Hello! My name is Anida Yang and I am a senior at CSP and I am in London this summer for an internship and a U.K. cultural course. It has been a month since I have been here and I love it! Life here is just so much more different and I’m sad that I will be leaving London next month already! Some things I noticed as I got here were the cars. The cars here are very compact and they are so cute! I was trying to find a pick-up truck but there were none! I finally saw one two weeks later but the size of it was still that of a compact car and even if it was considered a pick-up truck the end of the truck is shorter compared to what we normally see in America. I think the cars here are cute since they’re much smaller and there are a lot of fancy cars in London since London is a huge city full of money. Another thing I noticed quickly was our terminology. If I said ‘pants’ a Londoner would assume I was talking about their underwear. So, make sure you say trousers when you talk about ‘pants’ because it has an entirely different meaning. Another terminology which I found cute was a stroller. Their terminology for a stroller is a buggie!! Life in London is very fast paced and it was interesting to learn how they measure distance. Normally if you need to go to the store you would ask how many miles it is, but in London you ask how long does it take to get there. For my internship interview I saw that if I take the city bus it would take me 46 minutes to get to the place and at first I thought that was absurd and was wondering if I could take the tube (subway) instead since they are faster. But then I found out that if I took the tube it would actually be longer! In short, what I’m trying to say is if it takes you 20 minutes to walk to work versus the buss which takes you 40 minutes to get to work, then people will walk to work over the bus. Also, a stereotype about London is that there’s never-ending rain. So, far it’s been very beautiful here with 70 degree Fahrenheit and it does rain, but it’s more of a little drizzle which will only last for about 10 minutes. The place that I am staying at is located so conveniently! It’s a student accommodation housing so it’s not linked to a specific school, but for all students. It’s not a dorm because there’s no communal shower, but there is a communal laundry mat. You can choose which type of rooming you want depending if you have the money. For example, I am living with a roommate and we each have a bunk-bed desk and we share a communal kitchen with 7 other students who are in the same program as us. We are located on Woburn Place in Bloomsbury which is next to two main tube systems, a smaller tube system and we have the city bus lined up right outside of our apartment. So, getting to somewhere in the city is very convenient. That’s also something that I noticed differently in London compared to where I live in the U.S. Where I live I need a ride to go everywhere since there’s no subway and I don’t normally take the bus, especially since I live in the suburbs up north in MN. Now that I’m living in London I feel a bit more independent because it’s easy to find transportation and I’m doing it all on my own. One frustrating thing that I’ve found out about London is that the streets are crooked and it’s hard to find their street signs. There are no street signs on poles like you would find in the U.S. instead these street signs are on the buildings. Some times I can’t find any street signs on the buildings so I always get lost in London. Even though I’ve been here for a month, I still don’t know where everything is and it’s okay because I have asked other Londoners and they don’t know too! So, even though you are a native Londoner or a foreigner it’s okay to be lost because everyone is lost. The class I took here in London was interesting. We talked about social media and it was interesting to see how big of an influence it is in their everyday life. There’s always people at the tubes handing out free newspapers to you and everyone here is always interested in your political views especially if you are an American. At my internship place we had a 17 yr old high school-er who was volunteering and she was asking me about my political views and also my views of college and the job outlook. I was surprised at how passionate and informed she was because when I served on Student Senate and I tried to get freshmen to register to vote they were uninterested and acted like it had nothing to do with them. It made me wish that the young adults in America were more attentive to their own political issues and world issues.
This week has been my 3rd week working at my internship place and it has been fun! I get to work with children from elementary schools and educate them about environmental issues. Each day we work with a different school and sometimes we work at two different schools. Since we work with so many different schools and classes, we do different workshops with each class and school so nothing is ever the same as the previous day. We have done some sessions about compost, recycling such as reusing one’s old t-shirt by turning it into a bag, and making paper. The work life in London (in U.K. in general) is very different than the work life in the U.S. Work here means that the quality of the work is valued over the efficiency whereas in the U.S. it is quite the opposite. Since I’ve been working in the U.S. my whole life by the time I came here I was still in my U.S. work life mode and I would finish completing office work within an hour and it was supposed to keep me busy for the whole day. Also, being on time to work is being on time and not 15 minutes early to work like how it is in the U.S. And if you were late by 5 minutes it would be okay! You wouldn’t get a warning, but instead a concerned question on why you were behind schedule. Also, when one is going to make tea they ask everyone in the office if they want some. It is a norm to drink tea here but I have also seen some people drink coffee too (which is what I drink when they offer tea). Also, another thing I noticed different in their work life is their attitude towards tattoos. Since I work with different schools I have seen teachers and staff bare their tattoos naked without it covered up. I assumed that the work life here would be very similar if not the same as it is back at home, but it’s less conservative than it is in America.