Monday, 20 October 2014

London Myth Busters

Well, I am a little over the halfway mark for my stay in London, and I can proudly say that I have learned so much about the culture in such a short period of time. 

Before arriving to London, I had a few expectations about the lifestyle. I thought British food would be awful, Londoners only drink tea, the British people are standoffish, and that it would rain all the time. Let me tell you, I was soooo wrong.
British food is not awful, there is too much of a variety of food for it to be awful.  You can find anything from Indian curry to Fish’n’Chips to a hot dog. Some of the best places to have lunch? The local markets!  Walking around the markets with a nice baked good in my hand while browsing the other foods on display is one of my favorite activities to do in London.  BUT, I will say this.....the Mexican food here is not like at home; nothing like home. My friends and I bought guacamole from the store and it looked like this;

I question myself and ask if there are actual avocadoes in this plastic, squeezable bottle!
One of the many markets in London
I don't know what this is but it was so delicious!
Londoners only drink tea. Once again, I was wrong.....I find that more people drink coffee here than tea.  It seems that every other shop I walk past is a coffee shop.  One of my favorite places to have coffee is a modern, hipster independent coffee shop called “Shoreditch Grind”.

So far, I have had some of the best experiences with the British people.  The other day while I was waiting for my bus, I had a conversation with a man and I discovered that he had recently visited America, so I asked him, “What do you miss most about America?”  His response – “the CORN MUFFINS!!”.  He doesn’t miss the warm weather? Beaches? Mexican food? Cute American girls? But he misses the corn muffins?! Are you serious? I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.  The locals are actually quite funny and always willing to help.

As for my assumption about the rain, I discovered that the weather is absolutely unpredictable.  For the first 4 weeks, London was nothing but sunshine. Flo even joked that Jay and I (the Californians) had packed the sun in our suitcases and brought it to London.  Now, as Autumn is taking its course, it does rain, but not for very long. Sometimes it will pour for 20 minutes while other times the clouds will sprinkle for 5 minutes, it all depends on how God is feeling that day. I used to check my weather app every day, but now, I see no point.
Jumping in the puddles on the way to school.

Some days, I forget that I am in London because it feels like home. I am a Londoner now and I have never been happier.


This blog entry is from Monica Hamilton.  For more from Monica, check out her blog at;

Friday, 17 October 2014

October 13, 2014

Agh, it’s Monday, again. But, never fear, for it’s another day in London.
This weekend was very exciting as I had the chance to link up with several photographers from London. Ever since I’ve been on Instagram and have been traveling, I always make it a goal to meet some of the locals from wherever it is I am.
Last Saturday evening, I met up with four guys by the names of: Rich, JC, Esubmiah, and Tobi. When I had the initial meeting with them, it was exactly what I had expected, very friendly people that all share a taste in photography.

We spent the entire evening roaming around London and just taking pictures of whatever comes to our eye. It was great getting to know them and learning their perspective of London as well as what they thought about photography in Los Angeles.
I’m a bit saddened by the fact that I met them this far into my stay, but I’m hoping to have many more opportunities to shoot and get to know them better.
Today was a very mellow day, as it rained all afternoon and is continuing to pour as I type these words. I spent the evening in a coffee/tea shop named Yumchaa that Charli recommended. I have to admit, the atmosphere is great when you want to accomplish something or just productively allow your creative juices to flow.
I feel very organized when I’ve done something with my time, other than surf the internet. Along with finishing up some homework, finding new music, and taking a look at the shots (PICTURES NOT ALCOHOL) I took over the weekend, I came across some concerts I was interested in. 
I found tickets for Porter Robinson and Slow Magic, along with a massive amount of other guests, and of course I immediately bought them. After posting this entry, I’ll probably head back to the flat, shower, and catch up on The Walking Dead as the new season just aired last night!
Monday has treated me well, so far.
This blog entry is from Justin Hien.  For more from Justin, check out his blog at

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

5 Weeks Down, 5 To Go

This week marks the halfway point into my studies here in London. At some points, life seems so surreal - I really cannot believe that I have been here this long! The homesickness is definitely prevalent sometimes but it doesn’t compare to the amazing time I am having. My close friends from home, Alyssa and Austin, gave me a journal as a going away gift to document my time while here. I’ve been writing in it consistently everyday. I describe everything from the fascinating outings I go on, like Stonehenge and the Roman Baths to the simple calm moments I have just embracing the atmosphere here. I am not one to write my feelings, only my experiences. I write in it to have something to look back on later in life; using it as an extensive memory of my young travels.
I have always had the urge to travel and explore the globe. I guess I have my parents to thank for that; I am so lucky they gave me the opportunity to experience different cultures in the world at such a young age. Those travels set a fire within me; with age it grows, longing to learn more, see more. If I have learned one thing from this experience so far, it is that I am so incredibly eager to grasp the world which is at my fingertips.
The world is so vast. Why would one not want to discover all the edges, hidden spaces and open places? My life fulfilment will not be reached until I uncover as much as I can.
This blog entry is from Rylee Leavitt.  For more from Rylee, check out her blog at;

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

6 Reasons to Visit Iceland

1. The view of downtown Reykjavik from the top of a church tower.

2. The soothing sound of the Faxafoss waterfall.

3. The unique Blue Lagoon, and its relaxing flow of warm spring water. 4. The picturesque landscape and pure isolation of Icelandic nature.
5. Snow!

6. Friendly wild horses.

This blog entry is from Alexander Aprahamian.  For more from Alex, check out his blog at

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

One euro, one euro, one euro?

One of the incredible things on the endless list of adventures to do while studying in London is the opportunities we have for traveling. Earlier this week, my mom and best friend came to London to visit, so we decided to take a trip to Paris for the weekend. Which still baffles me that simply hopping on the train and going to another country for the weekend while I’m here is a casual thing.

Nonetheless, we had a memorable time. Paris is beautiful city, generally at the tourist attractions, but beautiful regardless. We navigated our way through the incomprehensible metro stations, and managed to hit every destination we had planned. From getting lost in the Musée du Louvre, admiring the Notre Dame, posing in front of the Moulin Rouge, dodging every person holding a bottle of champagne or a ring of cheap Eiffel Tower key chains repeating one euro a thousand times before you say no, and having wine and baguettes with cheese in the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower, being as cliche and picturesque as we could possibly be. What else are you supposed to do in Paris?

Even though staying the weekend in Paris was a great adventure and a pretty fantastic way to spend my weekend, I couldn’t wait to get home to London. Other than missing the grand simplicity, there’s just something about London that will always draw me back.
This blog entry is from Jessica Clemons.  For more from Jessica, check out her blog at

Monday, 6 October 2014

Week One in London

Hello, my name is Brandon and I’m a student ambassador for the group from Foothill and De Anza Colleges in California that is now studying in London for Fall Quarter 2014. The program is run by AIFS, or American Institute of Foreign Studies, and thanks to them we get to spend ten weeks in one of the greatest cities in the world. They provide classrooms where we learn from our school’s own faculty, we live with local host families in London, and they arrange a cultural calendar of events for us to enjoy during our time here. For example, we’ve already had a guided bus tour around the city as well as a Pub Quiz for free! Later on in the quarter there are day trips to other cities and landmarks around England, nights out at the theater, and even weekend trips to other European countries.
Our group arrived at Heathrow Airport in London last Sunday. AIFS made sure we were all on the same flight and even had a member of their staff at the airport to pick us up and bring us all to our host families. My roommate, Jake, and I are living with a retired couple in a part of northern London called Muswell Hill. Along with a place to sleep, AIFS host families provide daily breakfast, access to a kitchen for our own cooking, and use of their laundry facilities. The commute to AIFS and our classrooms is about 30-40 minutes by a combination of bus and subway, both of which are included in the cost of the program. On Monday we had a day of orientation put on by AIFS staff which also included a briefing by a London police officer followed by the guided bus tour I mentioned earlier.
Classes began on Tuesday with our professors from back home. Our schools are offering classes in English Literature as well as Theater (I stuck with all English Lit classes) in addition to one course that we’ll all take together about British Life and Culture that starts in our second week. Normally classes will run Monday through Thursday and we get Friday’s off but on the first Friday we met with AIFS staff to discuss our first week. We talked about cultural difference, safety tips, dealing with homesickness, and other things that came up after week one. Then we received a talk from Andy Steves, son of travel author and TV personality Rick Steves. Andy gave us loads of very helpful tips and advice on how to make the most of our time while studying abroad. He shared some great ways to not only stay safe but to save money and plan weekend trips around Europe.
I decided to finish up my first week in England with a Saturday trip to Liverpool. The train ride was about two hours each way. I met up with a friend from back home who just happened to be there as well. We walked around the city and had lunch before heading to Anfield to catch Liverpool’s famous soccer team in action. After enjoying a 2-1 victory we each went our separate ways. I found a little pub to have some dinner in before getting back on the train to London. Not bad for my first week in a new country and now I can’t wait for our second week to begin!
This blog entry is from Brandon Stone.  For more from Brandon, check out his blog at; 

Friday, 3 October 2014

Street Art in London


Although no work from the ever elusive BANKSY, A stroll through Chalk Farm Road, Camden Market and adjoining canals reveal several amazing pieces by UK “Street Artists”. 

This blog entry is from Emanuel Doublin. For more from Emanuel, check out his blog at