Updated: Jan 15, 2019
Today marks the end of my first week studying abroad at Central Saint Martins. For those of you who don't know, Central Saint Martins is a college within a larger university called The University of Arts London, which is ranked one of the top universities in the world for art and design. This term I am studying product design as an integrated study abroad student. This means that I am one of two study abroad students of a 104 student class. This way I am forced outside of my comfort zone and able to learn more from students of a different background than me.
My new design building is absolutely beautiful. It reminds me a lot of Iowa State's design building, but unlike ISU the history behind my building is incredible. Central Saint Martins is nestled into the bones of an old rail road station. It housed the trains from Kings Cross Station which is right across the river. Here they would unload grain and coal; you can even see the the makings on the walls and the rail road tracks from years ago. Below are a few pictures inside of Central Saint Martins.
The University of Arts London Orientation
The day after I landed I had orientation at the High Holborn UAL building. This is where the study abroad office is located. I hadn't ventured this far into the city yet so I left super early with the hopes of being able to adventure before orientation started. I left at 8:00 am so I had two hours to adventure before orientation.
Orientation was relatively boring, involving stereotypical ice breaker games and information presentations on the college. The best part about orientation was the guided walking tour through the center of London. On the tour we got to see churches from the 1400's, parks where public hangings were carried out, famous movie sets, London's historic public courthouse, among many other places. The tour ended at the home of The Knights Templar. The Knights Templar was a religious order of monks who took up their swords in the sake of religious crusades against the Muslims. On the way there, we walked through the gates where The Templar Knights would march from at the beginning of their crusades. The building dated back to the 1300's which was astonishing to me. It was such a change from the modern skyscrapers a block away. All of London is like this, a constant juxtaposition of old, historic buildings and new high-rises. The day concluded with a trip to the pub next door with drinks provided by the UAL Study Abroad Team.
The night of orientation was the first night I took the tube. I was incredibly nervous taking the tube since the underground was packed for rush hour. Another study abroad student I met at orientation helped me and another girl navigate the tube for the first time. The train was packed and we were shoved up against each other shoulder to shoulder. If you want to break past awkward small talk with someone you just met this is probably the way to do it because there was no ignoring each other when you're shoved up against them.
Adventures In London
I live in Shoreditch, which is an area of London known for its street art, cafes, and hipsters. Quite honestly it is the perfect fit for me; it is close to Central Saint Martins and has an amazing street culture. Outside of class I spent a majority of my time adventuring around this area searching for new and unique street art. Last Sunday I was even able to watch a commissioned piece in progress.
Wandering around London I have stumbled upon so many unique and interesting areas like a pop-up market I found while walking to the London Bridge. It had food stalls from all around the world and hand made clothing for sale. I stopped there for dinner and spent the rest of my night exploring the river walk and taking pictures of the London Bridge, The Shard, the Tower Bridge, and the London Tower. It was one of the most incredible nights
I have spent in London. Below is one of the pictures I took along the way.