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.

Tips for a Great Academic Experience

Once again I find myself looking back and deriving lessons from my past year in London. This time, I have examined my academic experience and asked myself what worked and what didn't. Here is a summary of my findings:

A Few Words of Wisdom for Freshers

It has been just a little over a year since I arrived in London, and I can still vividly remember the excitement of my first few days in this wonderful city. Securing accommodation and attending orientation events took up most of my time. I especially recall being bombarded with loads and loads of information which I could not possibly digest during such a hectic period.

In retrospect, I wish I had found some space in the business of arrival week to do some things that should have not been delayed. For example:

1. Meeting the neighbours. When one is far away from home, a community of caring friends provides comfort, company and happiness. My neighbours are by far the biggest treasure I have found in London, and I wish I had not waited so long to knock on their door.

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."

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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