My summer studying abroad in London was one of the greatest times of my life. It’s hard to pick the best parts, but here are some of the highlights.
Seeing a play at Shakespeare’s Globe
I’m not well versed in the theater, but I felt like I couldn’t visit London without seeing a show at Shakespeare’s Globe. AIFS was offering standing room tickets to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night for just 3 pounds, which seemed like too good of a deal to pass up. Honestly, I kind of expected to get sick of standing towards the end, but I was pleasantly surprised. Standing room tickets allow you to get as close as possible to the action. I could see every move and facial expression the actors made. The whole experience felt heightened. Everything was more emotional, more hilarious, more moving. I loved every second of the play.
The Tower of London and Tower Bridge
Another pleasant surprise! I always thought the Tower of London was a single tower that housed the Crown Jewels. Actually, it’s so much more than that. There was so much to see! These buildings have so much history that it was overwhelming.
I went here on my last day in the city by myself and took the time to soak it all in, from the glamour of the jewels to the darker history of the torture devices used on prisoners. After I walked out, I went and sat on a bench on the River Thames and looked at the gorgeous Tower Bridge. It really hit me that I was about to leave London and I just wasn’t ready.
The Eiffel Tower at night
I’m so glad I opted to go on the AIFS weekend trip to Paris. The first night there, we went on a boat tour. After we got off the boat, some of the people from my program and I decided to go to the Eiffel Tower. We could see the Tower in the distance so, instead of taking the metro or getting an Uber, we decided to just walked in that general direction until we got there. We didn’t even look up the fastest route. We just walked through the city for two hours, following the Eiffel, watching the sun set. It felt like an adventure rather than a long trek. When we finally got there, we sat in the grass underneath the Tower which, by then, was lit up. As it began to sparkle, I had an “I can’t believe I’m really here” moment that nearly brought tears to my eyes. I felt so ridiculously lucky to be there.
This was a very special experience. The music of the Beatles has so much sentimental value to me. Some of my childhood memories are linked to songs like I Saw Her Standing There and Yellow Submarine. I wrote papers in school about the impact they had on the history of music. Last year, I was fortunate enough to see Paul McCartney in concert with my family. Clearly, The Beatles mean a lot to me, as they do to so many others. It was incredible to walk where they walked and see the building where they recorded some of the most iconic songs ever made. Later that day, I got a tattoo to serve as a permanent memento from one of the best days I’ve ever had.