Classes? Is This Not a Vacation? A Story of Studying Abroad in London.

February 13, 2017

By Yelena Wermers
College student, blogger, theater geek and music lover who is currently studying abroad in London. Follow Yelena’s blog here.

This week was what would be considered our official “first week” in London. Classes and internships were starting, the welcome week activities continued and the Tube didn’t seem so confusing anymore.

I rolled out of bed bright and early on Monday due to the fact my first class is at 9:30 and the commute is at least half an hour. On top of that, the last thing you want to do is be late on your first day of classes!

Classes here are different than a normal college class schedule. Due to the fact many of us are interning, we need to work 20 hours a week to support our visa paperwork. To make sure we have time for school and work, classes are once a week for three hours and 20 minutes at a time (too long for me, but I understand). Plus, in a lot of our classes, we’ll be doing excursions and won’t actually be in the classroom for the entire period of time which should make it easier and more enjoyable. (I hope.)

 My first class was my British Contemporary Film class where we did normal first-day activities and watched our first movie, Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson. It was an interesting movie and understanding the background a few of the filming techniques used in the movie made it more enjoyable to watch. I’d recommend it to anyone who is into science fiction or just enjoys watching movies that leave you with a lot of unanswered question and a desire to YouTube the director’s 30-minute explanation of what happened in the movie.

After class, I took the Tube to central London because I had an interview for an internship with Latimer Creative, who co-creates different social media campaigns with companies such as BBC, Bose, Puma, etc. They have award-winning documentaries and help companies grow. Within Latimer, I will be working closely with the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Abuse campaign. As a marketing intern, I will be working closely with the executive director of the campaign herself.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous walking into the office for the interview because what was I supposed to expect? Once I climbed the five flights of stairs to get to the office, I loved the atmosphere. Everyone there was dressed casually, there was music playing and I was greeted with a smile and a familiar American accent. Not just any American accent, though: one that belonged to a Steelers fan from Pittsburgh.

The interview was more of a chance for us to get to know each other and talk about what is expected of me in my position. It also served to calm my nerves due to that fact that this is just my second internship and I’m not completely experienced in the marketing field. I’ll be revamping the website, helping do PR for an event and a few other duties that I’ll learn more about on my official first day. I’ll be attending some conferences and it’s something that I haven’t really done in a business setting, so I’m excited to have the opportunity!

Needless to say, I’m excited. My schedule is super flexible (so that I can travel) and I can’t tell if I’m more excited for me to be in London or if my boss is more excited for me to be in London. Either way, she seems like an eager, wonderful lady and I can’t wait to learn from her and hopefully get the insiders scoop to what to do in London from her and my other co-workers!

This week was a busy week for me to start interning, so I had a few days off during the week. I have no classes on Tuesdays and Wednesday and well, everyone else had classes or internships those days. So basically, I was on my own and I was in London and there was no way that I was about to waste a free day or two.

On Tuesday, I caught up on some sleep before rolling out of bed and taking the Tube to the Tate Modern Art Museum, one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world. It’s located in the Bankside area of London in the old Bankside Power Station.

I walked over London’s Millennium Bridge and into the free museum to enjoy various works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Edgar Degas, etc. These are a few of my favorite pieces that I saw that day:

After the museum, I made my way to Hyde Park where I walked and literally searched for Kensington Palace. Needless to say, I was disappointed by the palace (sorry Will and Kate). I must’ve walked by the palace three times before realizing that the brown, sad-looking building was in fact that palace that they lived in. In fact, it was the grand gate that allowed me to realize where the palace was. However, the sky was beautiful and the walk was a nice end to my day.

Wednesday I woke up late in the morning after a late night talking to one of my best friends about travel plans for her to (hopefully) come and visit while I’m abroad. I’m praying that she comes because, well, who doesn’t love visitors and familiar faces? I left for my school at 11:30, not because I had class, but because there was a travel fair at school and I wanted to hear what everyone had to say and the special trips that would be available.

It was whilst at the travel fair that I realized that the money that I had saved up for this semester might not be enough (if anyone wants to send money, donations are accepted). I knew that I wanted to travel to Ireland, France and Amsterdam while I’m here, but there are a myriad of opportunities to be taken advantage of in Europe and I know narrowing them down is going to kill me.

Today I had two more classes. One about advertising in Britain and another about International Marketing. The professor for my advertising class is older and quite mellow. He is low energy, but the concepts and ads that he is speaking about are extremely interesting. They all have something to do with the UK, whether they are for a UK business, are directed by a UK director or are specifically made for the UK. Advertising in the UK is different than in America due to the fact that the Brits don’t like to have the product sold to them or thrown in their faces repeatedly. Most of them are subtle hints or mentions of a product, but the commercial goes off about something else or tells a story before we even realize what is being advertised.

My marketing teacher is the exact opposite; he is high energy and cracked jokes the entire class. He thrives off of participation and manages to drag just about everyone into the conversation whether they want to be there or not. I can tell that this class is going to be a lot of work tho and I’m low-key dreading it and what follows.

But most importantly, I booked my first trip to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. How many people can say that they spent St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland? Well, in less than two months, I’ll be able to say I did and I am estatic! This is something that is on my bucket list and I knew I had to do it while abroad if it killed me (but mostly my bank account).

However, I quickly realized that I brought no green clothing… I’m going to have to change that immediately!

About the Author

Yelena Wermers is a sophomore studying marketing at the University of Pittsburgh who is currently studying abroad in London. She is outgoing, loves to laugh and is addicted to social media. She enjoys traveling, listening to music, attending concerts and sporting events and hanging out with friends. Follow her at (@yelena.wermers) or follow her blog here.

By Kids Do the City--A Teen Travel Blog

Kids Do the City is a teen and tween travel blog. Teens and tweens who like to travel share their tips and adventures with other teens and tweens who travel.