When I thought about studying abroad, one of the things I was most excited about was the opportunity to attend classes in a completely different environment than what I had been used to. I was eager to find out about the differences I would see between the classes here and in Pittsburgh. During my six weeks studying in London, I am studying at the CAPA global network center which is the organization that is in charge of the study abroad program. The center is about a 40 minute commute in the tube from my apartment. I have to attend two classes at the center twice a week, one for my internship and one accounting class. Although the program organises the experience from the United States, the entire team that manages the center in London is from the UK, therefore most professors are british. The accounting class I am taking here is the International Business Issues and the city of London which is taught by a professor from the University of Pittsburgh. Both classes have been extremely interesting and I have been able to greatly expand my knowledge at the CAPA center.
I was able to visit the University of Manchester during my stay here for a weekend where I was able to experience university life as a student with a family member who lives there. I surprisingly found a lot more similarities between the two universities than I expected. The campus of the University of Manchester was very similar to Pitt as it was more of a city campus rather than a campus that is isolated from the city. The academic buildings and social life in Manchester were also similar to Pitt as well as the housing accommodation for the students. While in London, I was placed in an apartment, or a flat as they call it here, with a roommate. In the UK, most students live in either flats or houses similar to the ones we have in south and north Oakland at Pitt.
When I first got to London, I was a little worried about knowing how to use the tube as it was a new system of transportation that I was not completely familiar with as I had been taking the buses to get around Pittsburgh and had rarely used the metro. It only took us a day to figure out the underground transportation and it is an extremely easy and fast way to get where we want to while avoiding the traffic in London! One challenge I faced with the tube are the delays and the strikes. Delays occur more frequently than I imagined due to technical issues or customer issues. About two weeks ago there was a tube strike which led to most of the rail services for the underground transportation to close. When strikes happen, most people are unable to attend their work or classes as all other methods of transportation get overcrowded.
It also took us a few days to figure out where everything was located in our neighborhood such as the grocery stores and convenient stores but we were able to overcome these challenges quickly by just taking walks around our neighborhood to familiarize ourselves. Overall discovering the differences in this city has been one of the most exciting aspects as I get to learn something new everyday!