As I'm writing this, I'm watching Notting Hill. One of my favorite movies for numerous reasons. One of them is also for the reason that I've applied to living in Notting Hill for the next year. As part of the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, I'm fairly acquainted to the area and what it has to offer in terms of living as well as tourist attractions. Why you may ask? For those who don't know, when I studied abroad in the fall of 2010, I lived in South Kensington. My flat was situated in between both the South Kensington and Gloucester Road tube stations. Thus, you see my excitement that has been building up to wait for the e-mail confirmation that I will in fact be living in the old borough.
Syracuse University has a great study abroad program in London. They actually have about seven different centers around the world for current students to study abroad as well as numerous partnerships with other global universities. I had always known I wanted to study abroad in London since I was first researching colleges to apply to. As you may have guessed by now through my two prior blog posts that I am a giant political junkie, so London was a perfect fit in 2010 to tune into British politics as well as gain the international perspective on the US.
My Fall 2010 semester flew by. I had been interning in Boston for the summer, so I had done a lot of preparation in Boston with some help from my parents. I was only home for about five days before I hopped across the pond to begin a ten-day seminar course before actually landing in London. The course was titled the Pale and Beyond and took place in Dublin and Belfast. The course examined religious and ethnic struggles, the IRA and the troubles, and the 2008 financial crisis that affected the Island. The professor, Dr. Wolfgang Deckers, would soon become a mentor in my academic career to this day. The course did allow for free time to explore Dublin and Belfast as well as many other features of the island including the Giant's Causeway and many of the historical castles and churches.
In London, I took four courses- all political science and history. I took another course with Wolfgang on the European Union that included a course trip to Brussels and Bruges, Belgium for the weekend. My overall favorite course dealt with the special relationship between the UK and the US since WWII. The other two courses I took were Contemporary British Politics & the Modern World and Islam & the West.
While I certainly played a tourist in London whenever I could, I was away traveling for many weekends. Besides the first month and a weekend here and there, I traveled the rest of the continent as well as the rest of the UK. Over the next few months, I am going to highlight each trip as well as my favorite parts of London, but for now, this summary will have to do. My fall semester in London really opened my eyes and helped change me into the person that I am today. Each new adventure allowed me to learn and explore.
For now, I leave you with my study abroad blog that I kept. Pursue that...I'll be back to keep re-telling my stories of my fall semester!http://studyingabroadlondon.blogspot.com/