What an exciting time to spend my first day in London, England. The UK voted the day before to leave the EU. What does this mean for tourists like myself? The exchange rate becomes much better. It went from 1 usd = .5 gbp to 1sd = .73 gbp overnight. The coordinators in my program as well as the officer who gave us a debriefing today were both disappointed in the final vote. There will be many changes for the UK and perhaps other places like Scotland.
Woke up today with a surprising amount of energy considering London is eight hours ahead of Oregon time and traveling over 28 hours the day before on only an hour of sleep. Toured the University of London center where I will start classes on Monday. We also got to meet our coordinators who are both lively, British-born ladies. They pointed out the differences of speech between American-English and British-English.
Tick = check mark. Tutors = teachers. The loo/toilet = bathroom.
An officer came in to tell us about crime in the city. He said it is one of the safest cities in the world. The only major crime is theft. Mainly men in their twenties targeting oblivious people for their phones. He said they will ride up on their mopeds and snatch your phone as you walk. So, he recommended stepping into a store doorway and not facing the street to use a phone. Also, putting a bag's arm under a chair. Then they can't kick it away. Some places even have hooks to hang bags on that will prevent the snatch and grab.
Continued on from the center to walk all over London with my new friend. I met her during our tour at the center. Her name is Zhexi and goes by Bella in the U.S. It was such fun getting to know the city with her. We went to the London Eye, Tower Bridge, watched the armed forces flag raising, saw Big Ben from afar, and got lost on the bus line. We practiced our British accents all day long. We ended our trip back at the dorm around 11:30pm. What a full and wonderful first day! We shall see what tomorrow brings. Perhaps my accent will get better. Maybe I'll try my first drink ever. Or maybe we'll get lost again. Who knows, but it's all a part of the journey.