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48 communication students from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts are studying international media, advertising, British cinema and nonprofit communications.

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Jessica: It’s been a busy two weeks

Everyone seems to be slowing down a little with the reality that this is our last week in London. Between class, work, traveling and trying to see as much of London in between, the time has absolutely flown by and left most of us exhausted, but absolutely fulfilled. Next Tuesday we will leave for Greece to start our work and the second half of our internships, and say goodbye to the relationships and adventures we???ve had in London. It???s sort of sad, but how can I be at all disappointed with the adventures that I have coming up? I???ve already started making plans to come back next summer, maybe again with the SMU program, but more likely for a more extended stay. I love this city and I really have not gotten enough of it to last me a life time???yet.

But enough about what???s going to happen, a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks. The entire SMU in London class went to Edinburgh, Scotland for a couple of days, where we toured the castle and the city, taking in a whole other side of the UK. My friend Whitney and I made sure to experience a real Scottish pub, plaid curtains, carpet and all. It was fun to tour around and get a feel for another way of life, but it did feel good to get back to the hustle and bustle of London after a couple of days.

That Saturday a few of us went out to the London Live Earth Concert taking place at Wembly Stadium. I wish we has been there for the music as well, but our goal that day was to do some work for our friend Jil???s internship, One Climate, which is the largest internet NGO advocating for environmental awareness. We walked around and interviewed people going to the concert about why they were there, if they thought the concert was a good way to promote environmental issues and what they might be doing to help the environment. The interviews were posted along with others from around the world on the One Climate website at http://oneclimate.net/liveearthday. So check it out! And while you???re on the site make sure to register with One Climate. It doesn???t cost anything and get in the know on the hot issue of climate change!

After Saturday???s adventures a couple of us decided to hop back on the train and head to Stonehenge for the day. What an incredible place! Definitely worth the hour or so train ride to get there and something that I will never forget.

On Monday I didn???t have work and my old 1970???s Olympus OM- 1 was finally back in working order, so I took advantage of the first sunny London day I have ever seen and explored more of London. My favorite thing to do in this city is just get lost. I get off at some random Tube stop and just walk around, trying not to stand out too much and pulling out my camera when I find a good shot of some part of the city. Then I just wander until I find another tube station and head home. It???s so easy, and never once have I found myself in a part of town where I thought: it is really not ok for me to be here. Every day in London is a new experience.

This past weekend my friends and I flew to Ibiza, Espa??a, (or EYEbeetha, as the Brits say), for some much needed sunshine and a little relaxation. All three of us speak at least some Spanish and study the language at SMU, so it was cool to be able to experience Spain and use our speaking skills a little bit. The clubs were expensive, but as one of the ladies from the beach said, ???the tourists, they come to Ibiza for the Discos.??? The experience was definitely worth the money.

At the Consortium for Street Children I have started drafting Human Resources policies for the organisation???s board to approve this week. The writing itself intrigues me and it feels incredible to be handed the responsibility of such important documents! The people in my office continue to be an absolute joy, and going to work everyday is really not the chore it is made out to be. Working with CSC has really opened my eyes to the world of civil society and the extreme deficits the U.S. faces with this sector. In the UK and most of Europe getting a job with any non-profit is an incredibly competitive process, and typically requires extensive education for even entry level jobs. That???s why we are so fortunate to even have these internships: getting visas for Americans who want to work in UK non-profits is nearly impossible. Compare that to America where new college grads can walk into a pretty comfortable position in reasonable size NGO and non-profits, and you understand where the inequities lie. Hopefully we can take what we have learned and maybe some of the passion of the incredible people we have worked with back to the states, which will be here all too soon.

- Jessica

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    One Response to Jessica: It’s been a busy two weeks

    1. Dan says:

      Hi Jessica

      Picked up on your blog through the OneClimate link.

      Interesting to read about your experiences in London – I’m UK based. You’re quite right about the difficulty in getting a job in a non-profit organisation is incredibly difficult in Britain. Partly because there are not that many of them, and particular because there is a strong sense of social responsibility which attracts a lot of graduates to the few positions available. Many resort to volunteering for the relevant organisation as a way of getting involved in the hope that it leads to a permanent position.

      Oh, and apologies for the weather!

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