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Europe

From Capital to Capital: Life in London

Hey GWSB!

This is Dave Gelsomino, currently studying at King’s College London (KCL) through GW England in Central London. It’s been about a month and a half since I arrived here, and I’m pretty much already at the halfway point. Time flies when you’re Dave G London 3abroad! The week of Halloween is the last week of classes before a mid-term Reading Week. I’m sure you know what to expect; a week of traveling from one European city to another, from hostel to hostel. But KCL isn’t kidding when they call it a Reading Week; it’s definitely not a Fall Break. Classes here are extremely heavy on reading, and almost all of them culminate in one large assignment that makes up between 70-100% of your final grade for the course. It’s easy to fall behind on the readings, so I’ll be spending most of next week catching up and beginning to work on my end of term assignments. Don’t worry though, I’ll be sure to find some time to take advantage of the break from class to do some more exploring of London.

Even if you spent all four years of college in London, you could never fully explore it. The size and scope of London is mindboggling. You can walk for hours and still be in Central London, with major tourist attractions like the British Museum, Westminster Abbey, the National Portrait Gallery and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater all located within the heart of the city. Luckily for me, as a member of a signature GW program (GW England), I have gotten to experience some of the city’s pricier attractions for free, including the London Eye, a show at Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and a walking tour of the City of Westminster. The Underground (or Tube) makes getting around London a breeze, but definitely has a bit of a learning curve as it’s about three times the size of DC’s Metro.

Dave G London 2By far one of my favorite aspects of studying abroad is meeting people from around the world. I am in a full immersion program, which means I live with international students, take classes as if I were a full time student at KCL and am essentially a one-term transfer to the University. KCL has an enormous international population (55%!), and I have so far met students from the UK, France, China, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Bulgaria, India, Germany and Austria just to name a few. In both of my group project teams (you can’t even escape them abroad!), each student is from a different country. It really provides amazing insight into your work that you would never have otherwise. Hopefully GW will continue to increase its proportion of international students as this has been one of the best parts of my experience in London! The only word I can use to describe Londoners themselves is quirky. They are an eclectic group of people in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Everyday I walk by ethnic restaurants from every corner of the globe and hear dozens of different languages being spoken on the street.

London is also a great place to be if you want to travel during your study abroad experience. I decided that I would rather get Dave G London 1to know my host city and country better rather than traveling every weekend so I have planned a relatively small number of trips, including Paris, Amsterdam and Geneva. But if you want to spend every weekend exploring a different part of Europe, London is probably the ideal place to be as a central hub for low-cost airlines like EasyJet and RyanAir.

No matter where you choose to go abroad, it will be an amazing learning experience that I would encourage everyone to do! See you across the pond!

Cheers,

Dave Gelsomino

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