Experiencing London Sub-cultures Inside & Outside the Classroom

Oct 4, 2018 12:48:25 PM / by Christopher Halka

In this week's post, Christopher discusses one of his unique CAPA Courses: Post War British Pop/Subculture. He  highlights the field-trip style setting of the class, including a visit to the Shoreditch neighborhood.

As another week has passed and midterms are right around the corner.  I thought a good topic for this week’s installment would be to discuss my experiences in the classroom. This semester I am taking four classes, Global Supply Chain Management, Post-War British Pop/Subcultures, Exploring and Analyzing the Global City, and my Internship workshop. I enjoy the perspective of challenging myself and ultimately look forward to my time in the classroom each week, I’m going to highlight some of the experiences from my favorite class Post War British Pop/Subculture.

Heading to ShortditchOn a class field trip to the Shoreditch Neighborhood.

The reason why this class specifically is my favorite stems from my overall appreciation for the style of teaching my professor uses. Aligned with CAPA’s core values, the class focuses on an in-depth analysis of the different subcultures that have developed in Britain since the aftermath of World War II. Our professor accomplishes the course objectives by dividing the class schedule into two sections. One week we are located in the classroom and discuss the various intricacies of London’s subcultures and try to understand the practices and traditions they follow. The following week class is held as a field trip in the various neighborhoods we discussed, allowing us to have a first-hand experience with our topics and experience the various elements that make up each subculture.

Inside the Classroom:

I believe that the combination of having class both inside and outside the classroom is one of the most effective ways to process and understand the material we are learning. For instance, one week we focused on the Hipsters as a subculture and explained the tendencies that members of these subculture share ex: importance of facial hair, niche entrepreneurship, and consumption of various high-quality beverages like micro-brews and fair trade coffee. We then go further in depth by discussing the socio-economic impacts that these subcultures have on their surrounding communities. 

Outside the Classroom - Onsite in Shoreditch

In the following week we traveled to the neighborhood of Shoreditch where many hipsters either socialize or have established their own business. In these instances, having class in a public setting allows the experience to be multi-sensory.  We looked at the various street art that is on the side of every building and street corner. Our professor discussed to us how street art is a platform to creatively express the values and beliefs of a certain culture and the various messages people were trying to send through their artwork.

Street Art in ShoreditchStreet art we passed in Shoreditch

In addition, we focused for an extended period on the divide between the Bangladeshi people and the hipsters as a result of the gentrification in the area. The gentrification has forced many members of the Bangladeshi community to move elsewhere because of rent price hikes. We were able to see how the street signs have wording in both English and Bangladeshi (Bengali). The class concluded by sampling some street food which is very common for the area. By having this multi-sensory experience, I was able to walk around and experience the surroundings and understand deeper themes that members of the community face.

Funky Restaurant in Brixton VillageA Hipster Restaurant in Brixton Village.

My experiences in this class and others make school something that is the highlight of my week. I ultimately now look forward to my classroom sections and enjoy learning these interesting topics. I am thankful for my study abroad experience as it’s made me become excited and engaged in my schoolwork and I plan to translate the same level of excitement for when I return to my home university. I’ll go even as far to say that this experience is maturing me every single day from my experiences and providing me with better cultural awareness. I can ultimately hope that potential employers will take an inclination on me from my desire to study abroad. I hope you enjoyed this week’s post and will continue to read the rest of my posts over the course of the semester!

Thanks, Christopher!

Christopher Halka


Christopher Halka is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Accounting major at Siena College, he is studying abroad in London this semester.

Christopher's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.


Learn More about the CAPA London Program

Topics: London, England, Local Culture