London is My Classroom

After having been here nearly a month, I’m starting to get deeper into my coursework and thought I might share about the exciting courses I’m taking while abroad! In case you didn’t know, I am a Classics major, with minors in English and Communication, and while I am here in London I am taking class that fit in with my major and minors. I love the liberal arts focus of the Florida State Program, and am excited to share about my classes and their amazing excursions. Some programs will say that your city is your classroom when you study abroad with them, and Florida State surely lives up to that promise. Whether my class is meeting at the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, or in the classroom, I learn so much about London and my class subjects every day.

My Monday class is a Classics class called The Roman Family. Our professor is quite accomplished in the classics field, having worked at many archeological sites, and the British Museum. She’s an amazing lady, and often teaches us in the British Museum. I’ve learned lots from her lectures there and enjoy seeing the Greek and Roman rooms through her eyes.

Tuesday I have Introduction to Shakespeare, which fits in with my English major. While Shakespeare may not be my favorite author, I’ve still had fun reading Romeo and Juliet in class and seeing plays with this class. So far we’ve seen Henry IV at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and The Changeling at the Wanamaker theater inside the Globe. Both plays were amazing, and it was so invigorating to see the words we read in class come to life in their own country. We also visited the National Portrait Gallery to look at the paintings of the Tudors to better understand what people looked like in Shakespearean time. This is probably my most challenging class; however, it feels rewarding to learn so much about the rich history of England through Shakespeare.

Each Wednesday, I have to write and memorize a speech to give in front of my fifteen person Public Speaking class, that qualifies for my Communication minor. It’s a little nerve wracking to give speeches in front of my peers, but my professor is one of the most interesting people I have ever met, and I am certain my public speaking will be much better after this course. We haven’t been on any excursions yet, but I am already mentally preparing to be heckled while giving a speech at Hyde Park corner, and speaking to random people on the subway.

Our week ends on Thursday, after my favorite class, British Life and Culture. My professor for this class is incredibly intelligent and also works as a correspondent for BBC (he even covered Will and Kate’s wedding!). Each week we discuss the similarities and differences between the US and Britain. We look at facts, statistics, and personal narratives to try to better explain each culture and the stereotypes related to it. Last week, we had a field trip to Abbey Road, where we were able to recreate The Beatles crosswalk album cover, thanks to the help of our brave professor who helped block traffic to get us a good shot. We also learned about the significance of the studio where they recorded, and discussed the impact of The Beatles on British culture. I look forward to learning more about the relationship between the US and Britain in this class!

I love that each week, I walk away with so much new knowledge about London and how to make the most of my experience here. From Shakespeare to the Beatles, I’ll never forget this opportunity to learn about this country and literally walk in the footsteps of some of it’s most famous citizens. While I do miss the great UF classrooms, I think I have found the greatest classroom of all: London.