Welcome to London!

I just wanted to write a quick note to let everyone know that we have safely arrived in London!

International Arrivals sign at Heathrow Airport

Our flight from Chicago landed at the Heathrow Airport at about 5:45 am. It turns out, not only were we the first group to arrive for the British Studies Program, but we were also the first flight of the day at the airport! So my grumpiness at being up so early (it was 12:45 am EST, aka bedtime!) was negated by the fact that we had zero problems claiming our baggage and getting through customs. After a long bus ride thanks to typical morning traffic, we made it to the dorms at around 9 am.

After a brief rest, Laura Douglass and I decided to venture to the nearby Waterloo Station. There we ran into Boots (a drugstore/pharmacy… think of it like a CVS) to buy hair dryers and hair straighteners – our American versions would likely blow a fuse when plugged in here thanks to differing voltage. We were starving, so we grabbed some lunch from M&S, or Marks & Spencer, and carried our sandwiches over to the Jubilee Gardens, located right beside the London Eye.

Though I probably shouldn’t have, I decided to take a nap once we walked back to the dorms. I intended it to last about an hour and a half, but anyone who knows me knows that I am champion napper – so, 1.5 hours turned into 4. Oops! Feeling very well rested upon awakening, we all gathered in the courtyard of the dormitories to split off into our classes. From there, Dr. Welsh and Dr. Griffis led the Library Science class on a Neighborhood Tour, where went to Waterloo Station, walked on The Queen’s Walk, and stopped to take a group photo.

Here is the view from Gabriel’s Wharf, located along The Queen’s Walk on the South Bank.

View from Gabriel's Wharf

This of course is the River Thames. In the background you can see St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is one of my favorite places in London.

After our tour, all the classes met and attended a nice opening reception with yummy food! Then Jade, Jessica, Laura Douglass and I walked over to Waterloo Station (3 times in one day for me!) where we ended up buying our Oyster Cards. Oyster Cards are handy travel cards that Londoners use for the underground tube and buses. We hopped on the Northern Line and scurried over to King’s Cross, which is one of the larger stations. Right next to King’s Cross is the St. Pancras station. As you can see below, it is one of the many examples of gorgeous British architecture.

St Pancras and King's Cross

St Pancras Station is in the foreground, while King’s Cross can be spotted in the back.

I would say all in all, that our first day in London was quite busy and productive! The hectic schedule continues tomorrow with Orientation, so I’m sure I’ll have another update and exciting stories to share.

Until then,