Monday, June 3, 2013

London Exploring and My First Day at Work

Yesterday our on-site coordinator from Panrimo, who also conveniently sometimes works as a tour guide, showed us the major sites around London! We started the day by walking to our closest tube station (that's the London Underground, which is the subway they have for those who aren't familiar with it) to buy our oyster cards. Oyster cards are great and very necessary to have if you are in London for any sort of extended time. We purchased ones that allow us unlimited access to the underground and the buses that we can renew every week. As we need those to get to work and anywhere else we'd like to go, they will prove quite handy. From there, we took the tube to see Big Ben the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey which are all located around parliament square. Geoff shared with us an interesting misconception about Big Ben. The tower itself is called Queen Elizabeth Tower. Big Ben is actually the bell inside that chimes every fifteen minutes. From where we were, we could also see the London Eye which is a Ferris wheel that has pods that are completely clear glass so you get amazing views of the city.

From Parliament Square we walked to Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square contains many restaurants
and touristy type shops as well as the National Gallery which houses one of the largest collections of art in the country and is free to the public. Then we took a bus to St. Paul's Cathedral. It was my first experience on a London Bus. The system is quite confusing but we've been studying up on where we'd need to go! We used our oyster cards and the bus was driving again before we even scanned our cards! We saw some beautiful streets with very interesting places. After getting off near St. Paul's Cathedral, we walked over the Millennium Bridge which is the only pedestrian bridge across the River Thames (pronounced like "tims"). Geoff told us that the bridge has the nickname "the wobbly bridge" because when it first opened in 2000, when a substantial amount of people walked on it, the bridge began to wobble. It had to be closed for two years to fix it. After walking over the bridge, we walked along the Thames for a little while and took in all the sights. There were street performers and restaurants. We also passed by the reconstructed Globe Theater. This theater is modeled after Shakespeare's original theater and does performances of his plays almost every night. My roommates and I are planning to be "groundlings" at a show soon. A groundling stands during the performance to watch the play and has the best view for the cheapest price.

We stopped for lunch at a local pub where we went over a lot good things to know about the city, where to go, where not to go, how to use the currency, etc. I tried my first English beer and even ordered the fish and chips! Not my favorite, but it wasn't too bad. From there we took the tube back to our street and did some shopping. We were exhausted after such a long day of walking around!

This morning I began my internship!Shanda and I are both at the International Community School (ICS) so we took the tube together to meet Geoff who was going to walk us to work. We got there and met Tricia who is the intern supervisor and learned more about what we will be doing specifically. The school year doesn't end for another three weeks we learned. So for the next few weeks I will be in a Year 4 class which equates to 3rd grade in America. We started out by getting a tour of the school which interestingly is located next to and beneath apartment buildings. Once we were done in the front office we went down a staircase to sky blue hallway. The main hallway is actually underground, but the classrooms get some light from windows higher up on the wall. So the space is a little tight in the hallways and the classroom, but it's amazing how they all make it work. Each class has less than 20 students. They had many resource rooms for reading, writing, learning English and so on. My classroom was located upstairs within the apartment building. The school also has a fenced in playground behind the apartment complex. I was told that some classes get to go across the street to Regent's Park to play on certain days.

Today was culture day so students who are from all over were dressed up like where they were from and most all of them dressed up like someone would in their country and brought some traditional food. My class had students from all over including America, Finland, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Lybia, Japan and of course England. And those are only a few, I couldn't remember or even attempt to spell some of them. They seemed to be a great class and I even got to work with a few ELL (English Language Learner) students on their English. They were very well-behaved and seemed like amazing kids. It's getting towards the end of the year so things are a little crazy throughout the school, as it would be with any school. Especially since this week is so sunny, the kids are crazy to have summer.

Today was a short day at work, but tomorrow will be longer! I can't wait to spend more time getting to know the kids I'll be working with! 

1 comment:

  1. Love your posts so far Alyssa! I'm looking forward to traveling along with you on this adventure. Love, Aunt Karen xo