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By meenuamathews

TERN works towards creating social change within the wider community. Just within the last month, the organization has started a blog, contributed to Huffington Post articles, and made appearances at rallies against the immigration ban. This means that my tasks vary from day to day, which makes for an exciting volunteer experience. on some days, I’m drafting responses to media inquiries and on other days, I’m putting together the organization’s newsletter!

One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had so far is helping at the organization’s “First Flight” bootcamp, which hosted 13 aspiring refugee entrepreneurs. At the workshop, each refugee met their mentor, outlined goals, and created timelines for the progression of his or her business. In the lead up to First Flight, I had prepared workshop materials, responded to emails, and screened applications for the participants. This event brought our work to life: the energy at the workshop was unparalleled! First Flight was a meaningful experience for me, because it empowers refugees to shape their own narrative.

As someone who is passionate about empowering women globally, it was especially exciting to speak with the female entrepreneurs. The hope and passion woven into their stories reminds me of the hope I saw in the Women’s cooperatives of Morocco, in the female-run small businesses of India, and the stories of my own relatives at home in the United States. Volunteering in London has widened my horizons, and deepened my commitment to making the future equal for all.

By meenuamathews

Five months ago, I packed my whole life into two suitcases and boarded a flight to London to take part in a year-long exchange program at the London School of Economics. I had chosen the program because I wanted to really immerse myself in a new school system, and I was excited to take part in all that London had to offer. But when I first landed in London, I first realized what a big commitment I had made: the metro was the “Tube”, I could barely understand the accents, and why did everyone keep asking “You OK?” (turns out, that’s British for “how are you?”).

Meenu 1/30

But I quickly fell in love with London through far too many afternoon teas, lots of palaces, and walks along the Thames River. It was an interesting time to be in London – in the wake of Brexit, much of London seemed to be confused as to how Britain could have voted to leave the EU. A lot of my coursework focused on European governments and EU politics, and I learned that free migration was the biggest threat for many who voted to leave. I was dismayed by the fearful rhetoric towards minorities, not just in Britain, but also in the lead-up to the U.S. election and across the European continent.

...continue reading "Studying Abroad and Social Entrepreneurship"

By Hannah Radner

Whether or not one celebrates, Christmas time is joyous. Here in London (and, I suppose, everywhere else in the world that isn't America), Thanksgiving does not exist. In the USA we know it's coming on November 1 when Starbucks exchanges the PSL for the Peppermint Mocha and red cups; however, Thanksgiving is just the road block to full on Christmas hysteria. Here, thanks to the absence of Thanksgiving, Christmas starts on November 1, and I am all for it. The only downside to spending the holidays here is missing them at home. This is the first year I didn't see my family for Thanksgiving, which would have been a lot harder to handle had it not been for GW England. That's right, kids, I'm about to make a pitch, so get ready.

I chose a program on GW England because I was only vaguely aware of the resources that would be available to me; I knew we would have some sort of GW advising in London, and I liked knowing that I would have someone to fall back on if I was having any trouble. We do have an advisor here, but this is only the beginning of the benefits of GW England. The advantages of the program were already apparent nearly as soon as I got here, as we GW students at LSE all moved in early so we could go to our GW England orientation events. For starters, my flat mate is also from GW. Second, we got to meet all the other GW students who would be with us at our school and throughout the city. On our first day, we got breakfast at Café in the Crypt, took a walking tour, took a boat cruise down the Thames, had lunch and explored the Tower of London, and then were free to explore the city as we so chose. About a week and a half later, we had the opportunity to see a play at the Globe theatre (yes, the Shakespeare one). Our advisor, Geeta, has taken us out to lunch by school; those of us at LSE were fortunate enough to go to Nando's. One day in early November we took a day trip to the town of Bath where we took a walking tour, had lunch, and explored the Roman Baths and the town itself. That day I ate at Sally Lunn's Historic Eating House, where I stuffed myself full of delicious buns and tea. Our last event of the term is afternoon tea at the National Portrait Gallery, where I intend to stuff myself full of more bread and tea.

Being Americans abroad, perhaps the most meaningful event put on by GW England was our Thanksgiving dinner this past Thursday. Thanksgiving break is often a welcome respite from school. In high school, we had a pep rally and a football game between celebrated rivals. At GW, it is the calm before the finals storm. On Thursday, Thanksgiving did not feel like Thanksgiving because I had a paper due in class that day. I usually have classes from 4-7 on Thursdays, but due to the abundance of American expats at LSE, my professor was very kind and understanding and excused me from my last one so I could be on time for dinner. For this I am thankful (see what I did there?). The LSE runs its own Thanksgiving dinner for General Course students, and my building had a Thanksgiving potluck, but I am glad I chose to do Thanksgiving with GW. It was catered in a function room at a nice hotel, and it was cool to see the majority of GW England students all sitting at the same table. While I wasn't surrounded by family as usual, I was surrounded by friends; it finally felt like Thanksgiving, aside from the fact that I was full after only one plate of food.

The holidays are here. The twenty five days of Christmas are upon us. The festivities are in full operation, from Hyde Park Winter Wonderland to the South Bank Christmas Market to ice skating at Somerset House to the posh Oxford Street department stores having a silent war over who has the best Christmas window displays (I am biased towards John Lewis because of the penguins and the commercial that made me cry). I've had my Thanksgiving, and I have two weeks left until vacation. That's one essay, sixteen class hours, and a few hundred more pages of reading. The reward is sweet: I am going to Spain for a week, and what a relief it will be. This is definitely the most wonderful time of the year.

By Hannah Radner

It is week eight of ten in the Michaelmas term at LSE, and I am truly feeling the effects of a direct enrollment program as opposed to a provider program. The LSE General Course, while it is made up of all study abroad students, provides no special accommodation; at times, our status as General Course students puts even more pressure on us, as the formative work we do throughout the term actually factors into our class grade, while for regular LSE students it does not. Aside from this, we are otherwise considered regular LSE students.

This is clearly the week where everyone is stressed. Essays are due, and everyone regrets not starting them several weeks ago. I am no exception; I had a paper due last Friday, the following Sunday, this Friday, and next Friday, on top of a presentation I am currently working on for the class in which I had a paper due on Sunday. It is all hitting me at once, and I am coping because I have to, but this leads me to my number one piece of advice for current and future General Course students: time management is key. Starting as a freshman at GW, we are amazed at how little time we spend in class compared to high school - only a few hours a day? What do I do with all this free time? You soon figure out that free time is not free until you've used up a great deal of it doing work outside the classroom. At LSE, we have even less class time - eight hours per week, total. I have found that what they lack in contact hours, they make up for in reading and essays.

Essays are different here. In my American classes, we had page requirements, standardised prompts, and even requirements for how many sources we should use for our essays. After having written a few here, I have decided that I like the UK system better. Here, there is a maximum word limit which, according to professor discretion, may or may not include footnotes and the bibliography. They do not care which citation system you use, nor do they care how many sources you have, as long as you make an effective argument. I quite appreciate this as it lets me focus much more on the content of my essay rather than trying to find more sources to which I can attribute my facts, just for the sake of having enough sources. I also don't have to worry about meeting a minimum length; as long as I have not gone over the maximum, I am safe. I am sure everyone at some point in the US has known the struggle of having a minimum of fifteen pages assigned - "but what if I have no more to say after ten?" The only struggle now is making your argument as concise as possible.

The other effect of being in the General Course is the fact that I haven't been able to travel as much as I thought I would. This is not necessarily a bad thing; I came here with the goal of feeling like a Londoner and a fully integrated student. I have been on some trips; weekends in Scotland and Ireland and a day trip to Bath have all been fantastic. I enjoy having time to explore London because that is why I am here. Vacations are for traveling; I am going to Spain for a week in December, and it will be a much welcome reward.

I love my program and not a day goes by when I think about how happy I am with my choice. I know at the end of this year, I will be able to say it is the hardest thing I did in college, but it made me a better student and a more well-rounded human being.

Me (far left) with some of the LSE Women's Rugby Club Second team!

Before my program started, before I arrived in the UK, and in fact throughout the summer and the latter half of the spring semester, my major concern was most definitely making new friends. Looking back on it, since Kindergarten and up through the end of 12th grade, it wasn't that difficult as I went to public school. Part of a giant school system, I went to one of eight elementary schools, one of three middle schools, and everyone ended up at the same high school, so most people were not completely new. While friend groups shrunk, grew, evolved and changed over time, our friends were relatively built in for us already as we had a limited pool to choose from.
Come freshman year, making friends was a slightly more daunting task. The walls fell down and suddenly my student body was four times as large. I spent much of freshman year spending time with my roommates and neighbors. The group of lovely people who would eventually become my core friend group at GWU would not have been easy to find had I not shared a long-time mutual friend with one of them, but that's a story for another day. In short, in my life, I have never had to make a huge effort to make friends. I have never started off completely on my own, traveling to a new place, where I would be living for a full academic year, knowing that every friend I make this year is someone I did not know before.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I had joined the LSE Women's Rugby Club. This was completely new and strange territory to me. My parents thought I was joking when I told them at first. This is because I have never legitimately played any team sports, contact sports, or just...sports in general. I played soccer at the YMCA when i was four and I did gymnastics for about four years, but since the sixth grade, I was a theatre kid. After graduation, I let that go too, and my last two years at GWU have been characterised by floating from student org to student org; I hadn't yet found anything I really, truly liked doing, aside from French Club and Alternative Breaks, neither of which I can do abroad.
If you're studying abroad for a whole year, it may not seem like that much at first, but it's a lot. It's a whole 25% of your college career, assuming you follow the traditional 4-year path as I intend to do, and when you get back, you're in your last year and real life is staring you right in the face. You've just established a presence on campus, solidified your friend group, gotten deeply involved in whatever you do, fallen in and out of love 20 times, and then you leave it all back in the USA for a whole year. When you arrive, it feels like freshman year all over again. I had orientation week, complete with presentations, outings, events, and the freshers' fair, which is their student orgs fair.
I'm not quite sure when I made the decision to join rugby, but it happened at some point during the freshers' fair when they handed out cookies as bribes. But in all seriousness, they emphasized that no experience was needed (great, I have none!), it's so much fun (I like fun!), and I'll fall in love with the sport and the girls (something new and exciting!).
Study Abroad a time for self-exploration as well as self-establishment and personal growth. That is why it exists; not simply for growth in the classroom but outside. LSE has a myriad of fun societies to join, many of which do not exist at GWU, and I was originally hoping to join one of those, just to make the experience even more 'out there.' I certainly was not expecting to join a sports team. However, as I felt I was welcomed with open arms into the women's rugby club before I even joined, how could I possibly say no?
The WRFC has provided me with several important things, the first being a somewhat regular exercise regimen. The second is a regular social fixture; every Wednesday, all the sports teams have some sort of event at the student center, followed by a mass exodus to a club in Leicester Square. The third is my new ambition to push myself physically, which comes hand-in-hand with the team mentality that a team is only as strong as its weakest member; experience or not, I don't want to be that weakest member. Perhaps the most important thing rugby has given me, and will continue to give me throughout my time here, is the sense that I am firmly a part of something. During freshman and sophomore years, as I explored my interests but didn't dive wholeheartedly into much of anything, whenever people asked what I did outside class or what organisations I was a part of, I hemmed and hawed until my answer was sort of "oh, you know, a little bit of this, a little bit of that." Now, when someone asks me what I do outside class, I can confidently say I play rugby, whether or not I play well. An even better part of this is that rugby is something I can potentially bring back with me. Attention, GW Women's Rugby, if you want a new player next year: I'm in.

By Hannah Radner

From the moment I knew I wanted to study in London I have imposed judgment on myself; judgment for choosing a country whose official language is English when I have studied French since the sixth grade. For a while assumed I would go to France to study abroad. Judgment for choosing a capital city not unlike the one I study in at home (they are more similar in nature though vastly different in size). Judgment for choosing a university that, in the grand scheme of things, is not worlds away from GW. There was always a voice in my head that tried to make me doubt myself, telling me that in order to make a study abroad experience worthwhile, I had to make things as difficult for myself as humanly possible and go to a place where I would actually get a healthy dose of culture shock. Obviously it didn't work, because LSE was the only program I applied to and really wanted to do, and now that I am here I am a. glad I went through with it and b. void of regret. As it turns out, while it is a first world city (arguably the most first world city in the history of first world cities), London can still dish out some culture shock in the form of "Things I Take for Granted at Home and No Longer Will" and "Things the USA Should Have But Seemed to Have Gotten Lost in the Shuffle of the American Revolution."

Things I Take for Granted at Home and No Longer Will:
1. Uncomplicated Traffic Patterns. I walk everywhere I need to go within a certain radius. It becomes clear on day one that pedestrians do not have the right of way while walking in the crosswalk. Jaywalking? Don't even think about it. They drive fast enough even in the most congested parts of the city that nothing will save you if you get in the way of a vehicle. This includes cyclists. They often have their own lanes (if not, they have to share with the buses, which I suppose shows that they don't really care about the cyclists' lives either) Wait for the walk signal or die, basically.

2. Clean Air. I'm not talking about the city pollution levels. I'm talking about cigarette smoke. This year abroad is going to take a chunk out of my lifespan because of all the secondhand smoke. Everyone does it. Take a random sample of Londoners in any area and I'd say at least 80% of them are smoking or will probably light up in the next five minutes. I will only ever tolerate (barely) the smoking culture here.

3. Easy Public Transport. Boston's system is easy, especially for me: I get on at Riverside and I take the D line into Park Street, Government Center or Haymarket. Then I stay put or walk where I need to go, as nothing is really that far away. Boston is small. DC's system is even easier. 5 lines, clearly mapped out, I know where I need to go. If you really put your mind to it and you have enough time, patience and energy, really anything in DC is walking distance. London is a behemoth. The Tube map, though not necessarily difficult to understand, reflects how expansive the city is. There are a lot of buses that go to a lot of different places and only run at certain times and then you have your night buses and buses with 24-hour service and some only come every 20-30 minutes. How am I getting home? Do I take this bus or that bus? The tube? Do I have enough cash for a cab? Does London have a Cash Cab? Whatever happened to that show? Whatever happened to that guy? Was that my bus that just went by?? UGH.

Things the USA Should Have But Seemed to Have Gotten Lost in the Shuffle of the American Revolution:
1. Real Honest-to-God Bicycle Lanes that keep Cyclists in Check. If I had a dollar for every time I have almost been hit by a cyclist who doesn't obey traffic laws in DC, I'd have enough money to buy myself a nice bike and use it the right way.

2. Food Compost. I'm a hippie and I think composting is great. At least in LSE buildings, they have multiple separate waste receptacles: brown for food scraps (yay compost!! feed the worms! make new dirt!), green for mixed recycling (with a separate little thing in which you may pour out your liquids), and black for general non-recyclable, non-compostable waste. My kitchen came with three recycling bins, one general trash bin, and a little caddy for food waste.

3. WiFi Everywhere. It is difficult to go somewhere London and not find a place that has some sort of free WiFi. I am on the O2 cellular network, so I have access to all O2 hotspots. There is a network called The Cloud, which is not great for surfing the web but useful when trying to get in contact with friends. My campus has eduroam, a fact I was delighted to learn because I can log into the secure network using my GW info - yes, it's here, and it works. It is near impossible to find free, functional WiFi in DC. Thank goodness we have it here so I can write my blog posts beyond the confines of my bedroom if I so chose.

By Hannah Radner

London is the largest city I have ever experienced, both area- and population-wise. Exponentially bigger than both Boston and DC, it is a daunting task to make it my own. Based off some of the things I have done (or have resolved to do) since I got here a week and a half ago, I compiled a short list of things I can do to make a big city feel a little bit smaller and a lot more familiar.

1. Take public transportation. In my last post, I discussed the joy of walking. There is also joy in not walking, especially when nearly every place to which you need or want to go in London is rather far. I have taken the Tube (Subway, Metro, T, whatever you call it) a few times, but even more joyful is the bus. Buses in London go everywhere. The perks of taking the bus include a low price and sights of the city you would not otherwise get taking the Tube. In addition, all the buses are double decker; that is not a myth, that is real, and it is great. To ride the bus, you need an Oyster Card. To ride the Tube you really really want an Oyster card, as a one-way trip is around £4.70. I have abandoned all thoughts of the exchange rate, so you can do that math on your own. It is not fun, but the Oyster Card makes it bearable. The Tube is arguably the fastest form of transport, for it does not encounter traffic like the bus will. New York may be gridlocked, but at least it is a grid; in the wise words of my tenth grade history teacher, London (like Boston) looks like "spaghetti threw up on your window" when seen from above.

2. Do familiar things! Being in a new city is weird. I have attempted to make it less weird by doing fun things that I would do at school in DC. London is a great city for music lovers, as I am. I love small concerts by small bands in small places whether or not I've heard of them. Luckily for me, one of my favorite bands from the states has just done a two-night stint at a hole in the wall near Hyde Park, so of course I was there for it. I look forward to exploring different venues on weekends and finding new things to listen to. In addition to music, London's theatre scene is unparalleled. I live in the theatre district, not far from the Phoenix Theatre where I saw my first (and only, so far) West End show over four years ago, across the street from where Memphis is playing and down the block from War Horse, Matilda, and Miss Saigon. I love going to shows, so hopefully I will be able to avail myself of the West End's offerings very soon.

3. Do unfamiliar things! I have one shot at this "study abroad" thing, so I may as well make the best of it. I am not an athletic person. I have no endurance. I have a low pain threshold. I am often shy with new people. So, naturally, I am joining LSE's Girls Rugby team. It is not something I was expecting to do, but this is a great year to try new things, push the envelope, and go out of my comfort zone, and I am accomplishing all three by joining a sports team. I look forward to this new experience.

4. Find a favorite place to eat. I have not done this yet. I will probably not be able to answer that "where is your favorite place to eat?" question for quite some time. At this moment, I love the 'My Old Dutch Pancake House' across the street from my dorm. For anyone who has never had a dutch pancake, they are really just very large pancakes. This place makes them like crepes, both sweet and savory, and they are about 20 inches in diameter. Think Crepeaway on steroids, but also with whipped cream or ice cream on top, but also waffles and poffertjes. It really makes one wonder, in true Leslie Knope fashion, why would anyone eat anything besides breakfast food??

By Hannah Radner

I am heading into my last few full days at home (thank gooodness). Those of us who are active members on the LSE General Course Facebook group continue to converse about how people at home think we have flunked out of university because we are still here. A common greeting is some variation of "Hello! When are you leaving?" With a sigh and a somewhat frustrated chuckle, thinking, "I was born ready, please get me out of here," I reply, "Wednesday. I leave on Wednesday night."
Having a great deal of free time between the end of my summer job and my departure has allowed me ample time to get my fill of things I may miss over the next nine months, including the best ice cream ever at the shop where I used to work, fresh bagels from the shop next to it, my dad's pancakes, Pizzeria Regina, and free public restrooms. Boston is my home, but it is not my only home, and in the future it will become one of many. I hope to make London one of the many, just as I have made DC a home. I will miss it, though, along with some other things, in no particular order:

1. My cat, Fuzz. She has been moody all her life, and she is not afraid to let us know when she does not like to be touched. I was always convinced that she didn't like me even though she lived in my bedroom (litter box and all) during the first few weeks we had her. It took me nearly 11 years to figure out how to get her to not run away from me, but I did it. Rub her ears and she dissolves into a puddle. I will miss her "I'm plotting to kill you/you're all idiots" face and her little kitty paws.

2. Eastern Standard Time. I will miss this mostly in relation to my new time zone, which is five hours ahead, and only when it involves communicating with people stuck five hours in the past, which is my entire family and 99% of my USA friends.

3. Any food I find out Britain does not have. I have asked Siri multiple times if they have x kind of food in England. So far, I have found that they do have donuts (they even have two Dunkin Donuts in London! I am saved!), bananas, peanut butter and cheddar cheese (according to Wikipedia it originated there). The jury is still out on bagels. I will keep you updated, as I am sure this is a burning question on everyone's mind.

4. My bed. I always find ways to make my dorm beds comfortable, whether it be with mattress toppers or soft blankets, I do what I need to do. My bed at home though will always be the most comfortable for some reason.

5. Baseball. I know somebody somewhere in London must care about baseball. I will find the pub that shows the World Series and I will be there. Being a Red Sox fan forever and always, my preferred postseason does not exist, but how about those Nationals, right?

There are also things I will not miss about home:

1. My hometown. There is barely anything to do during the summer when people are home from school, but when there is no one gone, you are in at 8 p.m. and you are in for the night. Cities breathe life into me and this is no city.

2. Massachusetts drivers. No one knows how to drive. The end.

3. My neighbors. They are very loud at all times of day. I don't mind noise (again, I am a city person), but I prefer not to know every detail of every argument you have.

4. Most American news networks. Bring on the BBC!

5. WINTER. Average winter temperatures in London are in the 40s, and it rarely snows due to the lack of freezing temperatures. I am okay with this as I started to get cabin fever with all the snow days we had a GW last year.

Finally, there are things I don't have to miss because the UK has them!

1. Chipotle. But do they have sofritas?

2. Starbucks. Not really for the coffee, but the free WiFi.

3. Shake Shack. Overpriced times 1.63 in London, but still worth it.

4. Wagamama. Noodles matter.

5. NANDO'S. I feel so blessed going to school in the only city outside the UK that has Nando's, so it will be like going home, really. I will never have to miss Nando's.

This has been a comprehensive list of things that matter most to me, not including my family and friends (obviously on the "Things I will miss" list), because that's pretty much a given. I look forward to sending you all myriad postcards. My next blog post will be finally be coming to you live from London, England.

By Hannah Radner

Local schools have ended and begun again and my summer job has come and gone. It's been 84 years. I am ready to leave for London.
I chose the perfect program for myself, and I knew it would be extraordinarily difficult. That is already proving to be true even though I have not even left yet. It is challenging my acceptance of delayed gratification. Study abroad has been my ultimate goal since I knew it was something that existed, probably some time in middle school. Now, my departure is just on the horizon. London's ten-day weather forecast is suddenly relevant. I am eager not just to move to a new city and explore its treasures, but also to get back in the school groove. Except for those who are studying in the UK, pretty much all of my friends and acquaintances have already been in classes for a few weeks. Those who are abroad in other places have been abroad for nearly two months already. My classes begin on October 6.
Alumni of the program have made it clear that upon our arrival to class, professors will expect us to have done some reading already based on instructions they post on Moodle (a Blackboard-like platform for class materials) without ever explicitly telling us like many GW professors do prior to the beginning of the term. Many an angsty high-schooler would want to slap me for this, but I just want assignments. I operate best under pressure when I have lots of work to do, a condition I am sure will be easily met almost instantly upon my arrival. It has already become clear to me that my academic success (and sanity) at LSE will be even more reliant on my independence and initiative than it is at GW. There is a plethora of information spread throughout LSE's website, and sometimes it takes some snooping to find what I need. For example, LSE only recently published its course timetables and updated course guides, so I found out that two of the four classes I wanted to take are not actually being offered. This brings me to the second challenge the program is giving me: flexibility. I anticipate needing to be flexible like this throughout the year. I did not let it get in my way; all I had to do was choose two different classes. The website informed us that new undergraduates would register on Monday, September 8. It became apparent that "new undergraduates" did not include study abroad students. Thanks to this, we are all sitting ducks.
The fact that registration at LSE takes place so late is already causing me some culture shock and a tad of anxiety. The school's study abroad program is so well established that I know it's not a problem, this is how they have always done things, they do this every year, they didn't forget about us. There are around 300 of us in the program and, as I have already had the pleasure of interacting with some of them thanks to the wonders of social media, none of us have any idea when we actually register for classes online. Some of us have received the dreaded "soon!" in an email response to our frantic questions. If you listen very closely, you may be able to hear my sighs of relief from across the pond as soon as everything has finally fallen into place. I just have to remember: delayed gratification, flexibility, and patience. Good things come to those who wait.

By maxikaplan

photo (1)

With my days left at LSE numbering in the teens, it is somewhat unfortunate that my daily routine has turned into waking up, studying, and going to sleep. With finals just around the corner, I don’t think that the other GW students here are doing much else with their time either, and the same definitely applies to the other LSE students for that matter. I did get a bit of a study break last weekend when I went bungee jumping north of London in what turned out to be an incredibly beautiful day (see photo). Of course, just as I am preparing to leave London, my friends and I discover that the site of our bungee is actually on an enormous lake only 40 minutes north, where you can also rent kayaks and canoes for the day. If we had known earlier we most certainly would have been out there more than this one time, but it is amazing nonetheless that such a place even exists so close to the city center where we live. Unfortunately, I never made my way to many other areas in the UK north of London, but from what I have heard it is very mountainous and picturesque.

As I’ve mentioned before, my exit from the study abroad world will not be made with parties and fun, but will instead take place the day after my most difficult exam. This is going to make for a very interesting packing experience, considering there is not much time for me to spare as of right now to pack beforehand, and I can’t picture much coming my way before then either. Somewhat ironically I am looking forward most to that Friday night that I can come home after my exam to pack up my things and be ready to get on my way. In hoping to not sound too dramatic I will leave it there, but it will be a great mix of emotion when I say bye to many I will not see again for a long time amidst a flurry of stress and fear of exams. This would be much harder, however, if I were not looking forward to returning home so much. Nine months is a long time, and from talking to a lot of my friends I think we are all beginning to really miss home. I love London, and I would maybe even move here one day, but for right now I have had my fix—there is no doubt that I miss the little things. Most of all, I think, I am ready to leave this mini bed that my residence has provided for my oversized body to sleep in.

Luckily, I am not the type to drown myself in coffee during finals season—I am more of a slow and steady studier, over preparing information that I will likely not use. This has made this finals season less hard than I thought it would be so far, but in terms of study time, LSE is not messing around—I have definitely spent more time studying for these finals than I have in my two years of studying combined at GW. No longer is there the one-week of cramming a semester worth of information. This six-week study period exists for a reason, I have realized, but as I’ve mentioned before, the GW students do not have it as nearly as bad as the other kids studying abroad here do, since their grades are carrying over. I must have mentioned this 4 or 5 times by now, but when you realize how difficult these exams can be, it is NOT something that you take for granted. I will leave this blog at that, and speak to all of you next week for my last post.