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Written by Nicole Ogrysko      Add a comment

This model of Hogwarts is used for overhead shots in the Harry Potter movies.

As a reward for finishing all of our exams and assignments, my flatmates and I took an afternoon trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour right outside of London. 

I should preface this post by saying that I'm a pretty big Harry Potter fan (I may have had a Harry Potter birthday party in the fourth grade...), so I apologize for the nerdiness that's likely to ensue. 

The Harry Potter studios opened to the public in March, and it's been teeming with Harry Potter fans ever since. Getting to the studio in Watford was simple — just a 20 minute, £6 train and bus ride — and we were staring at Mr. Weasley's Ford Anglia and the doors to the Great Hall. One of the great things about London is how the city makes an effort to keep things somewhat affordable for students with discounts on the Underground and train fares. The Harry Potter tour must have been popular with IC students, because my flatmates and I ran into another group ICLCers when we arrived at the studio. 

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If you're even the slightest HP fan, a visit to the studio tour is completely worth it. Snape's potions classroom, Dumbledore's office, the Gryffindor common room, Hagrid's hut — it was all on display. Neville's Remembrall and the Golden Snitch that Harry accidentally swallowed back in book 1 were even lying around. 

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We meandered through Diagon Alley, tasted some butterbeer, and spent way too much time taking photos of the giant model of Hogwarts that the filmmakers built for all of the overhead shots of the castle in the movies. There's even a section where you can try on a set of Quidditch robes and ride a green-screened "broomstick." 

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The gift shop was at the very end — basically a Harry Potter fan's dream — which sold everything from Prefect badges and Quidditch gear to those gray uniform sweaters (or jumpers, to be British about it) that Gryffindors wear under their robes. I probably could have spent all of my remaining pounds there, but I settled on a replica of Hermione's wand (my favorite character) and a Ravenclaw scarf (my house, according to J.K. Rowling's Pottermore quiz). 

When we got back to the city later that night, my flat decided to pop in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. You know, just to compare what we'd seen at the studio to the movie. It was the perfect way to spend one of our last few days in London. 

 

Written by Nicole Ogrysko      Add a comment

Countdown to the Olympics

Having a internship, or work experience as Londoners call it here, is one of the best parts about studying abroad at ICLC. On the first day of classes, my internship coordinator sat down with me and said, "Well, the letters N,B, and C should ring a bell to you, shouldn't it?" I couldn't wrap my mind around what I was hearing. NBC is my favorite American network, and I'd grown up watching NBC News for as long as I can remember, so I was pretty psyched. 

When I visited the NBC News London bureau for the first time, I expected a large, modern building akin to the network's 30 Rock headquarters in New York City. While my prediction of the building itself was accurate, I was surprised when my new supervisor led me to the back corner of a cluttered newsroom to a section of desks. 

"Well, this is it," my supervisor said, before walking back through the corridor to a second space, this time enclosed from the craziness of the area before. “There’s MSNBC, there’s the Today Show, there’s the boss — he’s not here right now,” she said, pointing around the room. Before I knew it, we were back through the doors and into the busy newsroom again, but not before I caught a glance of the back wall —  blue with “NBC News London” at the top — the same backdrop I’ve seen on the news when correspondents report live. This was… awesome.

I soon learned that NBC News shared a building with ITN, a British commercial television and news network based in London. NBC only has a small space for its news editors, producers, correspondents, reporters, and cameramen, and the London bureau handles all international news and information that appears on the Today Show, Nightly News, MSNBC, and msnbc.com.  

As one of several interns, I've spent the last few months logging footage, transcribing interviews, and helping the news editors and producers handle the daily slew of information coming in to the foreign desk at NBC's London bureau.  

But a few perks so far have really made my work experience stand out — from watching Brian Williams host Nightly News live from the London bureau to road tripping with several NBC cameramen and producers to interview an ex-Liverpool football player for an MSNBC segment. 

Even in a bustling newsroom where information comes and goes sometimes within a mere hour or two, the people at NBC have been incredibly helpful. I recently sat down with one of the producers to help her put together a news package on a new exhibition running in London that profiles the human brain. After transcribing all of her interviews from a few curators and historians, the two of us sorted through the B-roll and picked which sound clips we thought best told the story.  

After we wrote up a short script for the news package, the producer turned me and asked the unexpected, "So, do you want to do the voiceover?"

What the ..what?! I've done voiceovers many times before for WICB, but this was just a little bit different... One slightly unnerved recording session later, and I still can't believe I was able to contribute to one small part of an NBC news package. 

Check out this msnbc.com package on how scientists, historians, and even artists have spent years uncovering mysteries about the brain. 


 

Written by Nicole Ogrysko      Add a comment

Big Ben

Greetings from London! 

As I write this, I'm sitting in a cafe near the Ithaca College London Center, sipping some tea and watching the traffic roar by. Yes, I know...very British of me. 

So far, my semester in London has been absolutely unreal. Not only am I taking courses here on all of my favorite topics — media, music, and politics — but my classes make visits to the best museums, exhibits, and shows that London has to offer, from the BBC and Imperial War Museum to the Houses of Parliament and British Library. To top it off, I'm interning at NBC News London, officially fulfilling one of my lifelong dreams of working at my favorite American television and news network. My flatmates and I have all successfully found a flat that we love, mastered chunks of the vast Underground Tube network, and discovered some of London's best food, shopping, and entertainment joints. 

My reasons for choosing to study abroad in London were simple. I wanted to travel somewhere where I could observe a different culture, speak to new people, and really experience a city from the inside and out. As a journalism major, this is everything I could ask for. 

This is a big year for the city of London, which is gearing up for the 2012 summer Olympics and the Queen's Jubilee in June, a celebration of 60 years since Queen Elizabeth's coronation in 1953. 2012 also marks the 40th anniversary for the IC London Center (more on this later).

Stay tuned for updates as myself and fellow Fusie Anika document our experiences for the rest of the semester. 

 

Written by Anika Steppe      Add a comment

London Center

Between studying, working, going to galleries, eating and travelling it has been easy to keep busy here in London!

As part of the pilot Media Arts in London Program. I am taking Intermedia and Photographic Currents with photography professor Nicholas Muellner. My internship, or work placement as they call it here, was arranged through the new program as well. As a photography major I couldn’t be happier! I work at a commercial gallery in East London and with an experimental artist who is represented by the gallery. My third class is Drama in the London Theatre so I get to see a performance every week. Plus, with all of the deals through the London Center I get to go to sporting events for discounted prices too even though I'm not in the Sports in the U.K class.

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A big part of studying abroad in London is travelling. Since there are no classes on Fridays you have long weekends to hop around Europe. For Spring Break I went to Bern, Switzerland then to Delphi, Greece. The next weekend I went to Dublin for St. Patrick’s day and then off to Stratford the following weekend on a school trip. Yet weekends in London are just as exciting as I continue to find my favorite markets, restaurants, galleries, and pubs.

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I’ll be sure to keep you posted with more pictures of people, places, and of course, food!

 

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