SMU-in-London 2008

This summer 48 SMU students are traveling to London to study communication courses, including international media, free speech, creative advertising, British cinema and the global civil society. Some students also are interning with international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Pants to Poverty, and Save the Children, to name a few.

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Working to rid the world of bad pants

Rachael%20in%20London.jpgRachael is a senior CCPA major from St. Petersburg, Florida, who is working for Pants to Poverty:

The last few days have been fabulously touristy – visiting Tate Modern, riding on double-decker buses and attempting to absorb all of the historical culture of London. The vibrancy of the theater district has earned a place as one of my favorite areas of town. Harrods’ Summer Sale lives up to all the Al-Fayed hype and then some. I can’t remember the last time I saw so many exquisite and internationally fabulous fashions.

As every day passes, I fall more and more in love with this city. The underground remains a bit of a learning curve, but so far I have learned not to talk or make eye contact.

The parks and gardens represent stereotypical classic European elegance and make long walks to and fro a peaceful and welcomed sanctuary from the congestion underground. I catch myself standing in awe of the environment I’ve been thrust into, from worshiping in St. Paul’s Cathedral to hearing Big Ben ring throughout Westminster. From my flat I can hear the summer concerts in Hyde Park.
Please, someone pinch me!

Skype, an online communication tool for free computer-to-computer calls and texts, makes the thousands of miles between family and friends seem no different than a normal day in Dallas. Each time I Skype home, Mama asks, “How’s the weather? Oh babe is it raining, yet?”

Well I am here to report that since my arrival 9 days ago, I have not had to break out my “Wellies” – rain boots – nor “brollie” – umbrella. I’m no fool though – I know the gray ugly days wait in the wings. One element of the UK I underestimated was the “Americanization” of the English language. You always know when a vocabulary roadblock has been hit, eyes go blank and glaze over. I’ve been on both ends of those looks in recent days.

My primary focuses as the Pants to Poverty summer intern revolve around event planning, logistics and communicating to the organization’s volunteers, who are called “Panters.” I am also a Pants’ guest blogger and working to broaden the message of “ridding the world of bad pants.” However, to rid the “world,” Pants must go international, and part of my role will be to present a modern mainstream American perspective to this very cheeky concept – pun intended.

There’s so much to learn culturally, historically and about “Panting,” and I can’t wait to dive in. My Summer 2008 to-do list is a mile long. We’ll see how many items I complete by the end of my stay.

Cheers and stay tuned as the adventure continues …

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