Arriving in London
Traveling the world is so important to me that as a high school senior I applied only to colleges with study abroad programs. Four years later, I’m finally taking advantage of Caltech’s awesome study abroad opportunities! I’m spending this term at University College London (UCL), “London’s Global University.” I’ve been in London a week now and both the city and the university are amazing! If you’re at all interested in potentially studying abroad in college, Caltech is a great place to make it happen. The Study Abroad office, https://fasa.caltech.edu/StudyAbroad.shtml, is staffed by people who are very accessible, helpful, and encouraging.
UCL is a much larger school than Caltech- at least 25,000 students! There are more students here for the International Student Orientation than there are in all of Caltech! UCL’s massive size is a huge difference from Caltech – I prefer the smaller student body at Caltech – but study abroad is all about experiencing new, different things.
After attending orientation at both Caltech and UCL, Caltech’s was far more helpful and straight-forward. Both orientations, though, have a ton of fun activities! UCL has been renting out whole clubs – really famous, popular clubs such as Ministry of Sound, – organizing double decker bus tours of the city, and nights out at pubs. For Caltech’s Frosh Camp the whole freshman class spends a few days at the beach with fun activities such as a talent show, volleyball, a building competition, and a dance party. Frosh Camp is a very fond memory for me and it’s where I met friends that I’m still extremely close to today! If you have any questions about Frosh Camp post them below.
UCL’s campus is in the heart of the city of London and it’s extremely easy to get around! There are lots of bus and underground stations close to my dorm, but I haven’t used them too frequently thus far because the city is so compact that it’s easy and pleasant to simply walk around! It’s about a half hour walk to Traflagar Square and Big Ben! The closest tourist attraction to my dorm is none other than the British Museum! It’s less than five minutes door-to-door! Walking through the Museum is equivalent to seeing world culture unfold and develop in front of you. It’s a breath-taking experience. Highlights of the Musuem include the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles, mummies, and the Assyrian human-headed winged bulls.
I spent the couple of days before orientation doing the tourist thing: Westminster / Parliament / Big Ben; St. Paul’s Cathedral; Trafalgar Square - me; Trafalgar Square- National Gallery & Olympic countdown