Top 10 Takeaways From a Fall Semester in London

Dec 28, 2018 9:51:00 AM / by Maisie Haney

Want some advice from someone who's been there and done that in London? In her final post, Maisie counts down her top 10 takeaways from her time abroad. Read on to anticipate and prepare for activities abroad such as visiting art exhibitions, attending music shows, and finding a late night place to study. Are you ready to see what's in store? The countdown starts now.

10. Buy Some HP Brown Sauce

This is always in my home. My mom puts it on everything. Namely, I love it with sausages, and we used to put it on bacon sandwiches when I was younger. I think it might just be steak sauce, or at least something similar—very vinegary, and it is good with the meats and the beans and the chips/fries.

9. If You Love the Art You’re Seeing, Buy an Exhibition Catalog

A design I submitted in the Sinkhole Fever zine, created by my professor and friends, at Zine Fest A design I submitted in the Sinkhole Fever zine, created by my professor and friends, at Zine Fest.

People at the museums and galleries put a lot of work into these essays, and they help you learn a lot about what you are actually viewing. I went to see the Anni Albers exhibition with my modern art class, and soon became obsessed with weaving, Albers, and the Black Mountain School that has a history with my own university—so I bought the book. I also saw a cool gallery at London Parasol, and bought the catalog about a German artist’s works on view (she adhered gauze to buildings using plaster, and this left architectural imprints on the gauze that were super cool). Do the support thing!

8. Don’t Turn Your Nose Away from Beans on Toast and Some Tea

Me as I Currently AmA mirror selfie: me as I currently am.

This is classic sustenance, the only kind my mom knows how to make (except for cheese on toast, a rival comfort food). English food can be bland, and this is not un-bland. But it is yummy, it is easy, you can add veg to your beans if you so choose, and you put that brown sauce and some pepper on it. These are the things you gotta do.

7. Establish Your Late Night Study Places Early On

Barely anything is open very late into the night, let alone a library. Your common room in the flats will inevitably become a landfill, and you will want out. Let me tell you where I went to do the school things: during the day, I'd end up going to the British Library, especially for final papers. Seven Dials in Leicester Square was also really nice to study in. However, more restaurants are cool with people doing work than in the States. For late nights, I was usually at the Ace Hotel, the Book Club, and the Barbican Centre.

6. I Wish I Had Gotten Off at Random Bus Stops to Explore Different Areas

Maybe you can do it.

5. Get Your Travels in Earlier in the Semester

I didn’t really travel much to begin with, and, boy, am I pleased. What we were never told is that there practically would not be any filler assignments during the semester; the majority of our grade is comprised of a final exam or paper. My friend went to UCL, and her final paper grade was her class grade. Travel before! You will sob in Amsterdam when you have four 2,500 word papers—I promise you.

4. Make Friends Outside of Class and Your Internship

For me, it was important to befriend people completely outside of the structures provided for me by CAPA. I wanted to meet people who were fully engaged in activities I found interesting. In my case, I went to gigs, I contacted people via bandcamp, and I actively sought out venues on Facebook that would alert me about interesting events. By doing these things, I met some very creative people in London doing cool things (like recording different local bands, making music, and screening quality movies).

3. If You’re Attending Gigs in Hackney, Make Sure You Know How You’re Getting Home

Good Tunes and CreativityGood tunes and creativity.

!!!!!!!!!!! I could not emphasize this enough. Hackney is a good way from Shepherd's Bush, and I was so naive to believe I could go there daily for different shows. It is worth it to check out the Hackney Arts Centre (aka EartH), but make no mistake. Many a time I attended shows at EartH, and the Overground at Dalston and Kingsland wasn’t working. The shows would go so late that walking to Highbury and Islington wouldn't yield any Underground options. My advice? Preorder a Lyft, or know what bus to take home (my phone would always die so maybe get yourself a little gadget for that too).

2. You Don’t Have to Do Everything with Your Roommates to be Good Friends with Them or Have a Good Time

My friend Christine and I, reunited as depicted by the god of apps (Zepeto)My friend Christine and I reunited as depicted by the god of apps (Zepeto).

This is super important!! My interests, or really my idea of a fun night out, did not really coincide with those of my roommates. I was worried that it might seem like I was ostracizing myself, that I didn't want anything to do with them, or that I seemed rude. Don’t feel worried about these things and do what you like, and be respectful and kind to the cool kids you live with. I think I went out with them twice, as I obviously prefer the gig life. They actually came out with me once to a show, and I loved spending time with and talking to them. You do you, kiddos!!!!

1. I Must Live Here

Hear, hear.

Thanks, Maisie!

Maisie Haney


Maisie Haney is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Art History major at Rollins College, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

See more of Maisie's journey in London. 

Learn More about the CAPA London Program

Topics: London, England, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations