Greetings from London!

 

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Hi, my name is Ariana Sanchez and I am an Apparel Merchandising and Management (AMM) student currently studying in London, England for Spring quarter 2017. I transferred to Cal Poly Pomona in the fall quarter of 2015 after I completed my Associate’s degree in Fashion Merchandising from Chaffey Community College. When I was looking for a Bachelor’s program the retail track interested me in the AMM department, but the London study abroad program won me over. Three of my closest friends have studied abroad in England and I had been considering doing a study abroad program after hearing their positive experiences.

The AMM study abroad program provides the opportunity to intern, live, and study in central London. In class, the coursework emphasizes on fast fashion retailing, apparel marketing research, and field study. With Monday’s and Friday’s dedicated to class, we spend the remaining three days interning at a London-based fashion company.

I have really enjoyed my time at Cal Poly Pomona and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to immerse myself in the culture of this city. With the help of my friend’s recommendations and multiple travel websites (X, X, X), I have compiled a list of things I want to do and places I want to go during my program:

  • Visit another European country (or two)
  • Afternoon tea
  • Go to a concert
  • Harry Potter studio tour
  • Platform 9 ¾
  • London eye
  • Kew Gardens
  • Visit museums! (British Museum, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Natural History Museum, National Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, etc.)
  • Big ben
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Walk along the Thames river
  • Sunday roast
  • Go to an English pub
  • Eat fish and chips
  • Send postcards to family and friends
  • Buckingham Palace
  • See the changing of the guards
  • Visit banquet records
  • Tower Bridge tour
  • St. Paul’s cathedral
  • Picnic in park
  • View from the shard
  • Harrods
  • Abbey Road
  • See a play

In the short three weeks that I have been here, I have already been able to cross some things off of my list:

Typical touristy photo in front of Big Ben

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First concert, Ella Eyre at Koko 

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And we got the setlist!

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Hampton Court Palace day trip with my roommate and our professor

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Oh, and I also decided I’m going to get my masters at Hogwarts

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It has been a fun-filled couple of weeks and I can’t wait to share the rest of my adventures with you all!

 

 

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Reflections

I have been in Scotland for almost four months now and I would say that is a great time for reflection on my time here. There are moments in life where one could say that they have an adventure of a life time and I can honestly say that this has happened.

Going back to the beginning I will admit that it was a scary decision for sure (how could it not be?). I had a 20+ hour journey with three different airports (four including LAX) and no sleep the entire time. My first day was kind of a blur as I tried to figure out life and more importantly… food.

And coming here in the middle of winter? How crazy could a person be to do such a thing especially if they live in CA where the sun always shines? I must admit that is one thing that has really been asked of me when people find out that I am an international student. They also find it crazy that I enjoy the cold so that was one of the factors that made me want to come but with me coming at this time I have been able to see what the arrival of spring properly looks like. Between cloudy days and temperamental rain of course.

I also got to see a lot of snow and be caught in a couple of small snow flurries so take that So Cal! (Don’t worry, I still love you though).

There are so many little details that you grow to enjoy while you are overseas. For example, when it comes to grocery shopping there are times where you don’t know if the store will have this type of cheese next week (for some reason that varies so much each week). It becomes an mini adventure on it’s own.

Exploration is another key part of going abroad. In a city like Glasgow there is a lot to see and do. Traveling outside the city is also very much an option and everywhere you go it is like you are traveling to somewhere completely new. Edinburgh is the other major city that I have traveled to. It manages to capture a different feel than Glasgow has or Dunbar or any of the other smaller cities that I have been to.

Classes are different as well. More is picked for you and your major is laid out in a set path for you. Unlike back home there is not as much freedom in what you chose to take for classes or who is your professor. Assignments can also be nonexistant or if you do have a lot of assignments you may not even have to take a final. This is quite a strange feeling (I have to take finals for all my classes though, didn’t get lucky with that) as with my home university, we were expected to keep up on assignments, midterms (whenever they may be and sometimes multiple ones), hold down a job or two, commute to university, and still function well enough to possibly join a club or two and take your finals at the end. All in all, it’s a bit lighter here with course work.

I could go on for pages into what I have learned and done but I will finish with one last question. Would I do it over again? Absolutely. Coming from someone who has never gone to a public school until University and has rarely done anything on her own this trip has taught me a lot about not only myself but also about the world outside of my state and country.