On my first day across the pond, I picked up a map of the Underground—the Tube, as Londoners call it—and set off to explore the city.
But the more I looked at the map, clearly intended for locals, the more incredibly confused I became.
At the time, I couldn’t have imagined that by the end of the semester, the maze of underground tunnels would become more than just a tangle of colored lines and dots on a page. I was soon off and running and eventually discovered how to get around the city. From classes at the Ithaca College London Center (ICLC) to my internship at NBC News and visits to Parliament and the Royal Albert Hall, the Tube quickly became my lifeline in exploring a new city and culture for a semester.
My first major task upon arriving in London was to find a place to stay. IC’s London program generally encourages students to find their own housing, called “flats.” To many, this may sound like an intimidating feat to conquer during a student’s first week in a foreign country. Luckily,
we weren’t entirely on our own.
The staff at ICLC gave us a list of rentals and checked our progress throughout our flat hunt. For some, the search took less than two days, but my flatmates and I spent a week comparing prices and locations.
Once I was settled into a flat, it was time for me to start my internship. During the day, “the City”—London’s financial district—is bursting with businesspeople drinking their coffee or tea on the way to the office. Several days a week, I, too, battled the morning rush hour on the way to my internship at NBC News.
I was immediately pulled into the hustle and bustle of the newsroom at my internship. I was responsible for logging footage, transcribing interviews, and helping news editors and producers handle the daily deluge of information that bombarded the network’s foreign desk. Other notable experiences included helping the crew with a production shoot in Liverpool and lending a hand with a live shot for Today in front of Buckingham Palace.
Naturally, some news days were slower than others. Days when the newsroom buzzed with activity were definite highlights—like watching NBC anchor Brian Williams host the Nightly News from the London bureau or helping one of the producers with a video package for MSNBC.com (now NBCNews.com). For the video package project, I transcribed interviews with an exhibit’s curators and then sat down with the producer to choose the footage and audio clips that best told the story. With that project came the unexpected—recording a voiceover for the segment. I’d done some recording in the past, but I was thrilled that the producer gave me the chance to go beyond the traditional intern responsibilities.
While at NBC, I glimpsed how a major television network covers international events and breaking news, from the violence in Greece and Syria to the British tabloid phone hacking scandal. As a journalism and politics major, I couldn’t think of a better way to experience the inner workings of a network news agency and see London at the same time.
I was also there to watch as London prepared for the 2012 Summer Olympics. A short train ride to the East End took me to where the city was putting the finishing touches on the Olympic stadium and village.
London is a city full of intriguing characters and venues, each with its own story. Even after four months of learning, working, and living there, I still didn’t have nearly enough time to see it all.
My semester abroad threw me into situations where I traveled to new places and learned new things every day. As an aspiring journalist, I am confident that those sights, sounds, and experiences in London will give me an enriched perspective on the stories I hope to tell in the future.
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Fuse is a student produced publication about the Ithaca College experience. All content in the print and web versions of Fuse is developed by current Ithaca College students in a breadth of different areas of study.