2012 Spring External Programs Shannon Barter United Kingdom

Getting Re-Acquainted with London

Greetings! After the pile of homework assignments I had due last week, I was really looking forward to spending this week relaxing and exploring. Having been in London for two whole months now, I have definitely started to fall into a daily routine. While routines can be comforting at times, I hit a point these past few days where I almost started to forget that I was in London. Between going to class and doing the work that followed, I found myself spending almost all of my time on campus, or at least right around it. I don’t want to feel like I am wasting or taking for granted any of my time here, so this week I decided to make it a point to go out and explore London the way I did when I first arrived. The city is so big, there are always new places to see and hidden gems to stumble upon, whether it be a park or a lively side street. Our art module was cancelled this week for independent study, so my flat mate and I decided that rather than sleep in we were going to spend the day shopping in the city. Rather than take the tube to Oxford Street (the main shopping district in London) we decided to simply walk without a destination, exploring and stopping to browse along the way. This shopping trip lasted for 8 hours, and I returned completely empty handed, but it was one of the best days I have had since arriving here! We stumbled upon so many unique shops and boutiques as well as side streets decked out in twinkling lights and lined with cafes and pubs. We also went into Liberty, which is a massive department store I have walked past before and always been curious about. From the outside, the building looks nothing like a department store, and almost like something out of Snow White! The window displays are also something to see, even though the stuff in the window is so outrageous I can’t even picture anyone wearing it! Here is a picture of Liberty, the prettiest department store I have ever seen!:


Although I did come away from the day empty handed, It was exactly what I needed. I simply needed that reminder of all of the charm London has not only in terms of its major attractions but simply in the unique nuances of the city. As much as studying abroad is about studying, I think it is important to truly take in all of your surroundings as well. When I am sitting at my desk on my computer I could be anywhere, London or North Philadelphia or Manalapan, New Jersey. Whether it be choosing to read my textbooks in Regent’s Park or bringing my laptop to the British Library, I want to start spending as much time as I can out of my desk chair and in the heart of London! As I near the halfway point of my semester, I have made a promise to myself that I am going to make the most out of all of the time I have left here. I want to return to America feeling like a tourist, because London has become home!

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