28 March, 2016

Striking the Balance Between Exploring and Traveling - by Erika Olsen

When I was first accepted to the Ithaca College London Center for Spring of 2016, I could not have been more excited. I immediately began writing a list of all the countries I wanted to visit and what I wanted to see in each. I knew I wanted to see Vienna (thanks, Billy Joel), but also the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and who could skip on trying a German pretzel? My list also included Glasgow, Amsterdam, Venice, Brighton, Prague, Norway, Paris, Edinburgh, and many others.

However, as I sat down to write out my calendar, I realized that I would have to shrink my list; I slowly started to realize how short the semester really is, and recognized that, while I really wanted to travel through Europe, I also wanted to see and experience London. I slowly started to cut down my travel list to what was really important to me and wrote out a list of things I wanted to do in London and the surrounding area, such as touring the BBC Broadcasting Centre and exploring Harrods. Slowly, my weekends started to fill up and eventually, I was satisfied with the balance I had reached between traveling and seeing the city I’m living in.

I have already been to Amsterdam, Bath, Wells, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest and have trips planned for Edinburgh, Paris, Nice, and Stratford. I am also looking forward to making a day trip out to Liverpool to see the birthplace of my favorite band, the Beatles. Through my classes and my own curiosity, I will be visiting more museums and palaces, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and Buckingham Palace, and spending time at my favorite markets, including Brick Lane and Borough Market.

While the allure of traveling through Europe and spending the weekends country-hopping is truly tempting, I think it is important for anyone studying abroad to experience their temporary home. London is a city rich in history and culture and definitely has some hidden gems lying in its markets and winding streets. While I am already more than halfway through my time here, I am excited to make the most of the upcoming weeks traveling and spending time exploring all that London has to offer. 

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