Jessica is a junior from Eagan, Minnesota, with a CCPA and political science double major and a minor in Spanish. The SMU Scholar is participating this summer in the SMU-in-London communications program and interning with the Consortium for Street Children.
I have been in London for a little more than a week and I am already in love. I’ve bought into the accent, the history, the progress, the general bustle of city whole heartedly, and my proudest moments have come from locals commenting on how well I seem to have adjusted in such a short time. My goal is to assimilate to the life around me to the point where, if I don’t open my mouth, people won’t know that I belong an ocean away from here.
I’m interning at a non-governmental organisation (NGO) called the Consortium for Street Children while I’m here. Everyday after breakfast I walk the half mile to the Baker Street Station, run my Oyster card and get on the tube south, transferring once, to a little stop called Brixton where the office is located. This daily routine that seemed so overwhelming before I got here has helped me become more than just a student travelling abroad for a month. My commute makes me mingle in the daily life of busy professionals, and makes me go out on my own to places I would certainly not have visited otherwise.
Brixton itself is full of character, and is much different from the immaculate Regents Park that I leave every morning. It’s not dangerous and never once have I felt unsafe, but the people I encounter are not always the type I would feel comfortable chatting up, and I wouldn’t go there by myself after dark as a young, American blonde girl. It’s a rougher side of town that I doubt many tourists would care to go. To me, though, this is really the best part of my internship. For however briefly, I am living the life of someone I might like to be someday. Just an average, broke 20-something-year-old going to a job I believe passionately about, somewhere in London. The people I work with are amazing as well, and I am lucky to have a desk across from a Houston-native with some really incredible stories from his experiences abroad. Plus he gives me tips on all of the best places to try while I’m here. Very helpful for when my friends and I go out after work for a favourite English activity: happy hour. Perhaps more on that later.