but I already feel like a London local. I’m so excited for everything that is to come in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more of my adventures in and around London!