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Monday, June 11, 2012
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.
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.
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."
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.
Monday, June 4, 2012
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.
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