May 22, 2024

Adventure Awaits Journeyers

Discovering the World Anew

A Literary Journey at Kingston University

6 min read

Exploring the Literary Wonderland of London

This past week I made the trip across the pond with my best friend, starting a four-month long study abroad program in London, England. We have found ourselves in the center of historical richness and literary dreams. The city of London stands as an unparalleled destination for students seeking a transformative academic experience. For English majors like myself, the decision to study abroad in London, particularly at Kingston University, is akin to embarking on a literary pilgrimage. Study Abroad has always been an idea that ran through my mind, whether it be cousins going, or friends of a friend, but it was not until my junior year of college that the idea became a reality. Through many forms, and tears I found myself all set to embark on the journey on just a quick six-hour flight, all while trying to fight the feeling of massive anxiety and excitement. 

As the days go by and my jetlag gets put on the back burner, I find myself strolling down the enchanting streets of London, filled with iconic landmarks all while trying to avoid getting hit by a biker who rushes past me on the street. One cannot overlook the sheer beauty of London. The juxtaposition of ancient architecture with modern marvels creates a visual tapestry that captivates the imagination. London, is a city which has a unique charm that becomes even more pronounced on a rainy day. The dance of raindrops on cobblestone streets, the misty glow of streetlights, and the gentle hum of umbrellas opening and closing create a symphony that enlivens the canvas painted with the signature palette of London grays and greens.

From the iconic Big Ben and the Tower Bridge to the historic charm of Covent Garden, every corner of London tells a unique story. Studying amid such architectural splendor not only enhances the learning experience but also inspires a deeper connection with the subjects studied. Even the fast food shops are built within some of the most beautiful buildings. 

One of the most rewarding aspects of studying abroad is meeting and connecting with people from diverse backgrounds. Pushing myself to talk and greet those whom I pass by instead of staying silent in the background. With my first week of classes already down it is nice to have some friendly faces, thankfully it is easy to find a topic that I can connect with people on whether that be music, or just a simple meme that has made its way around Twitter. London’s multiculturalism creates a rich social scene where every interaction slowly becomes a chance to broaden one’s perspective. Whether engaging in lively discussions with classmates from around the world or striking up conversations with locals in a quaint coffee shop, the social fabric of London adds a dynamic layer to the study abroad experience.

Academic Excellence at Kingston University

Choosing Kingston University as the gateway to my academic sojourn in London was a decision driven by the institution’s commitment to academic excellence. The English major program at Kingston is renowned for its comprehensive curriculum, fostering a deep understanding of literature while encouraging critical thinking. The campus, situated on the outskirts of London, provides a serene environment for focused study, allowing students to balance academic rigor with the vibrant energy of the city. London, often hailed as a global melting pot, offers a kaleidoscope of cultural experiences. The city’s museums, art galleries, and theaters provide a front-row seat to humanity’s artistic evolution. From the British Museum, where history comes to life, to the West End theaters showcasing world-class productions, every moment spent in London is an opportunity for cultural enrichment. By choosing to study English at Kingston University, I have the chance to witness the settings of classic literary works firsthand, which is an invaluable aspect of the study abroad experience.

Exploring Literary Haunts and Magical Music 

For an English major, the allure of London lies not only in its historical grandeur but also in its association with literary giants. Walking in the footsteps of Shakespeare along the South Bank or visiting the Dickens Museum in Bloomsbury feels like stepping into the pages of literary history. Such experiences add depth to the academic journey, making the study of literature a tangible and immersive exploration. 

Additionally, The City of London, with its rich history and vibrant cultural scene, has been a breeding ground for iconic music that transcends genres and cultural boundaries. The music scene in London is a melting pot of diverse influences, reflecting the city’s multicultural identity. Hyde Park, one of London’s most iconic green spaces, has been a venue for legendary performances from artists Bruce Springsteen, Kylie Minogue to Tom Petty which have all left an indelible mark on the music world. Even through the drizzly afternoon, Hyde Park is full of beautiful visuals of walkers laughing on the roads or the animals that make up the lively ecosystem of the park. 

Rainy days in London provide the perfect excuse to seek refuge in one of the city’s countless charming cafés or historic pubs. The cozy ambiance, combined with the gentle patter of rain against the windows, creates an intimate setting that encourages deep conversations and contemplation. As the warmth of a cup of tea or the rich aroma of a pint mingles with the dampness outside, Londoners find solace in the simple pleasures of life.

London’s music history is something woven with threads of various genres, and the city has been a nurturing ground for young artists. The city has given birth to and embraced artists from various genres, such as rock, punk, jazz, electronic, hip-hop, and more. The rock and roll era saw legendary performances at Hyde Park, with acts like The Rolling Stones hosting massive concerts that drew audiences from all walks of life. The eclectic mix of artists performing at Hyde Park has included influential figures like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and The Who, showcasing the diversity of musical genres that have graced the iconic venue.

Hyde Park has been a stage for not only established legends but also emerging talents from diverse backgrounds. The demographic of musicians who have contributed to London’s music legacy spans across races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds. The city’s commitment to providing a platform for artists of all races and ethnicities has contributed to the richness of its music scene. London’s music festivals and performances at Hyde Park continue to be a testament to the city’s dedication to promoting inclusivity and celebrating the global expanse of musical expression.

The Global Classroom: Learning Beyond Borders

Studying abroad is not just about academic pursuits; it’s about personal growth and development. London, as a global hub, facilitates a unique learning environment where the city itself becomes a classroom. Navigating the Underground, exploring markets, and adapting to British customs are invaluable life skills beyond the traditional classroom setting. These experiences contribute to a holistic education, preparing students for the challenges of a globalized world.

Studying abroad in London, particularly as an English major at Kingston University, is a literary odyssey that transcends the boundaries of traditional education. The city’s beauty, cultural richness and diverse social landscape create an environment where learning becomes a transformative experience. From exploring literary haunts to navigating the global classroom, every moment in London is a chapter in a story of personal and academic growth. In the journey of immersing myself in the pages of London’s literary history, I realize that studying abroad is not just about acquiring knowledge; it’s about part of a narrative that spans centuries and continents all while wearing a fur jacket and my new Baggu travel bag! 

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