In this week's post, Katrina shares her experience of arriving in London and her thoughts as she attended orientation, explored her neighborhood and started to settle in to life in the city.
After a long day in airports, I arrived in London early Tuesday morning. After meeting up with friends from my home school, we jumped in a cab (with my massive amount of luggage), and headed to our new home. I was pleasantly surprised by our flat! I was expecting something small and dingy and our flat, while close quarters, is bright and open (one of the larger flats in the building), with skylights that let in the sunshine. One thing that surprised me was the lack of air conditioning, which is standard in the UK. It was pretty warm while moving in, but since then I’ve never felt too hot or uncomfortable without AC.
Photo: Exploring Piccadilly Circus
After unpacking, my roommate and I attended the CAPA-led walking tour of the neighborhood. While the tour was short, it really helped me get my bearings and feel more at ease knowing that everything I needed was just steps outside my door (one of the first things I had to scope out was the nail salon, of course). Our apartment is located just above a grocery store meaning I don’t have to lug my groceries for a long walk or on public transportation. I’ve heard very similar feedback from other CAPA students. While the accommodations and flats themselves are always different (even within the same building), CAPA does really well making sure all students have access to the same amenities near their flats.
Photo: Second night in London
Later in the afternoon my flatmates and I ventured to the local shopping areas to buys things we needed for the apartment (hand soap, laundry detergent, and things of that nature). It was pretty overwhelming to do all of this in my first day, but I did enjoy exploring the Westfield Mall and going to new stores.
The jet lag hit me really hard my first evening in London. I fell asleep early that evening and woke up feeling pretty refreshed for my first day of CAPA orientation. One of my flatmates lives in London, so I felt very fortunate to have her to guide us as we navigated the tube for the first time. It was really my first experience with public transportation, and it was a lot to take in at first. It amazes me that even after three days, I feel much more confident with the tube and getting around the city. Later this afternoon, we’re going to each of our internship sites via tube to prepare for our upcoming start dates. The CityMapper app is a really helpful tool for navigating the city. While I haven’t had to use it much yet, it’s comforting to know it’s there for when I venture off on my own as classes and internships begin.
We had two long days of orientation at CAPA, and as expected it felt very tedious at times. However, the sessions contained loads of important information and answered questions that I didn’t know I had, so I can’t lament the process too much.
Photo: After dinner in Chinatown
A pretty large group from my home university is attending CAPA this fall, and I’ve loved having a “home base” of people I know during the orientation process. As a group, we’ve already explored our local neighborhood of Shepherd’s Bush, discovered some great lunch spots near CAPA, had a “family dinner” in our flat, and explored the London nightlife in Piccadilly Circus. While it’s certainly overwhelming and different, I’ve already fallen in love with the fast pace of the city. Last night, we had dinner out in Chinatown and walked around the city for a while, taking it all in. While overwhelming at times, I’m lucky to be surrounded be friends that make me feel at home in my new city. I can’t wait for what the rest of the semester brings.
Katrina's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.