I am pleased to announce that after roughly seven months of life in London, I have settled into a pleasant routine and life here. At the beginning of the year I made a conscious choice to forgo weekend trips in favor of living day-to-day life in London. I felt the experience of actually living in another location, that discovering what life is actually like in a foreign city, is far more valuable than weekend snapshots of Europe. Granted, this is different for everyone and had I travelled less prior to my experience abroad then I may have held an opposing perspective.
For me, however, I was enchanted by the idea of everyday life in a new location and I’m happy to say that I’ve found it. While it’s far less exciting than coming home with tales of Paris, Italy, or Belgium, I’m pleased with the experience I’ve chosen. For this post, I’ve decided to share my average day to perhaps illuminate what life is like as an American in central London.
Most of the time, the window in my flat is open because I am used to much colder temperatures and much fresher air back home. Therefore I often awake with the chilly bite of morning air and the overcast skies of London. I then proceed to class/lecture because each of mine commence in the morning, except for Wednesdays, when I have no classes at all.
After my class/lecture I generally spend some time in my favorite cafe on campus, called LSE Garrick. I always get the same thing: a warm ham and cheese croissant and an Americano. Here I will usually be rotating between essay writing and reading. Since I am taking solely government courses, I almost always have at least one essay due a week, so there is consistently something to research and work on.
Throughout the year, however, I have realized I am most productive when I bring along a non-school related novel to read. This allows me to break up the constant political research with an enjoyable activity that still keeps me in the spirit of reading, whereas a Netflix or You Tube video can often derail me from my efforts. Lately I’ve been reading Robert Galbraith’s (J.K. Rowling’s pen name) The Cuckoo’s Calling. This book has been a joy to read while in London because I can appreciate the references to various local portions of town.
After my time in the cafe comes to a close, I often have meetings or work to do for societies. Lately most of my efforts have been focused on the London society and our upcoming London 2030 summit. This summit will be held on the 18th and 19th of March and feature speakers such as Emma Duncan (Deputy Editor of The Economist), Peter Sutherland (Chairman of Goldman Sachs Int.), Cameron Russell (International Supermodel), and Jamal Edwards (Founder of SBTV). Our summit explores the future of London and asks people their vision for the city by the year 2030. Since the conference is only a couple weeks away and I am a member of the PR team, I’ve been busy helping to promote our event with a stall on Houghton street or through communication with other interested universities.
When I am finished on campus, I will return to my flat and begin the quest for dinner. I have recently discovered that my favorite Indian restaurant offers takeout, and I have since become a regular. My favorite is their chicken curry with a side of rice and naan. This serves as a great way to relax, usually by enjoying my meal while watching an episode of House of Cards or Criminal Minds. After dinner, I sometimes have events or other opportunities on campus, such as guest speakers. Since I am interested in government, I have been able to attend many visits to parliament and meet MPs with other students from LSE as we discuss a particular topic. Last week we met with Charles Hendry MP, former UK Energy Minister, and discussed various global issues related to energy.
When I return from an event, or if I had none to attend that day, I will then spend time reading for my classes before bed. Finally, it’s off to sleep to wake up tomorrow and start the process all over!
Hopefully this blog post has offered a simple glimpse into my life as an LSE student. I have really enjoyed finding this balance and I look forward to savoring it for the remaining months.