London is like a mix of New York and Washington D.C. It has a similar energy to New York but looks more like Washington D.C. with its vast white buildings and architecture. There are tourists everywhere! London is a very easy city to navigate. Instead of Septa, they call it the Tube. Through our program with FIE, we were provided oyster cards with unlimited access to zones 1 and 2. The station is a 5 minute walk from where I live.
Our first weekend we explored as much as we could. Camden Market is like Reading Terminal Market. Walking in you smell what feels like a mix of hundreds of different aromas. There are tons of food stalls and little shopping markets where you can find fake knock off designer bags and touristy gifts. Unfortunately, Big Ben is under complete renovations and the only part that is visible of it is the clock itself. We went to Buckingham Palace for our British Politics class. While the Queen herself is in Scotland, we toured her lavish home and saw where she usually greets her guests.
All Drexel students live in South Kensington. This is one of the most expensive places to live in London. We are neighbors with millionaires and celebrities. People have spotted Henry Cavill walking his dog in our neighborhood and Adele lives in the area as well! We are right next to Hyde Park, where Kensington Palace is located. Kate Middleton has been seen walking around the park as well. Hyde Park is a great spot to hang out, relax, and have a picnic at. Be careful though, there are many geese and swans that roam around trying to steal your food.
The walk to my classes takes about 10 minutes. As mentioned earlier, I am taking British Politics. This class is especially interesting now since Boris Johnon just recently became Prime Minister. There is much controversy around this. We visited the House of Parliament and saw the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The House of Lords will decide on laws and the House of Commons will revise and change it if necessary. When both groups are satisfied, the new law must be approved by the Queen. Coming from The United States of America, it is so bizarre to see a country that still has a monarchy. I used to watch the famous Netflix show called “The Crown.” It highlights Queen Elizabeth’s reign and helped me learn about England’s history.
In my British Broadcasting class we learn about the different television networks in England and how the operate. In England, to own a television one must get a license to own one. It’s interesting to see how big of an influence some British shows have on America. The Office originally started as a British show, and was later copied as an American version. Black Mirror was a British show to start off with, but now gets funding mainly from American networks. As this is my first time in London, I am excited to learn more about their culture of broadcasting and compare it to the United States.