Hello wonderful readers!
I have returned! As you know, I have now been in London for a week and what a week it has been! Orientation has kept me pretty busy, but never fear! I’ve made sure to document it! And now sit back, relax, and enjoy my telling of orientation week.
Monday was the day I arrived in London. I had been fortunate to have an uneventful flight and I actually landed a little bit early. I was able to practically fly through customs and grab my checked luggage without any problems. Arcadia actually provided transportation to Thoresby House from the airport so I didn’t have to stress about having to get a taxi or taking the tube. While I was at the airport, I was able to meet some other students doing the same program as me. We talked about where we were from, the places we had been to already, and the countries we wanted to visit during our time in London. It was a good thing we were able to talk so easily, because it’s about an hour from Heathrow to the residence hall where all the Arcadia students are staying.
Once we arrived, we were given a key to the building and given the codes to our rooms. Most rooms here are singles like mine, though there’s a double room on each floor. Each room contains a mini fridge, a bed (with sheets, a pillow, and a duvet), a desk, a chair, a nightstand, and wardrobe, and a sink. I’ll try to remember to take a picture of my room at a later date so any future students can have a better idea of what they’re working with (my room is a bit of a mess right now).
We were given some time to unpack and explore the area before we were gathered in the basement to go over fire evacuation procedures and some general rules before we all went to dinner together at Pizza Express. This was easily my favorite part of the day because I was starving!!! I met a couple more people who I became fast friends with. I also did a little grocery shopping with my new friends on the way home that night so I would have something to eat in the morning before orientation really began. That night, I had one of the best sleeps of my life! I was so tired from all the travel that I practically passed out. It’s important to remember though that you should try to go to bed sometime between 9 and 10 so you can get your sleep cycle on track (though as students, our sleeping habits are messed up anyways).
Tuesday we went to the Arcadia Center to go over some more rules as well as what they called “student hacks”, which are just tips for living in London (for example, don’t always take the tube because the bus is cheaper and you get to see the city). That afternoon, we were set loose to explore and get to know the area. Those of us who are only here for the semester were done for the day while the people who are here for a whole year had to go back to the center a couple of hours later for more orientation. A group of us went to get lunch a Nando’s, a first for me. I’m still not sure why Nando’s is so famous (it’s just chicken, people), but it was something to check off the to-do list.
After that, we did some shopping for items we would need for our dorms and I, being the responsible adult that I am, went and got my flu shot. One of the last places I want to get sick would be in a foreign country and I’m willing to bet that’s a globally shared sentiment. I highly recommend getting your flu shot before coming to study abroad next fall, but if you can’t, then just know it’s super easy to get one here. You just walk into a pharmacy, like Boots or Super Drug, ask for a flu shot, fill out a form, pay £7, and they give you the shot. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. That night, a group of us also went to a pub near Thoresby called The Eagle. It was a great way to unwind after a busy first couple of days.
Wednesday we had City orientation. Our group actually got sent to the wrong meeting though. We were accidentally put in with the students who go to that school instead of the orientation specifically meant for study abroad kids. Thankfully they figured it out, but we still had to do a sort of walk of shame out of that auditorium and into the one with the correct meeting. If anyone asks, I’m just going to say that 30 minutes is the new 15 when it comes to being fashionably late. We were given our class schedules and also a few suggestions about apps to download when figuring out travel plans and learning about events going on in London and after orientation, we were taken on a walking tour around the area. That evening there was a sort of study abroad meet and greet where all the students had a chance to get to know each other over wine and cheese. Thursday we registered for our classes and received out City student IDs. We also had our last orientation session. I wrapped up my day on campus by attending the Freshers Fair, where you can go to see all the different student organizations and sign up for the ones that interest you. Rest assured that you will find something that you’ll like. I swear, my friend stopped at nearly every table! And if you’re not interested in joining any clubs, go anyways because there’s plenty of free stuff and who doesn’t love that?
Anyways, the big event for that day wasn’t registration or the fair. Arcadia gave everyone tickets for the West End show Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, so some friends and I went to get dim sum in Chinatown and went to the theater! It was an amazing production and it certainly earned all the awards it raked in this past year. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to punch a certain character in the face, it had everything! And the songs were fantastic! One of the girls I was with went and bought the soundtrack once we got back to Thoresby, not that I blame her seeing as I almost did the exact same thing. Friday morning we got to go to the tower and for the record, it was very windy so our hair situation is not our fault. Anyways, the tower was interesting as always. We got to see the crown jewels and read about the history of the tower. And of course, I got to see my beloved ravens. Fun fact: I have declared myself the alpha raven. Also, it’s a bit of a goal of mine to walk up to the Raven Master (yes that’s a real job), introduce myself, and inform him that he isn’t the boss of me. I could write a lot about the ravens at the Tower (and one day I might if nothing interesting is going on that week), but I highly encourage people to research them on their own. They have a fascinating history with London. After we were done at the tower, we walked through the city in search of food. It was a calm day so most of us went shopping for school and room supplies. Monday is when classes begin for most of us (I don’t have class till Tuesday) so the real work is about to begin.
Check in next week for another account of my adventures in London! And boy do I have plans!