Study Abroad With Rec Sports: London
This Education Abroad trip is the culture of London, and the United Kingdom; however, it would not be farfetched to include European culture as a whole with how involved the continent is in athletics and politics internationally. The various tours, including the Olympic sites, Trafalgar square, athletic competitions, and theater, will provide an excellent in-depth presentation of a lifestyle different than what I have grown accustomed to in the United States.
While completing my STEP Signature Project I engulfed myself in countless experiences that I had never done before. These new experiences brought me to realize many new realms of my personality and interests that I had never given thought to. The most prominent self-discovery I made was my passion for immersing myself into environments that are extremely rich in diversity. I found that I was able to absorb so many different cultures and personal characteristics by simply being around other people different than myself.
Additionally, I was very surprised by how kind the majority of the people with whom we interacted from London were to our group. It is not uncommon to hear that others do not like people from the United States, however I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming most of the people were to our group.
There were several different situations that had large effects on my ability to absorb different cultures. The hotel where our group stayed was located in an area that was surrounded by a very diverse population. On the street there were restaurants with cuisine from all over the world that gave an authentic feel in each atmosphere. Portobello Market, a street market close to our hotel, was a bustling area that had vendors selling anything from fine antiques to energy drinks. The high energy charisma of the area made it feel as though it was no longer in London. It made it possible to truly appreciate what different vendors work, which was often handmade, and what each individual had to offer without feeling pressed for time.
Also, with the Kensington Gardens within steps of our hotel, it was as if there was a literal gateway into London’s everyday life. For example, every morning there would be people exercising in the park or simply sitting to enjoy the morning. Having Kensington Palace so close and open to the public to walk up to the gates and even tour inside was shocking based on how different it is for government officials in the United States. My appreciation for the Royal family grew significantly when I realized how involved they are in the lives of the people of the United Kingdom, rather than a figure head as some have described them before.
Our formal tea was a prominent example of kindness we received from others. It was quite obvious we were tourists in most situations we were in, especially our afternoon tea. None of the members from our group had ever been to a formal tea party so we were unaware of the procedures and social norms that concerned the staff and service we received. Thankfully, our servers were very gracious and patient with each of us. They were happy to explain different items that we were served and the significance of different courses. In addition to tea, our multiple tour guides were all very kind and welcoming in each encounter. They took our questions happily and gave us praise for participating and expressing our interests in their expertise.
Following this trip it has become even more important to me that I continue to travel and see other parts of the world. The diversity in London was only a small look into hundreds of different cultures, and it only made me want to learn more. Travel has always had a strong resonance within me, however now more than ever I am looking to go to new places and jump into new experiences. With my academics, it has helped me realize how much my particular career field is involved with the rest of the world. Even something as simple as changing currency was an excellent testament to how great the effects of different economies around the world have on each other. It reinforced my desire to have a career that allows for me to travel for business so that I can have a firsthand look at what the work I complete is doing in the long run. Travel has the ability to change individuals in ways that nothing else can, this trip was no exception and has truly helped me grow as a person.