By Blaine Weinmann
After a week of all-day, on campus, summer classes, the students of CEE London were ready to travel to England and begin our true study abroad experience. After arriving in London, it was a whirlwind traveling with peers and making our way to the hostel that would be a home away from home for the upcoming weeks. Everything was fresh and new, and there was so much to explore! After getting settled in the hostel, myself, and my soon to be new best friends, ran out of the door, hopped on the tube and started to explore all of the cliché tourist attractions; I think what we accomplished in an afternoon what most would do in a few days. We were so excited!
Our first day came to a close and then school work had to start again. The following day began our first field trip day in London, where our previous day of exploring came in handy because we were tasked on a city wide scholastic scavenger hunt and group bonding project. It was great being provided a true sense of freedom that taught us cultural awareness, as well as key navigation skills. Trips similar to this consumed 2 weekday afternoons a week and our mornings were occupied by coursework and classes. Our class field trips led us to see various historic parts of the city that I would never have thought to imagine. We did everything from a private Emirates Stadium tour to a special Brunel Tunnel tour under and around the Thames. Nights and weekends were spent traveling around the city, making new friends, and exploring other parts of the world.
Weekend trips were a must in my book! Paris was number one on my to-do list, after having planned it for months, my best friend and I took the Chunnel from London to Paris and it was trip I would not trade for anything. Our short trip started with a day in Disney Land Paris and then took transit into the city. After checking into the hotel, we immediately headed to the Arc de Triomphe and randomly ran into some of our peers. The rest of the day was spent was spent hitting all of the stops and ending with climbing up to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica to watch the sunset over the city. I also traveled to Denmark one weekend to meet a long-time friend, and learned a valuable lesson that the trains to the airport do not run at 3 am. And then myself and some of my 4100 course peers took an impromptu 24-hour trip to Amsterdam, which was truly a dream.
Overall, my experience was one that I would not trade for anything in the world; making lifelong friends in my favorite city in the world.