Yana in London

Yana, a junior SMU Distinguished Scholar, is majoring in business management in the Cox School, with a minor in economics and Russian in Dedman College. She is spending spring 2010 studying culture, history and modern issues at City University in London.

Postcards from London

DSCF1513.jpg Busy streets, misty rain and cozy pubs greet you in the large city. This is London, and it’s amazing!

DSCF1634-1.jpg There are many museums and wonderful buildings to see in London, such as the Tower of London and Big Ben. Accents fill your ears, and soon you even start to sound like a Brit.

DSCF2161.jpg You can easily travel around the countryside and even take a trip to Wales with IFSA. There are so many outdoor adventures awaiting you. You can choose from abseiling (in photo), rock climbing, canoeing and kayaking adventures, full-day or half-day hikes, mountain biking and, of course, the casual tours of the Welsh towns. We later traveled to a beautiful seaside town in northern Wales. The experience is just so unique.

DSCF1435.jpg The bathroom sinks have two faucets – one for hot and one for cold. It’s terrible that they’re separate – I freeze my hands every time!

DSCF1610.jpg I’ve gotten to eat at a few British pubs, which have dark or medium wood everywhere and sometimes books covering the walls, like a cozy but large study room. I love it. Everyone drinks beer, cider, hot tea or hot chocolate.

Pubs are everywhere, on every corner. When we walked into a pub one morning for breakfast, we stood out, since the other customers all looked like weathered old British men. We had a traditional English breakfast of eggs, chips, sausage and ham.

DSCF1714.jpg Of course, London is also not itself without the famous double-decker buses. They are everywhere, and occasionally you may see one of the original ones.

Oxford Street is wonderful for shopping and is always busy. You can find everything there, but there are also many smaller street markets and large outdoor markets where you can easily spend days shopping without getting tired.

DSCF1878.jpg For one of my courses here we went to tour a reproduction of the Globe Theatre. It was a perfect reproduction, from the beams to the roof to the free and open atmosphere. There you witness swordplay, wood craftsmanship and antique costumes. We also attended the Royal Opera House to see three ballets and an opera.

DSCF1490.jpg Overall, London is terribly cold compared to Dallas. There is unexpected rain almost every day in the winter months – to the extent that young people don’t even bother with umbrellas; they just tough it out. Older Londoners will always walk with an umbrella.

Last, but most important, are the historic buildings. Thousand-year-old walls are hidden within the city. While walking in the business district you can simply run upon a standing, ancient wall or the ruins of old fortifications. Hidden under a bridge may be an old dungeon you can visit. With London, you never know what is just around the corner. (Even with a good map!)

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