Seven Months in London

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Tower Bridge, London, England

Addie Beck wasn’t thrilled about getting up at dawn and standing the freezing rain, but she figured this was the sort of event she came to London to experience. And it paid off. After a 12 hour wait outside the Royal Opera House, she got to meet Mark Gatiss, Stephen Fry, and Bradley Cooper, while coming mere inches from Christian Bale and Leo DiCaprio.

Beck is one of the rare Santa Clara students who spends more than one semester abroad. The junior English major got a lot out of her extended stay in Europe, but it also makes returning to the United States a bigger adjustment.

 London is the largest city in the United Kingdom in distance, with a bustling and diverse population. With a city that is known for its rich history, great museums, countless shows, red double-decker buses, Big Ben, and Indian curry, London is the ideal city for any study abroad student.

Why London? Beck was really interested in literature, art, and music, all of which London is known for, she said. With the quarter system at Santa Clara University, it is difficult for students to study abroad for longer than one quarter. She says, “I wanted to be there for longer than a quarter so it would really feel like I was living there,” and that is just what she did.

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Addie at Stonehenge

Halfway through her fall session in London, she received her acceptance for another quarter in her newly beloved city. She mentions, “By the second quarter, I knew my way around the city, and it was a very different experience from the first quarter.”

For the 2013-2014 school year, Santa Clara University sent 43 students for Summer 2013, 312 students for Fall 2013, 92 students for Winter 2014 (16 on spring semester programs and 76 on winter quarter programs), and 1 student for Spring 2014. Overall, only three students were accepted to study abroad for longer than one quarter.

She recounts on her academic experiences, too. The fall quarter provided many more academic courses to choose from, compared to the winter. In addition to her History of Music in 20th Century Britain, History of Modern Design, and Shakespeare & Elizabethan Literature, she held two international internships during her time.

In the fall, she interned for Ultra DJ Management and made many valuable connections in an industry she is potentially interested in for the future. In the winter, she interned at 15billion, a non-profit education business partnership, which provided her with another great experience.

Even after seven long months, it did not seem like long enough for her. She remembers experiencing more culture shock coming home from London than going there. This experience has forever changed her.

“I have gotten to go to more concerts and plays than I ever could have imagined. I could walk from my flat to the V&A Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Albert Hall, or Hyde Park in a matter of minutes. There is so much going on constantly in London, it is truly impossible to be bored.”

As a genuine smile appeared across her face, she took a deep breath in and said, “I do not have any regrets, which was my initial goal when I first left for London. There were a lot of things I did not have time to do, but I am already making a list of what I still want to see and do when I go back some day… very, very soon, hopefully.”

–Kathryn Luna

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