First Forays into London

My name is Maya Ackerman, and I’m a dual Economics and Business student with a minor in History. I’m a sophomore at Pitt. I started at Pitt intending to pursue an economics degree but added the business component to diversify my education and allow me greater flexibility in my future career. Additionally, I’m particularly interested in the field of economic history, hence the history minor. 

I’m currently studying abroad in London on the Global Business Institute program through Pitt Business. I chose GBI London because I wanted to take courses that counted towards multiple aspects of my degree progress. I’m taking four classes while here and have been enjoying all of them so far. Taking a lower number of credits while here has allowed me to be more present in my chosen courses and given me time to explore the city. I wanted to study in London above all because I wanted to learn how to navigate a big global city, but I didn’t want to navigate a language barrier. In that way, London, so far, has challenged me just the right amount. Another goal of mine is to become a more culturally competent person in general. 

My host intuition, CAPA, is an American organisation, so I’ve not had to immerse myself into a British university’s scheduling or grading system, but it still is a bit different than Pitt. I take my classes in three-hour blocks, and I only go to the CAPA centre three times a week – at most. Sometimes my classes are out-of-classroom “field studies”, where we might go on a walking tour of a particular neighbourhood, visit a museum, or attend a lecture. Field studies have been amazing and very different from Pitt, where academic extracurricular events might earn extra credit or OCC but don’t replace an in-person class. 


Only going into CAPA three times a week is great because it’s at least a 45-minute commute from where I live in Islington to the CAPA centre in Kensington. Both my apartment and CAPA are very centrally located, but I love where my apartment is because it’s on the edge of a couple of really cool neighbourhoods like Shoreditch as well as Islington. There are a couple of tube stations within walking distance and copious bus stops. I’m living with four other roommates, and though there’s been an adjustment period to the size of the apartment itself, it’s not so bad because I lived in an eight-person suite my Freshman year at Pitt. Living in London has been great, and I can hardly believe I’ve already been here for almost four weeks. Here’s hoping the rest of the semester slows down!