Laura’s little blurb:
At the heart of many students’ Lawrence experience for nearly 40 years has been a term or two spent studying abroad at Lawrence’s own London Centre. London is known to the world as a cosmopolitan center of artistic, business, cultural and intellectual activity, which makes it an ideal setting for this Lawrence campus. Students gain Lawrence credit for experiential courses that encourage engaging the city as a primary source and using London as a text. Having been a student at the London Centre myself, and later working at the Centre for three years, I can attest to the potential for transformative personal and intellectual growth the London Centre offers students through courses, exploration and travel opportunities over the course of a term where you can truly become a Londoner.
Jen’s little blurb:
I studied at the London Centre spring term of my sophomore year despite harrowing tales of the buckets of rain London received in the spring. It was my first time overseas and first time out of the country if you don’t count a seventh-grade orchestra trip to Toronto and a whirlwind day just across the border in Mexico on a family vacation.
We were told upon arriving at Heathrow airport, which is like a secret British Airways-dominated clubhouse nowadays, to head into the city to the Gloucester Road tube stop via the Picadilly Line — “Blue” on that chaotic map of the London Underground.
I vividly remember the look on the face of the man at the airport info desk when I walked up and asked, na***umlaut i***vely, “Which way to Gloucester Road?”
He directed me, with the help of other chuckling information gurus at the desk, to the tube station connected to the airport. I spread out my plethora of baggage on the seats next to me on the empty train and opened my London Centre information packet for some last-minute reading.
It was less than a half an hour before people started crowding onto the train and asking me, in that token British politeness, to move my things. In no time, I was barely visible under my baggage as I tried desperately to keep it from falling on the people next to me. I stopped three times during the four-block walk down Gloucester Road to the London Centre, sweaty, exhausted and silently cursing myself for packing my entire life.
As I collapsed onto the steps of 7 Brechin Place, I felt as though I’d run a marathon, or at least journeyed farther than I ever had before. Ten weeks later, I was silently laughing to myself when I saw tourists on the train with their sprawling luggage and eyes fixated on the tube map I had practically memorized.
More than just a student abroad, during that term I became a Londoner. I overcame umbrella incidents and getting lost in less posh areas of London than South Kensington, I never left home without a newspaper and my ‘A to Z’ of the city. I knew how to pay with only coins, I said “Cheers” more than “Thanks,” and I knew that no matter what, I could get any night bus home from Trafalgar Square.
When I think back to those first moments in London, I am struck by how far I had come by the time I left. I realize how valuable of an experience it is to challenge your comfort zones, learn a new style of life and make the best out of any situation. However, one lesson I can’t seem to get through my head is that whole ‘packing light’ thing …
Almost three years later, I have travelled to 10 countries overseas and been back to London four times. As the new London Centre RHD, I am thrilled to begin sharing my experiences with Lawrence students who get to have those same feelings of uncertainty and excitement I felt when I first arrived.
More than any other aspect of Lawrence, I feel like studying at the London Centre influenced my life, attitude and confidence. I can’t wait to welcome this year’s students to London and I urge every Lawrentian to consider studying abroad, especially in the unique environment of an overseas sister campus like the London Centre!
Jen Cox ’08
Interested in getting more info about Lawrence’s London Centre? Look at the London Centre Web site http://www.lawrence.edu/academics/offcampus/london/. You can also contact Laura Zuege ’02, off-campus programs coordinator in the International House.
Laura’s little blurb: