So here’s the thing. I am a HUGE night owl. I find myself to be the most productive in the evening/night time. so being able to find places for me to study while living in the city was a bit of a struggle. since I studied with a private program and not a university I had to find other study options when the CAPA Centre was closed. Capa was super helpful about helping me find places to study but in reality, I wanted to find a place to that makes life easier and I am able to be productive. Here are a few of the study spaces that worked for me.
1. Paul Cafe
Paul Cafe was one of my go-to spots for sure. Not only did they have the best Parisian style baked goods but it was a great atmosphere to get work down. It is the Norm for the people in England to spend hours in a cafe getting work down so don’t feel weird if you need to knock out that 10-page paper that you’ve been procrastinating on. Not to mention they have Paul cafe’s all over London and most of them don’t close until 10 or 11!
2. Shepherds Bush Library
This was one of the only library’s that I really enjoyed. It was so relaxing and it is a very family oriented/ community library so there are plenty of people using the library but it’s still super quiet and peaceful. However, I would suggest coming to the library earlier rather than later. Seats tend to go quickly here.
3. BFI Reuben Library
Okay, so this library is so cool! When I found out that it was open to the public I jumped at the opportunity. For one, they have really awesome study desks which give you some individualized space and make it easier to focus. Not to mention you’re around a bunch of cool film students and it gives you some opportunity to make some new friends. This does close a little earlier than the rest of the options, however.
So I have a confession, I have a secret love for Shakespeare. I knew that if I was going to study abroad in London, I would be taking a Shakespeare course. I have studied his work in the past but thought it would be incredible to be able to go to the globe theatre, go to Stratford upon Avon and really expand my knowledge to what I thought I knew about Shakespeare.
Part of the requirements for my course was to be open to different outlooks on the messages that Shakespeare want to portray in his work. My professor for this course was very passionate about his love for Shakespeare and he wanted us to embark on our own journey to challenge who Shakespeare was as a person and how we thought he used his words to portray that.
What I really enjoyed about this course is that we were able to see multiple plays and use the visual learning to help us better understand our work. Not to mention it was super exciting to see a play at the actual globe theatre.
Here are some of the shows I was able to see at the globe:
- King Lear
- Much Ado About Nothing
I was also able to see Antony & Cleopatra at the Barbican on my own which was amazing!
Midway through the program, I also went to Stratford-upon-Avon aka. Shakespeare’s birthplace, which was a great experience. the town is so lively and riddled with the life of Shakespeare. We also got to were he and his wife, Anne Hathaway, were buried.
Overall, I had a great time embracing and learning about Shakespeare’s life and his art. What I enjoyed most was being able to share my opinion and being able to put my own spin on it. Here are a couple of the projects I worked on while in my Shakespeare course:
Analysis of Richard III:
Analyzing Shakespeare’s aspect of love:
So a big part of why I decided to study abroad in London is my love for fashion. London happens to be one of the biggest fashion capitals in the world and especially known for its streetwear. I wanted to get a chance to explore different street styles and also learn more about plus size fashion in a different cultural dynamic.
For those who aren’t familiar with London Street style, Here are some examples:
PHOTO: Fashionista/Chiara Marina Grioni
I definitely felt that fashion was so treated so differently here. People used fashion as an outlet for their emotions and expressions. You would find about 95% of people living in the city were very fashionable. their appearance was something that wasn’t taken lightly.
With all the trendy clothes I was seeing, I was so excited to shop in this beautiful, fashion-forward city. Oxford Street was like the Rodeo Drive London. High-end companies like Burberry, Oscar de la Renta, etc. to popular affordable brands like Zara, Primark, Top Shop, and many more.
With all of these great stores, I was surprised to find that there weren’t a lot of options for plus size people. I was so accustom to being able to find clothes that I enjoyed wearing effortlessly.
So while I was in London, I decided to embark on a personal project on researching both high end and affordable options for trendy plus size men and women.
Recently, my program took us to visit Stonehenge and Bath, England. It’s amazing learning about the history of the country. Our First Stop Was to Stonehenge where I was able to see one of the oldest prehistoric monuments in the world!
My Friends and I had a lot of fun and did a lot of laughing
Next stop on our trip was Bath, England. Now If you’ve never been to Bath before I highly recommend going. The town is so beautiful and riddled with history. Its 18th-century style architecture is wonderful. The town itself is filled with, amazing restaurants, shops, and culture.
It’s also home to the Bath Abbey, a breathtaking Medival style church.
And of course, I cannot forget the Roman Baths. This had to be my favorite part of the trip. I consider myself to be a huge history buff and love learning new things and learning about people’s stories.
Overall I would say it was an amazing day ad very successful trip!
Leaving home for the first time can be a challenge. what is even more difficult is leaving your family behind over 3,000 away! Deciding to study abroad was huge decision for me, but it has always been something I had envisioned myself doing. I am the only person in my family within 3 generations to have left the country, so I guess you could say I am the only adventurer within my household. But truth be told I didn’t really know what to expect.
The Day Left for London it was a bitter sweet moment for me. Although I was super to be embarking on this journey, I was sad to say goodbye to my family and friends. Not to mention I had never been on a plane for more than 3 hours and I didn’t know what I was going to do during a 8 hour plane ride. Luckily, it was a very smooth ride and I was sleeping for most of the time.
During these first couple of weeks, my focus was getting settled and learning more about the city. The flat I live in is beautiful, and it did not take me long to get acquainted with the neighborhood. I was pleasantly surprised to discover all the history the city has to offer!
I predicted that the for the first few weeks I would be home sick and it would be difficult for me to make new friends. However, I can honestly say that I am having the time of my life. As for making new friends, the program offers so many social events that it is very easy to make friends. Not to mention you become very close with your flatmates!
All in all, I would say that study abroad has been a huge commitment but I think it was definitely worth it. the friends and memories I have made in my short time here are something I never want to forgot. I am excited to share my experiences and memories with you all while I continue on this amazing journey.
I just wanted to say welcome and thank you for reading! Some quick facts about me; I’m a senior at UML studying Business Administration with a concentration in Management. I am studying abroad in London for the Fall semester 2017. I have known I wanted to study abroad since I was in middle school. Now that I am able to do it is something that is surreal for me. I remember doing a lot of research, planning , and preparing for this process. I also remember having a lot of questions and wanting to know more about the experience. So I hope by sharing my experiences and memories I am able to help someone and convince them to study abroad !
Follow this Fall 2017’s Office of Study Abroad & International Experiences Global Correspondent, Emoni Baffour, on her studies in London, England!
Emoni is a UMass Lowell Business Management major studying this fall on a UMass Lowell partner-led study abroad program, CAPA Global Cities, London.
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