(By Sara Bouhamid–June 13, 2022)
As my flight descended into London, I was overcome with awe. Gazing at the aerial view of the sunrise over scintillating glass buildings, I could not believe that I would be living among these monuments over the next six weeks. I was told that London was very similar to New York City, though I didn’t expect there to be such an uncanny resemblance. My new home, the FSU study center, reminded me of Williamsburg neighborhood in New York regarding the architecture. I am eager to explore this new place and uncover more similarities and differences in my new community.
My first task upon arrival was to retrieve a package I ordered before orientation started. While this may seem like a menial detail to include, this was truly my first introduction to the layout of London. I walked down the winding roads and alleyways, and took note of the surplus of Arabic, Middle Eastern and Asian restaurants on every corner. I did not expect London to be so diverse, and I hope to learn more about the blend of cultures in this new community. On my route, I traversed a small park that was nearly full of people lounging on the grass in large groups. Green spaces like these are very common in London, and I wondered how the municipalities are able to keep all of these parks so well maintained. The inclusion of green space is a virtue for many global cities, and I have begun to perceive the sense of community that these spaces provide.
While I am here, I will be taking a course in Psychology and Art. However, this course will not be like my regular psychology classes at FSU. Rather than learning in the classroom, we will be combining lectures with excursions to museums in London. These experiential learning opportunities are enticing, and I am excited to learn more about the culture and history of London through these projects.
I scheduled my courses so that I will be finished with class at 1pm each day, so I am not too worried about maintaining my schedule. So far, I have found enough time to explore and even work on my thesis a bit during our Wednesday break. While time is not too much of an issue, I have found it a bit difficult to remain aware of my responsibilities because I am so immersed in my surroundings. On our first excursion to the British museum, the Ancient Egypt exhibit totally engrossed me. After examining each artifact in the exhibit, I had realized that my group had moved on without me! Who would have thought that being too engaged in my work could pose a difficulty? Nonetheless, I am glad that this is the only obstacle that I have encountered so far.
As for my thesis work, it has been difficult to contact my thesis director due to the five-hour time difference. However, I think that there is a positive aspect of this. Rather than focusing too narrowly on compiling information for my prospectus draft, I can explore the area and connect aspects of my experience to my thesis in a more organic manner.