Bonding in Britain, Learning in London

We had such a great time exploring a bit of London on our own as well!

I already wrote about going to Norway as part of my Session 2 Study Tour, but we also went to London…so it’s about time I write about that! We arrived in London late in the evening, so we had a little bit of free time to get some food and check out the area near our hotel since the academic portion of the trip wouldn’t officially start until the following morning.

Big Ben – sadly in the process of a makeover while we were there

Our days in London were jam-packed; here are some of the highlights:

  • Explored some of the major attractions on our own (like Big Ben and the London Eye)
  • Met with one of the founders of Quilliam, a London-based counter-extremist think tank
  • Participated in a bike tour, where we got to visit both “big” sights (like Buckingham Palace) and landmarks related to our study of terrorism and counterterrorism (such as the memorial for the victims of the 7/7 bombings in Hyde Park)
  • Met with Margaret Gilmore, a former BBC journalist who covered the 7/7 bombings, who now works at RUSI, a British think tank focused on international defense and security analysis
  • Visited the Finsbury Park Mosque, which was considered a radicalized mosque pre-2005, but has since completely re-vamped and is now seen as a “model of community relations”
  • Had a wonderful group dinner at one of Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurants
  • Toured London’s East End on an Alternative London street art tour
  • Tried out our own spray painting skills in a street art workshop
  • Enjoyed a final group lunch at Morito, a Spanish/North African tapas restaurant
Visiting the July 7 Memorial in Hyde Park

Arguably the best “part” of our Study Tour was just getting to talk and bond with my classmates. We were a fun group and most of us became really, really close – which is why it was so hard to see so many of them return home after Session 2!

One of the beautiful street art pieces we were able to see on our tour!

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