This past week, my core course “Strategic Communications” went to London, England … the land of “God Save the Queen,” “cheerio,” Mary Poppins, tea and HARRY POTTER. We did all the touristy London things and became true Brits for the week.
Day 1: Arrival in London !
On Sunday, my Strategic Communications class hopped on a plane and flew to London, England. We checked into our hotel (one with a bed so nice I wanted to take it home with me) and then set out on our first cultural activity: a Notting Hill Walking tour. If you haven’t seen the Julia Roberts/Hugh Grant romantic comedy, Notting Hill is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in London. It is famous for more than just Hugh Grant’s bookshop. Notting Hill is home to the vibrant Portobello Market and many extravagant celebrity houses. Next, we had Fish and Chips! I can confidently say that fish and chips qualify as one of my favorite foods in the entire world (and London makes them best!). We ate at a cozy pub called The Chipping Forecast.
Pictured:The most deliciously greasy fish and chips in the world … thank you Chipping Forecast A rainy depiction of the “Most Instagrammable street in London” in Notting Hill
My friend Rachel and I are ready for our voice workshop at Pineapple Studios
My Strategic Communications class went to a workshop at Pineapple Studios where we learned the value of voice in communication. A Professional Actor from the London West End theatres (School of Rock to be exact) guided us through breathing, body language and vocal exercises to improve our public speaking skills. Then, we did the London Eye (as featured in our class selfie). Fun fact: Coca Cola now sponsors the London Eye. So we learned about branding with a great view. We had the rest of the day to ourselves to explore the city of London. I saw Buckingham Palace, walked the Thames River, discovered the beautiful St. John’s Garden and shopped in Covent Garden. At night, I saw another fantastic view at the rooftop Sky Garden. If you’re in London, I would definitely recommend the Sky Garden (it’s free!). Just make sure to get there early.
We had an early start to day three with a walking Tour of East London. Our tour guide, a local artist and probably the coolest woman I will ever meet, guided us through the graffiti of the area. We even got to see a Banksy art work! Banksy is an anonymous street artist who specializes in satirical and political commentary.
Then, we met with the Corporate Communication team at QBE, a London-based insurance company. We learned about the marketing and communication career paths of four of their employees. Afterwards, my friend Kristen and I went to the Borough Market for gelato and even found the original Globe Theatre! If you travel to London, go a few streets past the “Globe Theatre” re-creation (A.K.A tourist trap) that sits on the river. There you will find the original theatre which burned to the ground in 1613 (3 years before Shakespeare’s death). Below you’ll find a picture of me standing in front of the original freaking out because I LOVE SHAKESPEARE #englishmajor #theatrekid For dinner, we reunited with our class for a hearty pasta dish at Jamie’s Italian Piccadilly. Then DIS treated our class to West End’s The Lion King. The show was stunning! We couldn’t stop singing the songs all the way back to our hotel.
On Wednesday, we visited Bath (home of Jane Austen) and Stonehenge. At Bath, we explored The Roman Baths and got reprimanded by the site staff for playing music in the sanctuary (Hillary Duff’s “Come Clean”). At Stonehenge, we battled the rain and wind to see the ancient sites.
We began our day with an academic visit to the Museum of Brands. Here, we each made customer profiles and collaged them with Danish magazines. Then, we got to tour the evolution of brands in the exhibition. Later in the day, we went to The Guardian to speak with members of the newspaper’s communication team. Then, we had a classic British meal at The Admiralty: Shepherd’s Pie. I surprisingly liked it, although if I described it (meat stew within a pie crust with very little vegetables) I don’t think it would sound terribly appetizing.
Day 6: Last Day in London!!
The final day of our class study tour was probably my favorite. We visited the Churchill War Rooms and learned about the communication tactics of one of history’s most effective communicators. Then, we went to our final event: High Tea. Now, if you don’t know what High Tea is (I didn’t), let me just paint a picture. Our class walks up four flights of stairs and enters this gold-trimmed event space. There are tables full of tiffany blue dishes and tea cups, lace napkins and trays of multi-colored tea cakes. As a staff member hangs up our jackets a pianist plays Mozart’s Voi Che Sapete. We sit down for an afternoon of bottomless tea and cakes and scones and finger sandwiches. I’ve never felt classier in my life (until I stuffed my remaining scones in my friend’s purse for later …). As someone who is absolutely obsessed with tea, I wanted to order everything on the menu. I ended up drinking two pots of tea during our time: The Wedding Tea (the tea Will and Kate drank the morning of their wedding) and Mint Green tea. High Tea was the perfect way to end an incredible week in London.