Ophelia Ding

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Posts tagged Study Abroad
the “study” part of studying abroad

Hands down the most difficult thing for me to get used to in London?

School. Seriously. 

Not the driving on the left, or the let’s-jaywalk-everywhere-cause-its-not-illegal mentality, or the English slang (like "I’m queueing up to top-up my oyster" aka I’m waiting in line to put money on my public transit card). Yes, school (or Uni as they say here). :)

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10 Days in Spain + Portugal

Wahhh— has it really been more than a month since my last update? Major apologies for the crickets on the blog — it’s been such a hectic couple weeks juggling traveling and attempting to be a student (anyone else out there cramming in psets before plane rides?!). Since my last update, I’ve explored cities outside my London home (Stonehenge, Bath and Windsor to be exact), been enamored by Monet in Paris, blown away by the beauty of Iceland, and charmed by the weather and food of Spain and Portugal.

But for now, a recap on the sunniest, yummiest and most glorious weathered places I’ve been thus far: Spain and Portugal! My friends and I planned a 10-day trek across Spain and Portugal for reading week. Yes, “reading" week, aka the time that UCL gives us to catch up on our assignments (aka, an extended travel break for us exchange students heh). Over the course of our trip, we had so many memorable outings — way too many to recall here — but here were some of my highlights:

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London Love Letters: Petersham Nurseries

In between my attempts at being a student again (you guys. I haven’t studied in so long — the struggle is real) and going on weekend trips, I’m trying to remind myself to really get to know my absolutely phenomenal home base: London, England.

London is so special to me. It stood out to me on a trip to Europe with my family three years ago and I knew I wanted to come back ever since. There’s something so historical and grand, yet modern and artistic about this place. The gorgeous clothes, rich coffee, iconic transportation, British accents (*sigh*), buildings seeped in years of history, the little “look right” or “look left” block letters painted on the ground that tell you which way to look before you cross because of their whole drive-on-the-left thing — I love it all. Today, I walked to my art history lecture at the National Gallery (in Trafalgar Square, which has this killer view of the Big Ben) and just felt so, so lucky to be studying here. Who gets to do this!? I don’t ever want it to end!!

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Antwerp + Amsterdam

And just like that, trip number two is in the books! This let’s-go-to-two-countries-in-one-weekend thing is so much fun — and I must admit, a little exhausting. Nevertheless, so much was eaten, learned, and appreciated whilst in Antwerp, Belgium and Amsterdam, Netherlands. We lucked out with the weather this weekend -- it felt like I was back in San Francisco with gorgeous clear skies, crazy wind-hair and a flight delay due to fog (Karl — is that you?!). 

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