3. Exploration

image image     So far my exploration of Bloomsbury and London has been a blast. Getting a hang of the tube took a few days, but it’s really been so easy to maneuver. We’ve eaten out a bunch of times and I’ve enjoyed all of the food, but I realized we’ve been naturally wanting to go to American food places– places where we can get a burger and fries or a slice of pizza. I started to wonder why we would always end up at places like that, and then I realized it’s just because they’re everywhere. There are some cute small local cafes and diners, but there are a surprising number of American-type chain places like Dominos, Subway, McDonald’s, and Starbucks. So I’ve definitely been trying to avoid any of that, because why study abroad to eat crappy things you can get at home? Definitely my favorite place we’ve gone to so far is an adorable little tea shop called Tea and Tattle. I had my first real British scones and delicious tea. I plan to go back!

Every time I’m walking down the street in a familiar or new place, I find myself constantly amazed by the architecture. The buildings are absolutely gorgeous. There are two lovely parks on either side of our building, and they’re so nice to walk through. Even just strolling down the road in this city is a treat. Several times when I’ve walked out of a London museum or gallery, I felt like the art didn’t stop when I left the doors, because I’m surrounded by it outside, too.

We’ve seen some fascinating and thought-provoking theatre. My favorite has been a modern, dark and horrifying production of Macbeth at the Young Vic Theatre. So far, it’s been pretty clear that London theatre is quite different from America. They seem to rely much less on the spectacle, and more on the raw acting. I really appreciate that. But what is so fabulous about London is that the major theatres are subsidized by the government, the tickets are actually affordable to the public, and most museums are FREE! The U.S. has a lot to learn from them.

We get to see 7 shows in total, plus I may see 1 or 2 on my own, so we really are totally immersed in theatre. This whole experience has been surreal so far.

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My name is Amber Neilson, and I’m a senior Theatre Arts major. Traveling is my new favorite thing, as I’ve spent most of my life in the Hudson Valley. I love to sing, act, and direct, and I’m a Harry Potter fanatic!

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