I recently traveled to London, England during Spring Break 2016 with the Architecture Program at The Ohio State University. During the trip we got to visit, experience, and see all the beautiful architecture around London. I went to an architecture firm, OMA, and it was truly inspiring to get to see the amazing things architects are doing around the world.
While completing this STEP project I found out that I am an outgoing person that can be friends with nearly anyone. I made a lot of friends on the trip and I learned how to cope with new foods, new surroundings and more importantly new time zones. Everything I experienced was such a great experience, I really got to push myself and see what my limits are. I usually don’t think about other parts of the world unless I am reading something online or watching the news. This really opened my eyes to see what wonderful things are happening around the world architecturally and in general. I loved that I didn’t feel homesick and that I was honestly so happy the entire time I was there. I experienced such amazing things and I pushed myself in ways I never would have been able to in America.
The first full day my group was in London we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral. St. Paul’s Cathedral was extremely amazing because it showed the ways that architects built back in the day. What I found so interesting is that the architect Christopher Wren knew that London would be an up and coming city. He specifically made a small landing around the top of the dome so that people could go up there and see the beautiful city that London has become. I’m terrified of heights and this made me push myself because this is a once in a lifetime experience that I could not miss. That day was interesting because they specifically buried people in the Cathedral that were important or had meaning in the church. Surprisingly they were buried underneath the floors so that people could walk on their tombs. I was really freaked out by this but as time went on I learned that people thought of it as an honor. I tried to avoid their tombs to be respectful but they were specifically buried under the floors as a sign of respect. That experience really helped me learn myself because I knew I was terrified of heights but I found out that I can push myself past my fears.
One of the days we had a specific time set for “tea-time” which was at the National Gallery. This experience was extremely interesting and really made me see the differences in culture. London, England does not give free water or complimentary water. Every glass of water is 2 pounds which is about 4 dollars per water. Tea time was around noon and it was truly kind of overwhelming with the amount of people around me that wanted tea. This also made me realize how many different cultures there are. Most people in London like milk in their tea, however, Americans really like coffee. They had some Starbucks stores around the area which really surprised me but I was really glad they did. Tea time was enjoyable because they brought us tea that was specifically made in London and very popular. They brought deserts and sandwiches which were extremely small portioned. When experiencing the culture, I realized how big our proportions are in America compared to England. I left every meal in London and still was hungry. It amazed me how expensive it was for such a small amount of food. This was the first experience that made me have a culture shock. It helped me realize how different all the parts of the world are and it opened my eyes to try and look at experiences from other people’s perspectives.
Another event that happened that led to the transformation was when we went to the Architecture firm OMA. We talked to a woman that went to Ohio State University for her Undergraduate degree then got into Harvard to get her masters. She then was picked to do a double master’s program and the second masters was actually research. I had no idea that someone could get a second masters in research of architecture and she got her second masters in London. It was truly amazing to see the beautiful work she alone has done on top of the firm that she is working for. I was amazed that she moved from the United States over to London. When walking around the firm they were showing us the beautiful models they built and then they showed us the drawings they made which were incredibly amazing. They told us what they look for in architecture students and it made me realize how much I love architecture not only in America but around the world as well. These three main experiences taught me so much about myself and about the differences around the world. I loved studying abroad and I hope to do it again.
This change in culture and experience are significant to my life in many ways. For example, I pushed myself when dealing with my worst fear, heights, during one of the best experiences of my life. I never would have experienced that if I didn’t push myself. I taught myself how to deal with other situations like figuring out the Tube, trying other foods that are unique to their culture, while also finding myself. I got to see the goals I want to have in the future and that I hopefully will have. I want to travel the world and more importantly I want to be an intelligent, successful Architect like Zaha Hadid. I think this experience has made me grow as a student because it taught me how to prioritize my time while still getting all my work done. I loved every experience and every moment of studying abroad. It made me the person I am today and for that I am forever grateful for the STEP Signature Project.
The link above is the link that was all about the class. I wrote multiple blogs on there and have put a lot of photos on that blog as well. There are videos that one of the professors made about the first couple days!
This picture was of my friends and I at St. Paul’s Cathedral.