Departure day is rapidly approaching. I have been busy packing my bags and saying my goodbyes to friends and family. I know it will be a surreal feeling when I finally step onto the London School of Economics campus in central London.
I have been preparing for months now ahead of my trip. I have been busy renewing my passport, researching the area in which I will be living and the attractions available, completing the necessary documentation, and securing housing. Now, I can move from the realm of planning into a mode of observation and experience.
Even after all the preparation, I can’t help but wonder what kind of tests lay ahead. Sure, I have plans to sightsee and a sense of anticipation for the new people and friends that I will meet. I have made plans to take day trips into the English countryside and to see the views from the London Eye. However, it is the unknown that will provide the most lasting memories. Whether it is an unexpected interaction with a local on the tube or an impromptu meal at a local establishment, the planning I have done up until now serves as a great background, but once I arrive that is all it will be, background information. Soon it will be time to explore the city and really experience the immersion into a new culture and country.
I have heard much about London and the London School of Economics where I will be studying this summer, but I have never been to the United Kingdom. I am excited to finally have the opportunity to experience the culture for myself and to formulate my own opinions. One thing I am looking forward to is assessing how accurate certain American stereotypes are about British culture. My guess is that the United States’ strong political and historical ties to the United Kingdom have actually clouded my perception of British culture and led me to believe I know a lot more about it than I actually do. It will be interesting to see what cultural aspects I enjoy and what I find unusual.
Being a business student at Indiana, majoring in finance and entrepreneurship, the chance to study in London provides additional excitement for me beyond my desire to observe another culture. London is one of the world’s premier financial centers and contains a wealth of knowledge on such matters. The London School of Economics where I will be studying has great ties to the city and to experts working in the financial industries. Strong ties to financial professionals have allowed the school to become known for bringing in big name guest speakers, such as Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama, and I have already researched the guest lecturers scheduled to speak to the student body this summer. I am especially looking forward to hearing the insights of one of London’s premiere hedge fund managers. One of the courses I will be taking is an alternative investments class, and it will be interesting to hear how he applies the investing strategies that the course will be focusing on. In addition, the school is known for having a diverse student body, and past summer sessions have had students enrolled from over 100 different nationalities. A large part of my learning experience will surely come from interacting with students who possess political and economic views very different from my own.
Saying goodbye to my family and the city in which I grew up is tough. Living in London for the summer will certainly be a breath of fresh air for me. I have lived my entire life outside of college and Bloomington in Kansas City. Adapting and living in another country for an extended time period will a completely new experience.
For any blog readers who will be following me on my journey, I have a few goals for my blogging experience. I will be writing a minimum of one blog post per week and hopefully many more. Also, I hope to write a few blog posts covering topics such as landmark attractions, dining experiences, and discussion of the classroom environment. I hope to make my blog posts interesting by describing the culture and my experiences in a humorous manner. I want this to be rewarding for everyone including myself. I am looking forward to blogging about my study abroad involvement because I believe it will allow me to not only share my experiences in London, but will deepen my own experience by allowing me to reflect while abroad.