Hello! My name is Siya Patel and I am a rising junior at the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration. I am majoring in accounting as well as getting a certificate in international business and data analytics. At Pitt I am the treasurer for my sorority, Chi Omega, and I just finished my position as the organization’s marketing director. I arrived in London on Tuesday and have been amazed with the many things I have already learned from this city.
The very first thing I noticed right after my Uber dropped me off at my apartment after a scary but exciting ride from the airport, were London’s extremely confusing crosswalks. They are sometimes going diagonally from one sidewalk to another and most of the time you must cross half of the street and wait at another crosswalk before fully crossing to the other side. The crosswalks also tend to be more spaced out than they are in the United States and there is a much shorter period of time to cross.
Another thing I have noticed is how people dress. Although I came prepared and was told many times from my professors and friends that throwing on a sweatshirt and sweatpants was not what everyday wear looked like here, I was still surprised to see how professionally dressed everyone was at 7:30 in the morning as I took the tube down to High Street Kensington for my internship. I took the underground transportation, also known as the tube, a few hours after arriving in London and it was quite an interesting experience. I had no idea what the different platforms meant and what eastside and westside was. If I am being honest, eastside and westside still confuse me but using Google Maps to navigate through London has made everything much easier! I was confused at first why most people traveled by taking public transportation here but it quickly made sense when a 40 minute car ride turned into a 2 hour ride due to the traffic in London.
Although I was first afraid to explore London by using the tube as I was not familiar with it, I now find it to be extremely convenient, fast, and cost effective method of transportation while staying here London. Living here for a week made me realize that London is a lot more than the Buckingham palace, fish and chips, and the Big Ben. It is a variety of different cultures, foods, and many neighborhoods with different atmospheres. London is filled with many different cuisines and, as a vegetarian, every place I have been to has had numerous vegetarian options.
Although London is similar to any major city in the sense that it is hectic and everyone around you seems like they have a place to be, I found that taking walks around the city has been extremely refreshing and peaceful and I have incorporated it into my daily routine here.
My first impressions of London exceeded my expectations coming into this program, but I know I only scratched the surface of all that London has to offer!