Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Arriving: London, UK

September 5-12-2012

Hey Guys, I’m Andrew, a junior year student at Drexel University studying Design and Merchandising. I’m studying in London, UK for the semester. I had been to London once in High school on a school exchange where I lived with a family for two weeks up in New Castle, but it’s a whole different experience living in the heart of London.

As I got off the plane at Heathrow Terminals, one of the many airports in, and around London, it finally started to sink in, of where I was and how crazy it was to me. I just finished a hectic summer term and without even going home for a break, I flew straight to London.  So as I and some other Drexel students got our bearings straight, and all got our luggage from the baggage claim, we headed to the London Underground, more commonly called the tube.

We had about eleven stops to get to the closest stop near our house for the term.  Our house is right between South Kensington, and Gloucester Road station, but we got off at the South Kensington station. 

Unfortunately it took our group of six students almost and hour and a half to find our way through around a few blocks! We had to sign in with our program to get our room keys, then finally be able to drop off our luggage and take long needed showers after our flight. This is where we live, a converted apartment building to house students in the FIE program, students form all over the United States like Santa Clara, Florida, and Marist University.

The study abroad program I’m completing in here in London is through FIE, which stands for the ‘Foundation of International Education’. FIE has educational ties with schools like Imperial College on London, which is an internationally regarded school.
While I’m here, I’m taking four core classes; British Culture and Visual Media, Transnational Studies: Global Diasporas, History of Modern Design, and International Marketing.  It’s very mentally refreshing to learn about new concepts and topics in contrast to a heavy design oriented curriculum. These courses teach new skills of critical thinking, and new processes of problem solving. These aspects of learning are due to an entirely different teaching style and of course a new environment.
In the house I live on the third floor with eleven roommates, seven guys, and four girls. I live in a three-person room, a share a bunk with my roommate Cody, and my other roommate Chris has a bed on the other side of the room. The room isn’t too cramped, and we all have our own closet, drawer, and nightstand. The best part is our view down the whole street filled with luxurious cars and other lavish apartments flooded with sunlight. While it does tend to rain sporadically, for the most part the weather in London is very comfortable for the fall and almost winter months.

            The apartment contains four two-person rooms, one triple, three bathrooms with showers, and a kitchen combined with a common area. The common area has a flat screen television on the wall that can be adjusted, as well as a wrap around couch with a coffee table.  Across from the table is an island with four bar stools. There are three full refrigerators with freezers, and full appliances, as well as windows overlooking neighboring gardens below. Drexel definitely looks out for their students abroad because the flat, or apartment, is awesome.

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