Becoming A Local

It’s official, I’m in London! I’ve been here for about a week and a half now and my goodness, I’m in love. For the duration of my six weeks here, I’ll be living in Camden Town, which is a lively town full of good music, good food and really cute shops. Camden Town is most well known for the Camden Market, which is right down the street from me. Talk about a prime location! My flat is surprisingly really nice, aside from the fact that we don’t have air conditioning. It sits on the second floor with a huge wall to ceiling window overlooking Sainsbury’s (the grocery store) right across the street. Not the best view, but I’ll take what I can get. I’m living with three flatmates, but for some reason, they decided to split our two rooms into three people in one and one person in the other, which makes no sense to me, but it’s working out pretty well so far. Two of my flatmates are from Arizona State University, which I did not expect, but it’s been really interesting hearing how different their experiences have been in comparison to mine at Pitt and in Lancaster.

My initial first impression of the city was New York, but cleaner. However, the longer that I live here, the more that I notice it is nothing like New York. London is HUGE! I knew it was big, but not nearly this big. Going from neighborhood to neighborhood, it’s incredible to see how drastically different all of them are as well as the sheer number of neighborhoods there are to visit. There is so much to do here, I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to fit it all into just six weeks. Stay tuned to see how that goes. Other observations that I had were that the city is surprisingly really easy to navigate. Since CAPA provided us with Oyster cards for the tube, we’re pretty much able to get to any of the touristy sites that we would want, plus so much more. Also, the tube system is so efficient, it’s crazy! The trains are actually on time and it’s so well labeled. I actually got lost somewhere in London on the tube, but I was able to find my way back to Camden without a map! Given my complete and udder lack of navigational skills, I was really impressed.

As for the things I’ve done so far, there’s a lot. The first four or five days, we didn’t really have much going on because neither classes nor internships had started yet, so we could explore as much as we wanted to. So far, I’ve been to Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Greenwich, Shoreditch, Leicester Square, Covent Gardens, Bathe and Stonehenge among a few other places. I’ve seen so much in just a few days, but there’s so much more to see and I cannot wait to see it!

Unfortunately, I’m not only here to explore the city. I am taking a class and participating in an internship while I’m here. For my class, I’m taking Survey of International Accounting Issues, where I’m learning about various accounting issues centered around international companies and the hardships they face working in more than one country. On a more interesting note, though, I am interning at a company called Elephant Family. They are a non-profit that vouches for the preservation of Asian elephants, which are now on the red endangered species list. (Side note: I got really lucky because my commute is only 20 minutes, while my roommates commute nearly an hour to get to work.) While there, I’ll be helping out in their finance department doing banking and reconciling accounts amongst many other things. The cool part about the internship is that in mid-June, Prince Charles is hosting the Animal Ball for the Elephant Family, to raise money and awareness for the cause, AND I get to help run it. I had to bring a ballgown and everything! At the moment, I don’t know too much about it, but I’ll keep you all posted.

That’s all I have for now! As the locals say, Cheers!

Jackie