Maita is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Kinesiology major at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, she is studying abroad in London this semester.
In this week's post, Maita describes the first My Global Education event she attended while studying abroad in London, and what it taught her.
What I’ve come to realize over the last week or so is that London is much more than Big Ben, the Buckingham Palace and tea. Although the view from the London eye was absolutely incredible, it also showed me the extent to which the city stretched.
Office buildings, apartments, Houses of Parliament, coffee shops, restaurants, traffic and diversity go on for miles and miles. With a population averaging around 8.8 million people, one could say that the city of London is never ending.
My first My Global Education event here in London was a walking tour of South Bank; home of many street performers, restaurants, the National Theatre and of course, the Coca-Cola London Eye. Although my first experience of a My Global Education event was short and sweet, I can and would already recommend these events to students in the future. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll have the opportunity to visit South Bank as many times as I please, but, without My Global Education I wouldn’t know all the history or the possibilities behind the scenes (including all the student discounts). Not to mention that the CAPA staff is incredible and the walking tour of South Bank allowed me to get to know others sharing this London experience with me.
In class this week, we talked about the “single stories” we may have classified London under. A single story, in short, is looking at a place or person under a single light and not including the parts of the story we are unaware of. Prior to my trip across the pond, I was completely unaware of how diverse this city actually was. London’s large population is compromised of ethnic identities ranging from English to Scottish, African, Caribbean and so much more; different cultural backgrounds coming from essentially 13 different countries around the world.
Even looking at the differences of the borough (otherwise known as a neighborhood) that my flat is in, the borough CAPA is in and the borough in which my internship is found, the diversity of each area completely changes. Day-to-day these three different areas give me three completely different perspectives on London as a whole.
Walking along South Bank during the My Global Education walking tour was when the extent of London’s diversity really hit me. The whole path along the river was absolutely packed with what seemed to include every type of person and food option imaginable. Walking around all these places, specifically South Bank, have made me realize that each resident of London, in fact, does not have an English Accent as may have been heard on Television, everyone’s first choice of food isn’t always fish and chips and each afternoon isn’t served with a cup of tea.
I’ve lived in Minnesota all my life, and although I’ve moved between a few areas, my understanding of diversity amongst the states has remained essentially the same. Living and going to school in Minneapolis, with a population of approximately 400 thousand, has opened my eyes to only a small fraction of the deeply diverse roots that are planted and growing across the world.
Essentially, my perspective of the world is quite small. My hopes are that participating in all of the My Global Education events, interning with a small private practice, learning from professors who’ve already experienced much of the world and living in London will broaden my horizons much farther than they have been up onto this point in my life.
Although, I do still plan to enjoy the tea while I’m here!
Maita's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.