I Wanna Be Where the Londoners Are

Hello reader!,

My name is Jennifer Bratton and I am a senior Mathematics Secondary Education major (who happens to be graduating in less than 40 days…not that I’m counting or anything). Last May, I got on a plane with a group of ESU students to go spend a week and a half in London, England. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Naturally, whenever I have travel plans, I look up the best places to go in the area. In London, there’s the obvious must-sees: Big Ben, The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Globe, etc.

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On top of my list of locations that many tourists on the web recommended to me through different blog posts and reviews, I wanted to find places where the locals would be. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I would run into people from the UK everywhere I went, but I wanted to truly submerge myself in the culture as much as I could during my short visit.

Instead of searching “best places to go when traveling to London” I started searching “best places for locals to go in London” and discovered places I had never even heard of.

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What really stuck out to me during my research was the markets. I ended up going to four different markets during my visit: The Portobello Market and Borough Market (both full of tourists) and Brick Lane Market and Columbia Street Flower Market (both full of locals). I enjoyed all the markets, but being surrounded by the Londoners…hearing casual conversation about school and work and going to different shows in London…it was a unique experience.

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During my stay I also slipped into small, local pubs that had their own unique menu. At one of the pubs, I was with a group from ESU that met with a group of people that live in London. We ended up hanging out hours after dinner, talking about each other’s countries and learning each other’s slang. I definitely learned things that I would never have learned from a tour guide in London.

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My point is, when I was studying abroad, seeing all the places you want to see as a tourist (I am not ashamed of how much I gushed over Big Ben) was amazing but so was seeing places I immediately loved as a temporary local. It greatly expanded my experience and what I took away from it.

There’s not a day that goes by that I miss being in London! I cannot wait to go back someday and cannot thank Emporia State enough for the experience of a lifetime.

Cheers!

Jennifer Bratton, United Kingdom

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