Learning to Live in London

Hello from London! My name is Katie, I am a senior at Pitt studying Marketing and Finance. I’m originally from Bucks County PA (outside of Philly!) and moved across the state three years ago embarking on a new journey in Pittsburgh. Through Pitt Business, I became a member of Phi Beta Lambda and Sports Business Association where I have grown professionally and personally. I was also fortunate enough to study abroad in China through the Pitt Plus3 program my freshman year. Outside of Pitt Business, I serve as the Assistant Sports Director at WPTS Radio where I host a podcast interviewing athletes and coaches and do color commentary for Pitt sports games. Additionally, I am on the Pitt Women’s Club Basketball team and work as a Product Assistant for ACC Network, contributing to the coverage of Pitt sports. This past summer, I completed an internship with ABC News at Good Morning America. Through this experience I learned about the art of storytelling and how to keep consumers intrigued by the content GMA produced daily. 

I chose to study abroad through the GBI London program that Pitt Business offers. GBI London provided me the opportunity to explore a new city and country academically, professionally, and personally, making it a perfect fit for me. The courses offered through this program struck me as unique and I was intrigued by the opportunities I could have while abroad. Following lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was inspired to see the world from a different perspective and learn how people live in the UK.  In December as I walk away from this experience, I hope to have gained a deeper appreciation and understanding for how life is done in London. By truly immersing myself into this city, my courses, and the people I meet, I will gain an invaluable perspective on a global city. 

Here in London, I am taking courses through CAPA. This is a unique program because my classes are taken with other American students from all over the U.S. I’ve enjoyed getting to know my fellow classmates, where they are from, and what they are hoping to gain from this program. While the students are American, my instructors are locals of London making it a great environment to truly gain an international perspective. This semester, I am completing four courses: Post War British Popular Culture, Ethics in the Media, International Finance, and Advertising and Marketing in Britain. CAPA offers courses that allow for an immersive learning experience, travelling within the city to see various landmarks, neighborhoods, and historical locations discussed in class. This is a unique way of learning that I’ve found to contrast the typical classroom approach.

The culture in London is similar to the United States, however there are some key differences that I’ve noticed. The style of Londoners is the first thing that stood out to me in this city. The citizens of London always seem to be wearing business casual, I’ve rarely seen sweatshirts and sweatpants when exploring the city. I’ve also noticed that locals are very particular about ‘tube’ culture. Standing for older people to take a seat, sitting in certain places on the tube rather than others, and avoiding eye contact are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on the tube so far. I am excited to continue learning about the culture in London and reporting back as the semester progresses!

I am living in Maida Vale, a small residential neighborhood northwest of downtown. This area is home to Little Venice, a district housing cafes and restaurants along the canal, making it a great place to live. Here in Maida Vale, I live with five other girls from all over the U.S.  In my three weeks here so far, I’ve found that Maida Vale is an easy neighborhood to adjust too. Like Oakland, this area is residential with parks and restaurants sprinkled all throughout. Running through the parks and meeting friends for coffee helps to make Maida Vale feel like home. Of course, living with five other girls is not something I’ve done before, but I’ve enjoyed getting to know my roommates and where they are from. Everyone has a different story and reason for being here and that’s what makes this experience so enriching!