During the Summer of 2016, I received the privilege of studying abroad in the UK. I specifically visited London, England, the home of the world’s favorite royal family. My experience in London was filled with amazing excursions that taught me of the history of the country and how alike Americans and Londoners really are. I basked in the radiance of the outside of the royal palace; Buckingham Palace (I can only imagine what the inside looks like). But just a few miles away, saddened by the history of racial injustice and current condition in places like Brixton and Notting Hill.
During week three in London, I visited what became one of my favorite boroughs; Brixton. Brixton is a lively city filled with people of all different cultures. While walking through the streets, you can here accents from Islands in the Caribbean to countries in West Africa. My two visits to Brixton was nothing less than enjoyable. It was a bit overwhelming to learn of the trials and history of the Jamaicans in Brixton. Here is a story of systematic oppression through racial relations, gentrification, and educational injustice based on the color of one’s skin. Walking through the city and particularly, the Brixton Market, you could tell that there is a culture the people did not want to let go of despite the history and this almost wants to make you instantly listen to the story of this particular place.
This experience taught be a lot about how important culture really is in life. We discussed issues that had a lot do to with the culture in respects of immigration and ethnography work within both courses we took. Studying the importance cultural aspects played in different UK communities became valuable when doing ethnography work within London. My partner and I decided to studied abortion rights within the UK because it was such a important topic in the US at the time. We wanted to see if there was a difference in how citizens talked about the issue. This assignment really required us to dig deep into UK laws and policies on abortion rights. We interviewed workers from an organization called “The Haven Pregnancy Counseling Centre”. This organization’s main goal is to provide counseling to provide knowledge to women who are considering abortions and provide counseling assistance to women who have already had abortions. It was interesting to look at the cultural difference in abortion believes and laws between the UK and the USA.
Needless to say, I absolutely love the time I spent in London. From riding the tube (subway) for the first time, to amazing excursions, to engaging class discussion, all made my study abroad experience worth every second. The only down side to London during this time of the year is the weather ( I was not prepared for so much rain!!). If you want to visit London this time of the year, I advice that you grab a good umbrella and you get on you merry way because it’s worth it.
P.S. I advice getting afternoon tea at Yumchaa Soho, (it was great!). Attend Ripley’s Believe Or Not museum!! Additionally, go see a play! A friend and I went to see Lion King and it was absolutely phenomenal!!!!
To find out more information on the Contemporary London program visit M-Compass.