Dungeons and Dragons

No, not the board game.

While one of the great joys of study abroad is traveling to new countries, another is getting to know the city you’re living in. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past week and a half, staying in London and exploring everything! That means every market, every museum, and every West End show (It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.) You definitely don’t need to leave London to have an adventure; they lie around every corner here.

A great example is last Sunday, I had originally planned to eat breakfast at Buckingham Palace during the changing of the guard and then visit the National Gallery, a low-key day. However, after breakfast at Buckingham (Tiffany’s was so last season) I found that I couldn’t get into the National Gallery due to a huge festival in Trafalgar Square. Turns out I had stumbled into the Chinese New Year celebrations, and it’s worth mentioning that London has the 2nd biggest Chinese New Year after China itself! Somehow in all of the chaos of the crowd, I ended up in the press section, with a wonderful view of the stage, standing next to Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London. The entire celebration was breathtaking, many of the performers traveled from China to share and celebrate their culture. It also gave new life to average areas I see everyday, from the Dragon Dance in Trafalgar Square and the musicians in Chinatown, it all added a new dimension to the city that I live in. After a taste of the culture, I’ll be adding Hong Kong to my travel buck list.

Staying in London doesn’t just limit me to the city. One of the many pros to living in London is the ability to travel to neighboring areas through the train system, and I took full advantage of this to visit Windsor. To state it simply: Windsor is the most beautiful town I have ever been to. The center of the town is the famed Windsor Castle, one of the most extravagant places I have ever seen, and the castle still functions as a home for many individuals in town. It’s quite similar to the Tower of London in those regards, which functions as a home for the Beefeaters at the Tower and once as a residence for royalty itself. However with a history for executing monarchs, the crown understandable was uncomfortable with that arrangement and moved out. I absolutely love being able to explore the history of it all, which is just a stone throw away from me! Why buy a plane ticket, when the entire world is hidden away in London just waiting to be discovered?

Windsor Castle

Sadiq Khan


Hello! My name is Sarah Lodder and I'm a sophomore Marketing and Information Systems double major at University of Maryland. However this semester, I'm trading in College Park for London, as an exchange student at the Cass Business School! My passions include design, traveling, and the performing arts, so you'll likely find my catching a show (or ten) while in London. Having never lived anywhere other than Maryland, I'm so excited to experience everything the U.K. and Europe have to offer!

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