“No day is ever the same”: a semester with the Centre-in-London program
April 25, 2013 By Deanna Walker ’15
stone circle, on a trip with a class. Walker has spent the spring
semester studying abroad with the Centre-in-London program.
“Each week in London is a balance of independent explorations
and trips organized by Centre,” Walker says. Above, with
classmates on a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon.
“I have become so much more independent since I have been
here,” Walker says, “and have learned so much.”
In this piece, Deanna Walker ’15 writes about living in the big city with the Centre-in-London program this semester.
London can be a curious place for a student who has never lived anywhere larger than Danville. The Tube system, the crowds and the global culture can all be overwhelming at first. If I were merely a tourist passing through over the course of a week or two, I would not be able to fully experience the city, let alone embrace it. However, through my study abroad experience with Centre College, I have been able to immerse myself in both British and city life.
My first indication that this was more than tourism came on the first night. Our professors gave us a grand tour of London, weaving us all through Tube stations and unfamiliar streets until we made it to the Thames River, allowing us to see the city lit up. At that point, they gave us a short chat and then released us to find our own way home. We were all a bit disoriented at first, but we used our resources to find a spot for dinner and eventually made it home. This served as an appropriate indicator of what would be expected of us in the weeks to come: independence.
At this point in my journey, I have truly begun to settle in. We have all certainly established our routines, which are made up of class, double-decker bus rides and our favorite ethnic food spots. However, no day is ever the same. London is a concentration of so much culture and history—you can practically do something new every day.
Each week in London is a balance of independent explorations and trips organized by Centre. Group trips have included Stonehenge, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Chatsworth House. Every trip we take is so rich in history and, of course, so much fun.
One of my favorite pastimes is visiting London’s many markets. These are great places to try new food, talk to vendors and barter for crafty goodies. I have also had so much fun exploring some of the museums. I’m constantly surprised by the fact that the Rosetta Stone, the Beowulf manuscript and pieces of the Parthenon are practically in my backyard.
Even our classes can sometimes seem larger than life. I have had the opportunity to learn about World War II in Winston Churchill’s War Room. I have studied British Theatre by seeing top West End shows. We have contemplated Kant’s theory of the sublime by standing next to the beautifully ornate St. Paul’s Cathedral. And I have learned the ins and outs of the British Government by an active London politician.
When I return home in a few short weeks, I will be faced with the impossible task of trying to summarize my trip into a few sentences for everyone who will ask. I step back and think about all the opportunities that I have had this semester and feel nothing but blessed. I have become so much more independent since I have been here, have learned so much, and today I feel like I am a part of the city’s hustle and bustle.
Want more first-person accounts of what it’s like to study abroad at Centre? Visit the Travel Journals page.
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Centre College, founded in 1819, is a nationally ranked liberal arts college in Danville, Ky. Centre hosted its second Vice Presidential Debate on 10.11.12, and remains the smallest college in the smallest town ever to host a general election debate. For more, click here.