More than two weeks have passed since our crew’s last day in London! I never thought I’d experience more sleep deprivation than I did during our last week in London, but I did, and the source has been the combination of Beijing and Shanghai, China. Living in China has been another eye-opening experience; you learn so much by immersing yourself in an entirely different culture as you scour a city for landmarks and famous restaurants, talk to people (in 70% Chinese, 20% English, and 10% hand gestures), and even flip through TV channels. I have never traveled to three different continents within the span of a single summer and am happily worn out, just like my passport.
I do have some closing words for our London trip though!
My experience at the Fulbright Summer Institute at King’s College London has been the most rewarding three weeks of my life as of yet. I was lucky to realize early on that—to paraphrase the last line of Kassie’s own Fulbright application—the people here would make the experience spectacular. Having our Wonderland literature module each morning gave our three weeks in London structure, and our tutor and peers were creative and insightful. I appreciate how Victoria made our class a safe forum so people felt comfortable sharing ideas, and she created diversity in the activities we engaged in, so many students actively participated. My favorite London moment was watching the Drury Lane Theatre production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—it was like watching so many themes from our children’s literature course coalesce. (Harrods, you’re a close second. But this play brought forward a blizzard of emotions and childhood memories.)
Finally, I have learned so much from the four girls who I traveled with—I have already written them an effusive email (ok, I just did this two days ago), but my blog contributions would not be complete without a final shoutout to our KCL Fulbright crew. It’s been a blast exploring London with Kassie, Jess, Stephanie, and Emily. We bleary-eyed but eagerly explored the 3:15 A.M. showing of the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum on our last day in London. We’ve learned how to not forget to ask for a check at the end of a meal. We’ve learned how to navigate the tube system—in London, the world is literally your Oyster card. Along the way, we’ve learned so much about each other—and, from each other, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves. I remember writing in my Fulbright application a lot about storytelling—how the module was centered on storytelling, and how I wanted to hear, exchange, and create stories with the other Fulbrighters. So a huge thanks to these girls for all of our good memories and laughs! Another huge thanks to the Fulbright Commission and King’s College London for making our three weeks memorable!
An added snippet: for our Fulbright closing session, we created a four minute video highlighting some of our favorite experiences in London. Below are the preface and closing sections that Kassie inspired me to write!
Five girls traveled to London in the summer of 2015,
One from West Virginia, one from D.C.; one from Kansas, two from Jersey
Thanks to the Fulbright Commission our coalition went on a mission
To serve as ambassadors exchanging currency and traditions
So here are our stories from exploring London with the British:
From theatre shows, museums, Harry Potter and Quidditch
Our summer’s been as rewarding as getting your bachelor’s degree
This story of stories starts with Jess, a metaphor, and a cup of coffee
With an international perspective and learning from what other people think, do, and say
Our objective is from the collective cultures we’ve seen that shape us in every way
Thanks to Fulbright and KCL for everything in between this scheme of rhymes
Our group’s mosaic of stories means so much to us: shared memories and good times.
That was our poem—now that’s a (w)rap!
So that’s a wrap, everyone! Thanks for reading along and joining us this summer. Best wishes to next year’s KCL Fulbright crew—good times await.