As the eminent 18th century writer Samuel Johnson famously said, “When a man [or woman!] is tired of London, he [or she!] is tired of life.” That still holds true. London is, simply put, one of the world’s great cities. For centuries, it has been the center of British government, economy, and culture, and it remains a dynamic, diverse city of inexhaustible riches to explore.
There are, of course, the well-known sights, some of which you will be seeing on class fieldtrips but others left to you to explore. Reproductions and internet tours are all well and good, but they are just not the same as seeing in person the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum (not to mention amazing artifacts from Africa, Europe, Asia and elsewhere—much the spoils of Empire) or the tombs of the mighty dead in Westminster Abbey or the splendors of Buckingham Palace, not to mention The British Library (Magna Carta; Shakespeare’s First Folio), The Tower of London (the Crown Jewels) and countless other places.
But beyond these famous places are lesser-known museums, lovely parks, some of the best contemporary art, music and the most vibrant theater scene in the world, older and more contemporary, West End blockbusters and more avant-garde work. Then there is the amazing and affordable food at the markets all over town (think Reading Terminal Market x 10), hip shops and the pleasures of its countless squares, mazy alley-ways and mews, and cafes. For all its history, London is a living, pulsing, diverse city, each of its neighborhoods with its own flavor, and thriving immigrant communities from all over the globe. It is also a remarkably safe city for a metropolis its size, though it’s always important to keep your eyes open. For instance, London’s homicide rate is approximately 1/10th that of Philadelphia’s; its robbery rate is about the same.
Finally, London is a gateway to other great places; despite Brexit (i. e., Britain’s exit from the European Union, sure to be a topic of discussion during the program), it will still be easy to get to Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, and Bruges, or travel throughout the United Kingdom.
Housing and meals
Students will live in shared rooms in dorms or flats, with access to shared lounge space and kitchens, and while the exact housing location will not be determined until after the program deadline, students have previously lived in dorms in East London and a converted 19th century Victorian terraced house in west central London; currently, Arcadia is using two main housing venues, each located on the Tube’s Northern Line and within a public transport commute to class of 30 – 60 minutes (great for London!). Each one has a comfortable, close-knit atmosphere with 24-hour live-in staff. Given Arcadia’s decades of experience in London, you can be sure they will assign excellent student lodgings; the summer 2018 group is tentatively scheduled to reside in Princess Elizabeth House, which is made up of shared flats and studios, with a limited number of single rooms. With all modern fixtures and high speed internet, the commute is worthwhile for the comfortable housing with nearby shops, grocery stores, pubs and restaurants available just a short walk away. Meals are not included, but students will have access to shared kitchens, so you must budget estimates for additional expenses. Occasionally, additional housing beyond what is outlined above and Arcadia's website is arranged each term, as needed and accepted students will be informed of their housing assignment before departure.