Earlier this week, I returned from a Spring Break Study Abroad trip with the College to London, England! This was certainly the trip of a lifetime & I can’t wait to tell you more about it. Every year, the College of Pharmacy plans a spring break study abroad. These trips are coupled with a half-semester long class preceding spring break. During the course leading up to our London trip, we learned about the culture and history of England, the healthcare system in the UK, and what pharmacy education and practice are like. We also discussed the logistics of our group travel and make all necessary preparations for studying abroad. By the time our trip rolled around in mid-March, I was so excited to finally go! Here’s a brief summary of our trip, along with some pictures. I think you’ll notice that our itinerary was the perfect blend of pharmacy and cultural experiences!
- Day 1: Arrival!
- We landed in London in the morning, and went on a walking tour around Kensington. In the evening we had a group dinner at the Stanhope Arms, a traditional English pub!
- Day 2: Sight-seeing!
- Day 3: Westminster!
- In the morning, we went to see Westminster Abby! We had a guided tour of the church & I learned quite a bit about the Royal Family’s history. Around the block was Big Ben, so we had to stop for some photos!
- After lunch, we crossed the river to visit Guys & St. Thomas Hospital where a pharmacist gave us a presentation on healthcare in the UK and pharmacy residents gave us a tour of one of the hospital floors. It was really interesting to compare payment models as well as how pharmacy is practiced in an inpatient setting in the UK and US.
- After our tour, we walked a few blocks down to the London Eye. The views from the top of the Eye were incredible & I’ll let them speak for themselves.
- Day 4: Work and Play!
- In the morning we went to a community pharmacy called “Green Light” pharmacy. This was one of my favorite pharmacy sites! It was really incredible to get to see how community pharmacists were taking such an active role in patient care within Green Light.
- In the afternoon, we took a tour of the Tower of London. This is the castle where the Crown Jewels are held, and we got to see the Queen’s crown! Words cannot explain how impressive both the jewelry and this castel were.
- Day 5: Doesn’t get more London than this…
- Our pharmacy site today was the Royal Pharmaceutical Society –an organization committed to representing the profession of pharmacy in the UK. We learned about several practice initiatives that are propelling the pharmacy field forward in London.
- After our visit, we had some free time until a group dinner and a show. We saw “School of Rock” – yup, just like the movie. During the encore of the show, one of the Spice Girls, Mel C (“Sporty Spice”), came out on stage and sang Wannabe with the cast! It was so unexpected, but really cool to see!
- Day 6: A Day of Learning
- This day was all about learning! We first visited the UCL School of Pharmacy in Bloomsbury where we became familiar with how pharmacy school in London is structured. The second half of our day was at the British Museum. My favorite thing in the British Museum was definitely seeing the Rosetta Stone!
- Day 7: Winding down…
- On our last day, we had some free time before an afternoon tea (see below for the Queen-inspired cookies), so we went to Camden Market – an open-air market with over 1,000 vendors selling food, clothing, jewelry, and all sorts of trinkets. Though we only had the morning free, we covered a lot of ground and did a lot of shopping!
Like I said, this really was the trip of a lifetime! I feel so fortunate to have seen London with a pharmacy twist. Let me know if you’d like to see any more pictures or if you have any other questions about our trip! 🙂