First Week of London: Complete

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Sydney Hawk. I’m a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in accounting. I’m participating in a six-week study abroad program in London.

Now that’s out of the way let me give you some background on how I got here. When I first met with my advisor the summer before freshman year, I specifically remember saying “I don’t want to study abroad.” She marked my worksheet to show this. A couple of semesters later, she goes “so what about London.” To my surprise I said sure.

When I first said that I was uninterested in studying abroad it was because I had little self-confidence that I could be by myself in an unfamiliar place. However, I realized that wasn’t a good reason. I went to school in Pittsburgh which was also an unfamiliar place, and everything turned out just fine. I realized that London would be a great opportunity to further challenge me and push me outside my comfort zone.

So here we are. I just completed my first week in London. I’m taking two courses. One is the Survey of International Business Issues and the City of London, and the other is Analyzing and Exploring the Global City: London. Both include a lecture and then a site visit. For the business class, we visited BNY Mellon this week and for the other class, we are visiting Greenwich today.

Survey of International Business Issues and the City of London class takes on BNY Mellon (I’m in the first row, the second in from the left)
The amazing view from BNY Mellon

Other than my classes, I’ve been on multiple tours. I had a tour of the areas around my flat in Islington. I’ve seen some main tourist attractions like the London Eye and Big Ben. During my explorations, I’ve also noticed several differences here in London when compared to the U.S. First, the washer machine is also the dryer. This sounds amazing, but the con is that it takes a very long time to dry clothes. Also, crosswalks are very confusing. You can cross half of the street to a place in the middle of the street, then to the other side. When I first got here, I was confused as to why people were just standing in the middle of the street. Those were my two main observations, but there are more to come throughout the rest of these six weeks.

The London Eye
Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben the Bell

I want to end with a low of my week, a high of my week, and what I’m looking forward to. The high of my week was going to Between the Bridges on the Southbank of London. There’s street food, live entertainment, markets, and a variety of drinks. I went with two of my roommates and we had an amazing time going into a bookstore, looking at art prints, listening to live singers, and enjoying a fantastic truffle burger. On the other hand, the low of my week was the time difference. London is five hours ahead of the U.S. This is my low not because of jet lag but because it makes communicating with my family difficult. Hopefully, in these upcoming weeks, I will be able to figure out how to overcome this challenge. Lastly, I’m looking forward to the Victoria and Albert Museum (Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) which I am going to next week for my exploring London class.

Statue of Albert

I can’t wait to update you on my adventures, see you next week!