This week my main focus is going to be food in London. There are several different kinds of places you can get food such as pubs, bars, restaurants, and street food. London is a big city, and there is no reason to ever go hungry. Before heading to London I was warned that the food wasn’t going to be too good, but I really have not had a problem since getting here. Sure, every once and a while there is a restaurant that is a complete flop, but that happens in America too.
Two of the most popular dishes that are unique to London are meat pies as well as fish and chips. On our first day here, we started our trip with meat pies. Since then several of us have gone out to local pubs to get meat pies, a choice of chicken or steak and ale, with a side of mashed potatoes, peas, and a boat of gravy. It can be difficult to find an amazing fish and chips meal, but there are endless options throughout the London area.
One of my favorite pubs to grab a bite to eat is The Wellington. There are two located fairly close to the flats, with drinks being served even after the kitchen closes down. We sometimes will go as a group and get several starters to share among us. The starters are very similar to America, with wings, fries, and nachos at the top of the list. The John Salt pub is definitely at the top of my list, but I still have plenty of time to explore more places.
When I’m craving a sweet treat, my favorite go-to is gelato. Yes, this is London and not Italy (although I definitely will still get gelato when we go to Rome!), but there are some delicious options out there. At Amorino, you can get gelato in the shape of a flower. They offer several flavors and you can put together any combination you desire.
It is actually surprising how many American restaurants you can find while wandering the streets of London. There are plenty McDonald's, Five Guys, and Shake Shack. You can even go to Chipotle for a burrito, but my personal choice would be the UK version called Tortilla. During the lunch hours of 10-2 you can find plenty of street vendors selling anything from pasties to Thai food. It all smells amazing, but you have to be careful that they aren’t a phony vendor. It is recommended to look and make sure that there is a license on the stand before making a purchase. This weekend I will be heading to Germany. I can’t wait to try new food and compare it to the food here in London.
This week was the first week of internships for everyone in the SWSB London program. To start kick off the internships we had a networking event with alumni in the London area on Tuesday night. Dr. Rousu traveled across the pond to join us for a night of fun and socializing. While at the networking event we met with 6+ alumni over delicious food and drinks at the John Salt pub. With so many people from Susquehanna in one room, I almost forgot I was in London! Some of the alumni have been in London for over 18 years, while others made the move just six short months ago. Several of the alumni said it was the London program that encouraged them to travel and now work abroad. After talking to them I now have a desire to hopefully work in a foreign country some day, even for a short amount of time.
Wednesday was the first day of work. At around 8:40 I hopped on the bus and headed to work. One major difference with work here in London versus America are the work day hours. My workday starts at 9:30 am and runs until 5:30 pm, with an hour break in the middle of the day. Other students don’t start their internships until 10 am. Back in the U.S. I would report to work between 8-8:30 every day and would stay until 5:30. Here in London there is no rush to get to work in the morning, which means more sleep for us!
Once entering my office, I was shocked to see the layout. My office is the size of a classroom, with desks scattered throughout the room. There are no high walls to isolate everyone, so it is easy to communicate and keep open relationships with other employees. The CEO sits at the same kind of desk I do, right across the room from me. At no point have they made me feel like there is a hierarchy that I need to follow. The CEO allows me to go directly to her with any questions I have. I wish that the US would adopt this form of office setting, it makes it much easier to collaborate as a team.
EducAid is a great fit for me, I’m glad that they were willing to offer me an internship. In addition to doing financial work for them, I am also learning to think in new ways. My first task at work was to lay out a plan for their volunteer process. These are skills that will help me be a more well-rounded business woman, not just an accountant with my nose in the books. The nonprofit sector is much different than the corporate world I had experience in this summer. The internships are a major addition to the SWSB London program, and I am glad they decided to start them during my time in London.
While at my internship I was a little too busy to take photos, so instead I have attached some from during my free time. Enjoy!
This week allowed no rest for the weary, we have been on the move every day since Sunday. On Sunday we headed out into the country side to tour Chapel Down Winery. A lot of us were skeptical as to whether the trip would be worthwhile, but it ended up being our favorite day trip thus far. We learned the business behind the winery, and techniques they use to target their preferred market. After a tour of the vineyards and a quick business lesson we spent time taste testing the wine. This was my personal favorite part of the trip. I enjoy a nice glass of wine from time to time, but now I will have a deeper understanding as to what goes into each bottle of wine and how to tell if it is truly a good wine.
Monday it was our responsibility to take the tube or train out to Wimbledon, where we met as a group to tour Wimbledon stadium. I have heard of Wimbledon in the past, and even seen some tennis being played on TV, but I never realized the true size. Wimbledon is comprised of over 50 grass tennis courts, all of which are finely kept the entire year. Most courts will only be used two weeks out of the entire year, but there is much more to Wimbledon than the Championships. We learned the techniques used to acquire the money needed to upkeep the entire grounds, as well as pay the athletes. Wimbledon has such an amazing reputation that they have companies supply them with the goods they need, AND they pay Wimbledon for using their products. Talk about smart business!
As I write this blog, I’m sitting on a coach bus traveling through Ireland. When deciding to travel to London with SWSB, I never thought that I would visit Ireland. As part of the program we will have two major trips, one to Ireland and one to Rome. The program paid for our transportation, hotel room, and tours. We arrived in Ireland on Wednesday, then drove to Galway where we spent two nights. Galway was one of the cutest small towns that I have visited. Within a few miles you could walk to clothing stores, souvenir shops, and of course plenty of pubs. What made Galway so different than London was the close proximity to everything. In London if you want to hop from pub to pub you could be walking for miles. In Galway you could walk out of one pub, and walk right across the street into another. On Thursday we toured Inish Mor on bike, thanks to the generosity of the school. The tour was completely self guided, but the pictures do no justice for the beautiful sights on the island.
To end our trip to Ireland we headed down to Killarney. On the way we stopped at the famous Cliffs of Moher. The visit was almost too short; we were having such a great time taking pictures while climbing up the 702 ft. cliffs. Some kids got so close to the edge I thought they were going to fall off. At the top of the cliffs it was so windy it felt like we were in the middle of a hurricane. The Cliffs of Moher are a must see when visiting Ireland. Saturday we wrapped up our journey by doing the Ring of Kerry, a scenic driving route through the county of Kerry. Along the route we stopped to take breathtaking photos and even saw a sheepdog demonstration. I never realized how much work goes into training the dogs, and how smart the dogs truly are. We are now headed back to London for a while. I am looking forward to Wednesday, the first day of my internship at EducAid.
The first week in London has been extremely eventful, and there is still so much more to do. On Sunday we did a panoramic tour of London, hitting up some major sites. The first stop on our tour was the Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. After hopping off the bus we were able to walk around and see more sites, such as Buckingham Palace. We were able to walk right down the center of the road to the front of the palace. With the queen gone to her summer home for the next month there is a change to tour the palace in the future as well.
Tuesday was our first day of classes, so around 8 we headed to the Monticello House which is about a 30-40-minute walk from the flats. There is the option to take a bus, but walking allows for better sight seeing. The Sigmund Weis London program is different than the other GO Long study abroad programs offered by the school. One professor travels along with the group, and we have several other professors from the London area that teach our classes. Our program is not associated with any university but Susquehanna. The curriculum consists of a British History and Culture, Global Business Ethics, Seminar in European Business, and British Theatre. The best part about the British Theatre class is that we actually get to enjoy watching plays at the theatres located throughout London.
One of my personal favorite activities from the first week in London was the High Tea we went to on Thursday afternoon. London is known for having tea time, and we were able to try it out for ourselves. We were offered cocktails to start the meal, which were followed by different teas, pastries, and finger sandwiches. It was great to participate in afternoon tea, just like you see in the movies.
To end our great first week in London, we headed to Twickenham for double header rugby matches. Rugby is one of the most popular sports in London, which was evident by the fans there to see the match. At some points I almost felt like I was sitting at a Penn State football game with the familiar songs such as “Sweet Caroline” playing over the loud speakers.
In our spare time, we went on short excursions to local attractions such as the London Eye and small street fairs. Next week, the group will be heading to Ireland for a long weekend!
And we are off! All the students in the Sigmund Weis London program met at the Philadelphia Airport on Friday to start our journey to London. The entire group traveled together from the United States to London. During the semester we will be learning as a group and traveling to various countries to learn more about European culture. We will travel as a group to Ireland and Rome, but we will also do several small excursions around the London area. All 19 of us will be participating in an internship that suits our majors and preferences. This fall I will be interning with EducAid Sierra Leone, a nonprofit organization that raises funds and collects donations to better education in the Sierra Leone area. I am excited to learn new business techniques while also helping with a great cause.
After an almost seven-hour flight to London we landed in what resembled Pennsylvania fields. Shortly after getting off the plane it was evident that it was nothing like the city we took off from. Once getting settled in we had lunch at Doggett’s and did a self guided walk through the city to see what it has to offer. I’m very excited to check out the rest of London during my first week here!
My name is Megan Duck and I am a student at Susquehanna University.