First Week of Classes

Hello from 4,321 miles away,

It’s me again.  We’re finished with our first week of classes!  This week was very educational and also a lot of fun.  We explored a lot more of London and will probably continue to do that leading into the upcoming weekends.  Londoners are obsessed with weather; so, adapting to the culture that’s the first thing I am going to talk about in this blog post.

The weather is getting colder in London.  I am very hot blooded and usually do not get cold easily.  Therefore, I LOVE this weather.  However, all of the other Florida students are suffering in the consistent 30 and 40 degree weather.  Meanwhile, I sometimes go outside in a light sweater with open-toed shoes on.  The weather is glorious!

School here is very different from school at UF.  My largest class has 12 people in it.  Participation is a main component of most of our classes which is very different from straight up lecture classes.  I am taking three classes at the moment.  They are Management, British Life and Media, and British Life and Business.  All of my professors are really cool and have a lot of experience in their respective fields.  In my two ‘British’ classes we take a lot of field trips around London to see how things differ between the US and the UK in real life.  We have already been on one field trip for media.  On Thursday, we took the tube and visited BBC’s studio.  The tour was very fun to participate in and we learned a lot about British media simultaneously.  I would describe the British method of teaching as more hands on.  The courses also move very fast because I’m only in most of them for 6 or 7 weeks.  Therefore, I already have a mid-semester exam next week!

Other than 15 hours of school, I did many other fun activities in London this week!  On Monday, I walked around Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park before my night class started.

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Photograph of Kensington Gardens

One of my friends, Steele (who is studying abroad in Milan this semester), arrived to visit London on Monday also.  After my class ended at 9 PM, I showed him around all of the main London touristy attractions.  We were at Buckingham Palace at 11:00 PM and there was nobody around (because London nightlife dies at this time). I have included a really cool photo of the palace at this time though.  I love the way it looks in the dark.

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On Tuesday, I went to class in the morning and then I attended a concert in Brixton that night.  Panic! At the Disco was the band I saw live.  They are one of my favorite bands ever and this was my first time seeing them in concert and it was amazing.  The crowd, lightshow, and atmosphere was incredible.

By Wednesday, Steele had already photographed the majority of London.  We went out at night in Camden and tried to participate in a traditional London pub crawl; however, by the time we arrived the crawl had already left.  So, we decided to explore the area and do our own.  The two of us went to some cool places and bid farewell at the end of the night.  Hopefully, I’ll get to visit him sometime in Milan this semester!

My classes for the week had ended after our BBC tour on Thursday.  I came home and took a bus to go shopping on Kensington High Street afterwards.  I purchased some groceries, lotion, and a rug from some stores on the street.  At this point in time, I think I am completely settled in London.  I know how to get around, and I have everything I need to live comfortably for the next four months.

Friday is the easiest day for my roommates and I to explore London and Westminster because none of us have classes.  Our friend Andrea, who is also from UF, decided to tag along with us.  Our destination: The Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.  We did not actually go into the Tower of London; however, we did climb to the top of the Tower Bridge and saw an amazing view of the Thames.  There are two parts at the top of the bridge with a glass floor and we were able to see the cars below us and the Thames.  Good thing I’m not afraid of heights, right?

 

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Tower Bridge at a Distance

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Tower Bridge Up Close

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Looking Down From the Tower Bridge

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View of the Thames
This weekend was fairly relaxed.  On Saturday night, some of us went out to celebrate Andrea’s 20th birthday.  When we were coming back at 3 in the morning it SNOWED.  Some of us had never seen snow before (I have but Florida girl me still appreciates its rare form).  This was London’s first snowfall for the year and it felt magical that we experienced it coming back from such a happy night.  Sunday was also very relaxing.  At night, we went to Kings Cross station to see the Lumiere London festival of lights and to pay our tributes to Alan Rickman at the memorial that had formed at the Harry Potter Platform 9  ¾.


Kings Cross Memorial

It was sad but touching to know that he had such a large impact on many fans.  I believe that he was a wonderful actor, and I do not think there could have ever been a better portrayal of J.K. Rowling’s Snape.

Two weeks down. Time is flying and I’m trying to make every second count.

Farewell,

Jennifer Saporito

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