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London Final Report
By Emily Yee
This past summer, I had a truly wonderful experience immersed in London life.  Being able to study abroad, freely explore, and meet people from around the United States and across the world was only possible through the City of London/London Bridge Rotary Educational Foundation.  I went to London for a short trip with the marching band in high school, but I have never traveled alone before.  After returning to Arizona, I have reflected on this truly memorable experience and the lessons learned, both in the classroom and beyond.
London is a very different city compared to the Phoenix Metro area, it’s full of people in close proximity, the Underground Tube system, the River Thames, and diverse cultures.  I really enjoyed the learning about a different culture, with access to museums and attractions that document the past while becoming more independent and confident in traveling alone.  Personally, I kept an online journal of my experiences to remember the breathtaking activities as the four weeks were a blur.
The class I took with the University of Westminster was Londinium to the Blitz: London Through Its Museums.  Taking this class was by-far my best decision as I had the opportunity to travel to important sites in London, with emphasis on historical areas and museums (Victoria & Albert Museum, Museum of London, Postman’s Park, the Docklands, Greenwich, just to name a few).  My professor is the creative director of the Olde Operating Theater, so his perspective of museums is very unique.  During the course he introduced the concept that museums present historical material in order to tell a story and should be engaging to the visitors.  During class field trips, we would stop in front of a historic area while our professor lectured; several passersby from London and other international locations would stop and listen to his lecture. My class also went Guildhall so I understood the historical significance of Guildhall and the ceremonial aspect.
My COLLBREF scholarship companions, Andrew and Nyla, and I went to the meeting at Guildhall and had the opportunity to converse with the former (acting) Lord Mayor of London.  I had a lovely time meeting the people such as Paul Doubler, Mary Ayling, and Phil Saunders from the City of London Corporation who are very dedicated to the City of London and surrounding community.  Unfortunately there was an event at the Lord Mayor’s Mansion House so we were unable to visit (we also found out about visiting Parliament after their session ended), but in the future, recipients will be able to visit.  We had a wonderful opportunity to visit the Tower Bridge and its engine rooms as well as the Monument through the generosity of the City of London.  Andrew and I were also able to visit the Royal Courts of Justice with Phil Saunders, a solicitor with the City of London, and saw the legal process in the UK.  I want to profusely thank the City of London/London Bridge Rotary Club for this once in a lifetime experience.
Words of Advice to upcoming recipients and feedback about my trip.  For public transportation, it was best to buy a monthly zone 1 & 2 pass bought at a National Rail Station (for the 2-for-1 attraction pass); otherwise, an oyster card is very convenient.  And don’t be afraid to take the bus or the tube; this is how most Londoners get around!  For attractions make sure you do your research and decide on the biggest attractions you want to visit.  The four weeks in London just flew by and I did not visit a couple places which has me ready for another trip to London.  It was August, so most people are on holiday and everyone knows you’re a student - but that’s okay.  You should focus on having fun and making memories with new friends that you will be able to look back on fondly.  If you are looking for an inexpensive but delicious food, go to a JD Wetherspoon’s pub.  But you should not be afraid to make your own food and eat in.  Nyla and I had an interesting experience deciphering products available at the supermarket.  For example, the eggs are not in the fridge but on a shelf in an aisle. 
Thanks to the John Parrot and Lake Havasu London Bridge Rotary Club there is some flexibility in your flight dates, so if you are able you should to travel to other parts of Europe.  I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland and Paris with a friend going to University in England and had a great time.  But buy your tickets three months in advance if possible!  From my personal experience Ryanair was not as bad as expected (my longest flight was only two hours) but make sure to read the fine print very carefully since Ryanair often has fees in the fine print.  Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for advice.  We became friends with Gina, a front desk staffer, and learned about some of the best places to go out to eat and buy food.  Thank you again City of London/Lake Havasu London Bridge Rotary Club and good luck to the next recipients. Cheers!