Before coming to London, I imagined the city to be traditional and Georgian-Styled. I pictured myself waking up to see these types of buildings surrounding me with Big Ben in the far-off distance. Fortunately, I was mistaken. While my stereotyped idea of London still holds true, I learned that it is only present in certain boroughs of the city. The CAPA Center is located in Kensington, an upscale area with many Victorian-esque buildings, famous museums, and embassies. Walking around this aesthetically pleasing neighborhood perfectly fit my picture of “Studying in London” to a tee. However, London is much more complex than picture-perfect buildings and little red phone booths.
London has thirty-two boroughs, each with a distinct character and community of its own. These neighborhoods have their own charm, story, and historical significance. Among the most interesting and significant to the arts is my home borough, Camden Town. Camden is located in North West London, known for its famous Camden Market and the great musical influence it has had over the city. Camden was the home to many famous musicians and venues, such as Amy Winehouse and The Roundhouse. A younger, alternative group of people live here, as well as many migrants from Pakistan, India, Ireland, and the Caribbean. The town is lively, full of dancing, street food, political movements, and a fun nightlife scene.
I absolutely love living in this unique town! I share an apartment with students from the Pitt, ASU, and The College of New Jersey. Our apartment is very nice, with two bedrooms and a huge living room. Our kitchen is a bit small, but it is definitely something the four of us can manage. While I do love living in Camden, it is a bit further from campus than some of the other student housing options. CAPA is about a forty-five minute trip by the “tube” from my apartment. Each of my classes start at 9:30, which means I have to leave my apartment by 8:30 to get to class on time. Commuting around London usually takes about thirty minutes, so this trip isn’t too bad! Thankfully, traveling on the tube, or the underground, is super convenient and very easy to learn. At Pitt, I usually walk to class and take the bus around the city. In London, the tube is the form of transportation I use the most, with the exception of the buses during late hours when the tube is closed. Traveling to school and work is stress-free, as long as I allocate enough time for myself to get to each location.
To future students: While traveling is easy with the help of CityMapper, it does take time. If you are running late, inform your professor or supervisor at work. They will understand, as long as you give them a respectful heads up.