National pride was in full effect this week in London and its surrounding areas. The recognition of the Queen’s Jubilee, which acknowledges her astounding 70 years of service, commenced on Thursday as Bank Holidays drove people out of the office and into the jam-packed streets of celebration. At every corner, British nationals and tourists alike commemorated this historic accomplishment through the acts of sipping ales and waving Union Jacks. What better way to experience a foreign culture than to take part in a once in a life time event?
As previously mentioned, the working week adjourned early due to this four day memorialization of the Commander in Chief. If I learned anything from this weekend it’s that Londoners sure do love their Queen! I suppose you could equate this weekend to our own Independence Day in terms of nationalism, though the Jubilee is much more rare in occurrence, as it is only celebrated every 10 years of a monarch’s rule. That being said, it certainly resembled the 4th of July to me.
My roommates and I took advantage of these extra 48 extra hours of free time, deciding to explore not only more London Boroughs, but the seaside town of Brighton as well. The length of my stay is dwindling at an alarmingly fast rate. And so long as I have a weekend free of obligations, my goal is to get out and explore this foreign nation while I have the opportunity to do so. After taking advantage of the local night life on Thursday and Friday nights, I traveled to the Royal Borough of Greenwich (pronounced Gren-itch, don’t ask me why) on Saturday, and took the train out to beautiful Brighton to culminate the weekend of travel.
The first thing that strikes me as I venture out of Islington, where my accommodations are located, is how unique each section of London looks. You could walk five blocks in any direction and witness a totally different aesthetic from where you are currently standing. In the U.S., it seems as though each major city seems to carry out a single(ish) style through its central area, but it’s fascinating to see the influence of dozens of different architects and eras as you stroll through the city streets. Overall, the UK is a very beautiful, intriguing place to explore.
On top of a hefty load of cultural absorption through travel, I am also becoming increasingly familiar with cultural norms in the workplace. I definitely had a slight sense that I was out of place during my first week of the internship simply because there was a learning curve to overcome. However, time and experience have once again come in extremely useful here, and I am feeling continually comfortable at my new job. Not complacent, but comfortable. I still feel as though there is a lot to learn and many steps towards improvement, but I no longer experience substantial nervousness on the way to work.
This week, for me, has been the most useful so far in terms of gaining my bearings. It’s not easy to plop into a foreign country for six weeks, nor is it easy to have your first job outside of the comforts of your home nation, but I feel as though these aspects are what make my time here so valuable. By being pushed out of my comfort zone I am learning aspects of adulthood, which I will certainly need sooner than I ever anticipated.