After months of preparation and anticipation, over 3 ½ weeks in January we welcomed nearly 300 students, on 25 different programmes heading to locations all over London, England & Wales for their Arcadia orientation.
I feel like I'm ready for the semester!" - Arcadia in London student
Our orientation provides a comprehensive welcome and a stepping stone to life as a student in England & Wales. Our Spring intake spent a few days acclimatizing to life in the UK before heading off to destinations in and around London and throughout England & Wales such as beautiful Bangor, medieval York, historic Oxford and Manchester.
As well as practical matters like airport pick-up, essential guides to budgeting, staying safe and well, the orientation focussed on becoming part of the British student community, providing a balance between structured activities designed to introduce British student life and free time for independent or guided exploration.
Amidst essential sessions on staying safe & well, Britishness, budgeting & more, highlights included our visit to the Tower of London to see Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) and of course, the Crown Jewels and the West End to see acclaimed Billy Elliot, the story of a young ballet dancer set against the backdrop of the 1980s miners strike, tying into our Life Of The Mind Theme this year of Protest.
On arrival, Arcadia staff with their distinctive red t-shirts were on hand at the airport, waiting for new arrivals to get off the plane and provide an initial welcome to London and their Arcadia orientation. A fleet of private buses and cars ferried Spring students from the airport to their accommodation where Arcadia staff were waiting to welcome and provide an induction to the local area.
After checking into accommodation, we started the orientation off with a brief introductory talk on London and a welcome dinner with staff to end our first day in London. Freedom of the city was provided with travel cards providing unlimited transport on tube and the iconic London buses.
On day two, orientation proper commenced with sessions on staying safe and well in London. We are fortunate that London is a safe city, by global comparison, however, always a useful reminder that we are no longer tourists, but ‘Brits’ and as such we should keep our usual ‘street smarts’. As part of this transition to independence we typically end the day with a self-guided exploration of London via tube, bus and foot, following a route recommended by staff taking in iconic sites such as St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
With orientation done, we headed off to our respective campuses to commence life as a British student, and become part of the British academic community.
To round off our orientation period, 200 of us visited the Tower of London for 1000 years of history and guided tours from the resident Yeoman Warders (‘Beefeaters). With that done life as a British student could commence in earnest.