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J-Term in London

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This past January we ran our first ever J-Term programs in London, Paris, Florence, Granada and San Jose, Costa Rica. Emily wrote a fantastic article about her experience for Her Campus and she let us share it here on our blog. What do you do in London in January for three weeks? Find out:

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My body left London a little over a week ago, but my heart decided to stay a little longer. Now that I’ve settled back into Oxford, it’s hard to believe that what I once considered my home to be only one week ago is now just a memory.

Before my jet set to London exactly one month ago today, I was overwhelmed with feelings of excitement as I was about to embark on what I can’t help but call, the trip of a lifetime. Back in October, my housemate and I decided that we were going to take advantage of the J-Term in order to escape our sleepy hometowns post-holidays. We didn’t really have any specific thoughts on where we wanted to go, but after surfing the Miami study abroad website we both decided on a trip that would take us to London for three weeks through an outside program called the American Institute for Foreign Studies (AIFS). We were sold.

Taking London

I arrived in London on January 5th, and after a whirlwind bus tour of the city and a long nap, we finally got settled into our cozy apartment. We were excited and a little nervous to meet all of the people on our trip. It took a few days of getting to know each other and at times, getting lost on the tube together for all of us to really bond. I can honestly say that my favorite part of the entire trip was the amazing people I met from all over the United States. We went to class together, we ate together: we quickly turned into the annoyingly loud group of Americans because where one went, ten followed.

The Shakespeare class we ended up in wasn’t the course we originally signed up for. Despite this unexpected twist, the class turned out to be a very enriching experience. We went to plays, visited the Globe Theater, and we even did an acting workshop based off of Hamlet.

Again, I find myself speechless when I think about how to describe London. Other than the almost always-untimely rain, I can’t say a single bad thing about the city. At first I was afraid that London wasn’t going to be as unique of a cultural experience, but luckily I was wrong. The history of the monarchy was completely fascinating to me, and I learned so much about the presence of the royal family and the Queen’s traditions just talking to locals.

The sites were also breathtaking. The first time I really felt like I was in London was when I saw Big Ben. I also learned quickly that calling it “Big Ben” was a dead give away that you were not from England. Big Ben is actually the little bell inside the clock tower, and the Brits find it hilarious to correct you when you say you “saw” Big Ben because it’s actually impossible to see Big Ben unless you are inside the clock tower.

In America, we have clubs and hole-in-the-wall bars, but in London it’s all about the pubs. Most of them are restaurants, so we were able to eat and grab a drink after a long day of class. Almost every pub also offered free wi-fi, which was a must considering most of us didn’t have international phone plans!

Welcome to the City of Love

As if the trip wasn’t blowing me away already, we were able to take a weekend trip to Paris. Without a doubt I can say that was the best weekend of my life.

Read the rest of Emily’s review of London (and Paris!) over at Her Campus!

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Our J-Term programs were such a success that along with London, Paris, San Jose and Florence, we are adding Rome, Grenoble, Barcelona, Salamanca, Athens and Berlin for January 2015. Read about all of our new programs and make your study abroad plans!

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