Study Abroad in London: Housing, Travel & Lifestyle

Almost a week here in London, and its possible I am starting to get used to the living arrangements, travel and the lifestyle. Or maybe I’m just starting to become more open to possibilities.

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS: Living in the Goldhawk Road flat, we have found that every area where CAPA London students stay has its advantages and disadvantages. Already, I have traveled to Camden twice to experience the nightlife and bond with other CAPA students. I think they have adopted me as if I was from the northern area!

We have had to shift our lifestyle from the States while living in the flat. Most of us are very used to our comfortable, full to queen sized beds, our excessive use of pillows and towels, and especially our need for air conditioning. We quickly remind ourselves that spending copious amounts of time in our flat is far from the point of coming to London for six weeks.

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Photo: Bus heading over Tower Bridge

TRAVEL AROUND LONDON: In order to appreciate the Tube, you might want to navigate London without it. Experiencing the 24-hour tube strike might have proved its usefulness, but it I believe Friday night coming back from Camden is what did it for me. The first time going to Camden, we took an Uber—super easy. The next night, about 15 of us hopped on the Tube to go a place called Koko. After spending hours ridiculously dancing, we decided our voices were gone, our feet were going to fall off, and we needed to sleep. After an hour on the night bus to be dropped off at the nearest stop, we still had about a 30-minute walk to our flat on Goldhawk. At nearly 5am, we saw the light break from the sky to start the day.

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Photo: Sawyer at the Natural History Museum

The Tube can be extremely intimidating, but sometimes it takes getting lost, taking a wrong train, or mis-reading the map a few times to get your bearings. Saturday, after waking up and stumbling around until 2pm, some of my flatmates and I decided we would go to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. We took the tube, spent a few hours marveling in the sheer beauty and appreciating the extensive work, and then decided to return home.

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Photo: Natural History Museum

On the way back, we rushed onto a Tube only to get separated. To make the most of the situation, I decided I would travel to Brixton to practice getting to my internship interview location. After not getting off at Kings Cross, I thought I should ride the Tube all the way to Victoria, and then take the Victoria line until the end at Brixton. It took 45 minutes longer than the trip should have.

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Photo: Natural History Museum

Once getting to Brixton, I explored the area a little to prepare for my internship. To no surprise, the ride home went much smoother! Public transportation is a fun thing, not a frustrating thing. It’s not like I would want to drive a car here anyway!

LIFESTYLE: In conjunction with the difference in living arrangements and travel, the lifestyle changes here in London have the same theme: diverse and unpredictable. White British people are the minority in London, which means I’m able to encounter people of any culture, color, language or place. During my six weeks, I will constantly travel between three locations: I live in Shepherd’s Bush on Goldhawk Road, an aggregate of many nationalities; I take classes in South Kensington, a wealthy district near notable tourist areas; and Brixton, an area that has experienced a shift from lower to middle class living.

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Photo: Lunch at Brixton Market’s Senzala

Brixton is my internship location. My interview day was spent learning about the many different projects in Brixton Village Market. An independent trader who owns a shop in Brixton Village Market has taken it upon herself to spearhead a re-branding for the constantly transforming and culturally colorful market. After competition increased and hip traders moved in, she decided to take Brixton Market further than just a presence on social media. She has worked to create the design of a website, and it is our job to get the traders to agree to be a part of it. Another job is to assure the market management is on board and will allow Brixton Village to be proactive, sustainable and cost effective. Ultimately, it is a plan to drive more traffic to Brixton Village and show the public the people behind the Village Market.

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Photo: Fruits and veggies from a market vendor in Brixton

The lifestyle difference I have and will encounter at Brixton Village Market is denser than I could have ever imagined. Selling everything from craft food to convenience food to raw meat, you will find traders from places like Nigeria, Jamaica, France and India. Not only will I experience their dishes for myself, but also I will be working with them to hopefully make the Brixton Village Market one of the top competitors in the London market scene!

I have my work cut out for me and I can’t wait for what has yet to come!

(Blog post #3: http://capaworld.capa.org/study-abroad-in-london-housing-travel-lifestyle)

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