“Mind the Gap,” the British voice said. As my peers and I rushed on the Tube, I was fascinated by the similarities with the Metro in DC…except that I was in London, studying abroad, and so clearly an American tourist.
And though it’s hard to balance homework, plays and theatrical performances for this British research class, it’s amazing! Even if it’s a winter term, only lasting for two and a half weeks, there’s enough time during breaks and weekends to visit famous places, like: Paris, Stonehenge, Soho and National Theater, the Globe and Stratford-upon Avon, Piccadilly and Oxford Circus, the Tower of London, and the list keeps going!
There’s just something about walking on the streets that Prince William and Kate proceeded on in front of Westminster, witnessing the beauty of Buckingham Palace, taking backstage tours of the theaters containing sets which you will be seeing in a live production only hours later…this is the privilege of study abroad.
In class I was taught that there are six different “stages” of tourist consciousness, where we sometimes believe we are seeing the “backstage” authentic cultural avenues, when we’re seeing a polished front. But I’ve noticed that even becoming more familiar with your area or foreign city is such a huge sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, making friends that are from Mason that due to its versatility and size, have never crossed paths, is a whole new opportunity and concrete way to bring this experience back home.
So, as I whip out my camera and photograph the craziness of London, I am accumulating memories of an experience that can never be lost and that I am forever trying to solidify and make immortal.
Fun fact: The Tower Bridge is larger and more popular than the London Bridge!