Angelique's picture

The Big City Life

Leaving the home you grew up in, the people you will love forever and experiences to look upon from afar, being an international student is no easy task, perhaps, even more so, when you come from a small island.

Goodbyes are always hard but entering the realm of the unknown is harder. The flight is long but worsened by tears and already missing home but there is the element of excitement, curiosity as to what the future holds. Upon arrival the welcome is not exactly friendly with a fierce immigration officer questioning you to ensure your intentions are really to study here. Once you exit a different world appears before you, no longer the tall palm trees but towering skyscrapers - the land of opportunities all at your fingertips.

"A Different Life to Lead"

A chilly wind, temperatures of 7 degrees, nothing like the 31 degrees and hot sunny days of the Seychelles. No horizon in sight but the nearest thing to the sea is the River Thames. Layer upon layer, soon to wear boots and scarves, is a drastic change to the everyday flip flops and shorts. A different life to lead.

Maria's picture

My Most Memorable Moments in London

A study abroad experience is not merely an academic experience. Actually, I would dare say that my time in the United Kingdom has been more socially than academically enriching. The importance of things I learned in the classroom cannot be compared to the lessons inherent in leading an independent life away from home, surrounded by people from all around the world.

Therefore, I was not surprised to find that my most memorable moments from this past year are not associated with my experience at LSE. Instead, they reflect a wonderful period of growth, fun and self-discovery in the most wonderful city of all.

- I never thought that my first camping experience would take place in such an urban setting. Yet, the only way to experience the Royal Wedding properly was to spend a night outside of Westminster Abbey (pictured above). Aside from the extraordinary pomp and circumstance, which exceeded all of my expectations, the truly unique aspect of this experience was participating in the heart of British tradition, immersing myself in the culture of my host country and understanding the sentiments responsible for monarchical stability.

Foreign Students's picture

The Leaning Tower of Big Ben

Following the lead of Pisa, London now has its very own leaning tower- Big Ben. Engineers have revealed that the tower is very slowly tilting more and more to the northwest and the lean is now visible to the naked eye.

Big Ben is part of the parliamentary buildings in Westminster, and is one of the most iconic sights in the whole of London. Although technically the name Big Ben refers to the giant bell in the clock tower, generally it is also used for the tower itself. However, the famous view is slowly changing, with the top of the tower now one-and-a-half foot away from an upright position.

Engineers have suggested the reasons for the lean are to do with the decades of underground work that has been carried out beneath Big Ben. The Jubilee line of the Tube runs under Westminster, and an underground car park has been built under the tower itself, slightly weakening the foundations.

Not Quite Vertical

If the lean continues to worsen, Big Ben would eventually fall over, though you shouldn't be too worried just yet, as it would take another 4,000 years just for it to reach the same level of tilt as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Indeed, whilst Big Ben is just 0.26 degrees off vertical, the famous tower in Italy is a massive 4 degrees and 12 foot away from being straight.

Maria's picture

Thoughts on Things British

I came to London with a suitcase full of preconceptions and stereotypes about the place that would become my home for a year. Even though I consider myself open-minded, I could not help but expect an exorbitantly expensive city with terrible food and weather, Mr. Bean-like people, an unpopular royal family and pubs crowded with loud hooligans.

After all this time living in the UK, I've learned that some of these legends are completely false, whereas others have turned out to be surprisingly accurate! Here's my take on some things British I have encountered along the way:

- Food: I swear I have given it many chances, but I still dislike most British food. To a Cuban used to abundant seasoning, British meals generally seem bland, and the fact I hate lamb automatically makes me hate half the items on a typical British restaurant menu. There are things I do like, however, like "good" fish-and-chips dishes and Cornish pasties. And, of course, the English breakfast, which traditionally comes with eggs, bacon, mushrooms, toast, sausage, baked beans, tomato and hash browns. It's delicious! No wonder the English playwright W. Somerset Maugham said that "to eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day."

Maria's picture

A Day in the Life of a Foreign Student

Yes, I realize that foreign students come in all shapes and colours (literally). However, I think there is no better way to explain what it feels like to study in England than to give you a glimpse of the things I would do on any given day. Do bear in mind that one of the things I've enjoyed most about my time here is the lack of routine. London is such a dynamic place to live in (and Europe is such a great continent to explore) I have the luxury to fill each day with new surprises.


In the morning I am usually awakened by little kids laughing, shouting and singing right outside my studio, which is conveniently located next to a primary school. During the academic year, I would take the underground train to school and eat lunch there between lectures.This was a great time to catch up with classmates or readings, or attend one of the lunch concerts offered at LSE. During the two or three days I did not have class, I would dedicate my mornings to my part-time job.


Most afternoons I would finish class and get back home as early as possible before rush-hour traffic made the train journey unbearable. Sometimes I preferred walking, always amazed to see the hoards of Londoners that hit Oxford Street stores after work. And sometimes I preferred taking an iconic, if slow, double-decker bus- the best place to read a good book.

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