Leaving London

As I sit alone in the apartment that once housed nine more members of my class, I’m thinking about all of the adventures that happened over the past seven weeks. It seems like time flew by so fast. During the first week, we visited so many different firms across the city. We’ve learned so much about British politics and culture it now seems weird that we’ve never paid as much attention to our own. I wonder if when we return, we will make all sorts of social and anthropological observations about America now that we have studied a society in-depth.

While working at the TaxPayers’ Alliance I was treated to firsthand experiences with British politics as the firm is an influential lobby group. My experience there has helped me to better understand how people in politics gather and present information to back up their positions and legislative initiatives. It was truly a treat to be here in London working for a lobby group at this uncertain time in Britain’s politics. I have benefited so much from being here through the Brexit referendum and the selection of a new Prime Minister. I’ve learned so much about the British parliamentary system which presents a stark contrast to our rigid constitutionalism in the United States.

While I certainly loved working at my internship, it’s perhaps my weekends that I will remember most distinctly. I have such a vivid memory of barely arriving to our first contemporary Britain class on a Monday morning. I came into London on a train from Derby at 8:00 am. I had sneaked off there on Sunday in order to attend a music festival which featured Iron Maiden as the headline act. That was just one of the opportunities we had in this country. We spend a full weekend in Edinburgh and managed to visit several Scottish regions while there. We spent a weekend in Bath and Welles. I even was able to go horseback riding in Windsor Park last weekend while only making reservations a few days in advance. London, one of the largest cities in Europe, offers so much that we have yet to discover.

I don’t doubt that many of us will return to England as soon as we can. I do think however, that I will attempt to spend more time in the countryside while “on holiday” as they say here. While London may be great, I know there is more still to England to Great Britain as a whole.

  • Ben,

    I agree with you that although I enjoyed my internship experience, it’s the weekends that I will remember most. Edinburgh was a place I would never think to visit, and yet it stands out in my mind as one of the most beautiful and scenic parts of the entire trip. Bath, Welles, and Oxford were all equally impressive. During one of my free weekends, I even got the chance to go to Dublin with Zach and Bob. Though the class and internship components of this trip were extremely valuable and have left quite an impression on me, it was during the free time we had that our group really got to know each other. During these times, we bonded, became closer, and most importantly, we had fun. Over the short 7 weeks we were in London, we only got to see a fraction of the city. To me, that’s something really cool, because it means we can come back and have a totally new experience next time one of use decides to make a trek to the UK.

    Have a safe journey home.


  • Hi Ben,
    Two quick comments –
    First, I think your point on making our own social and anthropological observations about our own country after studying another’s in-depth is an enriching part of the studying abroad experience. I know I certainly am more introspective after this experience. Secondly, it is incredible to think we really only spent two or three weekends in London itself. Even with being here almost two months, I am amazed at how much more we have to see and do. We will have to plan a reunion trip sometime in the future.

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