Words by Paige Stevens, who is studying abroad with CAPA London this semester.
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While going to London itself was once an item on my bucket list, I’ve since crossed that off and decided to make it my mission to dig deeper into the city.
I’ve done the touristy things, like ride the London Eye, visit Buckingham Palace, take a tour in a double decker bus, and all sorts of things like that. Now, however, I have a few specific things I NEED to squeeze in while I’m living there.
1. FIND THE BEST CHOCOLATE IN LONDON. I like to consider myself somewhat of a chocolate connoisseur. I worked in one of the top chocolate salons in America for two years, so I know what kind of craftsmanship and detail makes fine chocolate. In saying all this, I’m interested to see the chocolate scene in London and I’m determined to find the absolute best chocolate there is.
2. FIND THE BEST HIGH TEA IN LONDON. Still on the food trend, I’m really looking forward to having afternoon tea as often as possible. My best friend and I have tea together whenever we see each other at a small British tea shop in our town, and it’s simply one of my favorite things to do. Thus, I’m looking to hunt down the best places for afternoon tea that I can find.
Photo: Afternoon tea at Claridges, London by Stephanie Sadler
3. CLIMB THE O2 ARENA. I didn’t even know you could do this until a friend of mine, who was living in London at the time, sent me pictures from the top! It’s an incredible way to see the city and an experience unlike any other. I don’t think I’ll ever climb a mountain, but I think this should suffice.
4. BEFRIEND SOME LOCALS. While I’m looking forward to bonding with everyone in the CAPA program, I’d really like to make connections with locals as well. I feel like getting to know them would provide a new outlook on the way I’m used to seeing things, and global friendships provide contacts that may come in handy one day.
(Editor's note: Check out the CAPA World post "10 Ways to Meet Locals When You Study Abroad in London"!)
5. GO TO THE ROYAL BALLET. While I happen to be an Irish dancer, I’ve always had a love for ballet. I find it to be one of the most beautiful art forms there is and it’s an absolute pleasure to watch. And while I’ve watched videos and screenings of ballets, I’ve never actually been to one live. The Royal Ballet is one of the best in the world and I cannot wait to see one of their spring productions.
Photo: Inside the Royal Opera House where the Royal Ballet are based in London by Stephanie Sadler
6. TAKE ON A CHALLENGE AT MY INTERNSHIP. My internship is going to be assisting with finances at the Langham Hotel. While I know a bit about the financial industry, I know relatively little about internal happenings of the hospitality industry. In my internship, I’m really hoping to take on a project, aside from my normal tasks, that forces me to think outside the box and come up with something that no one has thought of.
7. COME UP WITH A NEW IDEA AT MY INTERNSHIP. Piggybacking on the above point, I want to be able to create something while I’m at my internship. I hope that I’m able to bring a fresh perspective to my superiors and help develop something new that gets implemented in some way in the hotel.
8. ATTEND LONDON FASHION WEEK. Even if I don’t make it into a show, just being in London for the buzz of fashion week is enough. The entire world of fashion fascinates me and to be there when all the designers, models, and press are there would be incredible. Not to mention the amazing designs that are going to be premiered; how else could one prepare their wardrobe for the upcoming season?
Photo: London Fashion Week by CAPA alum Aaron Rosenberg
9. BOND WITH MY FLATMATES. These are probably the people I will be seeing the most of throughout this entire experience. We’ll be together day in and day out, so I’m hoping we’ll all get along and hopefully get to explore London (and maybe even some of the rest of Europe) together!
10. START A BLOG. I actually write posts on-and-off for Ashley Tisdale’s lifestyle blog called “The Haute Mess”, but I’m looking for a space all my own to write what I want to write and share the details of my study abroad experience - and life afterwards, of course!