A Year in London 2016/17

Guy Cheatham
February 2017: Barcelona, Brexit, and more

My first four entries have consisted of my experiences both within and outside of London. I have discussed in depth my initial thoughts when first moving to the UK five months ago, the following weeks in which I was acclimating myself to a new way of life, and the unforgettable experiences in which I have had in other locations throughout Europe. The constant theme throughout the past few months has pertained to how my experience in Europe has changed me, yet a missing piece I have yet to touch on has been the things I began to notice during my time here, and how my experience here changed my outlook on the world.

The first few weeks of term for me has consisted of essays, stacks of reading, preparing for internship interviews, and preparing for the LSE Emerging Markets Forum in March, the largest of its kind. The academic climate at LSE has begun to pick up pace. Students are flooding in greater numbers into the library, and the thought of exams inching closer by the day worries some, while motivating others to spend the following weeks devoting even more time to academics. Preparing for exams is a race against the clock; you must be prepared when an assignment in which could determine your entire class mark arrives. A relief amidst the stress came in a trip to Barcelona this week, where Adrian and I visited Aaron Dawley, who is currently studying there. It was great being able to have an H-SC reunion (even though PSG shutout Barca 4-0 while we were there), and I wanted to give a shoutout to Aaron for showing us around some. He certainly picked a wonderful city to study at.

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

In the midst of being buried in books, other changes have contributed to the change in the LSE climate, in addition to overall climate of London. As substantial political developments continue to unravel worldwide, I can hear people along the streets discussing these developments, some with praise, and some with concern. I never truly understood the global implications of the change in the US presidency until moving to London, especially when witnessing large protests on every bridge during Inauguration Day. Following the election in November, students at school (some who are good friends, and some of whom I have never met) would pull me to the side to ask me, the American, about my thoughts on the election. My response would be something along the lines of how I cannot rationalize the decisions made by the ~125-150 million individuals who decided to vote, and that if the individuals who talked to me would let a few days, maybe a week pass, maybe some new developments would provide the proper explanation for Trump’s victory. It will be interesting coming back to the states following a year of being away from these developments, but for now I can interpret them through the words of others.

I have been keeping a closer eye on Brexit ever since moving to London, since the PM’s push to trigger Article 50 is occurring 15 minutes west of my residence. Despite my opinion on this debate, I think that being in London allows me to access this political development (most important one in 21st century Europe) in a way in which I can not elsewhere. When Theresa May was forced to publish an actual “Brexit bill” following the government’s defeat in a landmark case against London-based business owner Gina Miller, Miller began to receive threats all over social media and throughout the streets, as Brexit supporters flocked in droves to Westminster to protest the prevention of the immediate triggering of Article 50. I walked by these protests, and seeing the reactions to a landmark case in one of the most important political developments in recent history in person is indescribable. Most, well just about all of the people I have talked to in London, whether they be in finance, government, or academia, are against the decision to leave the EU, and with good reason. Firms throughout London are at risk of losing their passporting rights, which in turn would prevent them from being able to conduct business efficiently with other states in the EU. As Article 50 is triggered in March (maybe later), it will be interesting to observe how the actual process of leaving the EU will affect the climate around here, something I will continue to discuss in my next entries.

The following weeks, academic-wise, will be the most difficult at the LSE thus far, yet following my trip to Barcelona I hope to continue to explore new parts of London, as I realize that I do not have much more time here before I go home.

A Year in London 2016/17

Adrian Guerra
February reminded me that the sun and blue skies do exist. Since my arrival in September, I had not seen the sun or felt relatively warm weather and in that sense, February has been amazing. London is becoming livelier and less grim, which had been the vibe for most of January. School is only getting tougher, but I seem to be adapting to the European style of study, which makes this semester feel much better than the last one.We are currently on Reading week, which means we have a break from non-quantitative classes, unfortunately for me that means I only get a break from one of my courses.
I managed to get ahead of my classes so that I could take a trip with some of my friends, and Barcelona was our chosen destination. Barcelona was beyond amazing, the people were so welcoming, which is a nice change compared to the more closed off environment found here in London. The Sagrada familia has become my favorite building in all of Europe, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as breath taking as the magnitude of this church which has been under construction for one hundred and thirty one years, as odd as that may sound. The food in London is not very good, so it was also nice to eat better food in Barcelona, I think I might have eaten my body weight in paella and tapas. We spent a whole day on the beach drinking, eating, and soaking up the sun. This trip was exactly what I needed, just coming off exams and classes starting to get overly difficult again, this was the break I needed so desperately.
As much as I am enjoying my time abroad, it’s hard to say I don’t miss good ol’ H-SC, there really is no place like home.

A Year in London 2016/17

Adrian Guerra
January has been a tough month so far. Unlike in the states, LSE Students take their midterms during the first week of the month. I have spent weeks holed up in the library before the exams and all that is left is to hope I did well on them. I had two days off after taking my exams and then resumed with my classes. LSE’s classes are yearlong, so fortunately starting this semester did not require a big transition from last semester. Working and studying has proven to be a handful and very time consuming; however, it has been a wonderful experience and I believe this opportunity will definitely help me next year when I am applying for jobs. London is starting to feel more like home now, I feel more familiar with the city, the lingo, the culture, and most importantly the school. Compared to H-SC the weather here is phenomenal, it’s not warm by any mean but at least there is no snow here in London. Reflecting back on my time here, it’s crazy to think that I have already been here a full semester, time just seems to be flying by. I hope to get to travel more around Europe this semester and I am making it my goal to also explore London to its fullest.

Chin Chin

Chin Chin Lab

Last week, I went to the Lion King musical and it was outstanding, they use the whole theater to their advantage and it was just a phenomenal experience. Afterwards, I went to a very renowned ice cream shop here in London called Chin Chin Lab and had the best hot chocolate and ice cream cookie sandwich I’ve ever had. This past Sunday I decided to visit the James Bond Museum, which as a huge fan of the movies, was something I have been meaning to do for a while. The museum is composed of every car, plane, gun, or gadget ever used in a James Bond movie. Being a LSE student and living in London has been an amazing experience and I cherish this opportunity more and more every day.

James Bond Museum

James Bond Museum

International Student Reaches New Heights

The Office of Global Education and Study Abroad is pleased to republish this article from The Record about one of our international students, Gui Guimarães, who is studying abroad by earning his bachelor’s degree here on the Hill.

International Student Reaches New Heights
By Karen E. Huggard

Gui-TN Through a translator at a youth basketball clinic in Brazil, Guilherme “Gui” Guimarães ’18 and his parents received an offer for the then 17-year-old to finish high school and play basketball in United States. The catch? He had only two weeks to make the decision, secure a visa, and get himself 4,500 miles to Charlottesville, Virginia. The other catch? He spoke almost no English. With little deliberation, however, Gui remembers, “I went with the moment, packed my bags and my dreams, and headed to America.”

The journey itself was not without drama. A mix-up with his paperwork meant that Gui spent his first few hours in America in an immigration holding room at Dulles Airport. Unable to understand the agents and unsure what he was missing, Gui sat in a room crowded with crying people until his new high school supplied the correct information for his visa. He arrived in Charlottesville late that night, only to attend his first class—U.S. History—early the next morning.

Within four months of that confusing first day, the six-foot-eight Brazilian was writing essays and joking with his teammates in English. Asked how he mastered the language so quickly, Gui replies, “First of all, I had no other choice. When everything around you is in a foreign language, you have to learn it. Second, I’m an extrovert—I wanted to talk to people!” His two years at the Miller School, a boarding school with a welcoming and warm environment, prepared Gui well for college studies in the U.S.

When the time came, however, he found himself without the financial resources to attend an American university, until his first interaction with Hampden-Sydney’s alumni network came in the form of the Davis Fellowship.

Established by Norwood ’63 and Marguerite Davis, the scholarship offered Gui a ray of hope, but he never imagined that he would be chosen. In fact, he was back in Brazil when Hampden-Sydney GuiBballrequested an in-person interview, so once again he made last-minute arrangements to fly to Virginia. Honored by his acceptance as a Davis Fellow, Gui has approached all of his many activities at Hampden-Sydney with enthusiasm, excellence, and a strong competitive streak.
On the basketball court, Gui has started in 43 games over two years, averaging a 58% shooting percentage his sophomore year. Because of his athletic skill and leadership, he was named team captain this season.

In the classroom, the chemistry major’s academic achievements have led to multiple awards and recognitions. At Opening Convocation 2015, Gui received the Omicron Delta Kappa Award for academic achievement and constructive leadership; at Opening Convocation 2016, he received the President’s Award for Scholarship and Character. He is a Patrick Henry Scholar and has been inducted into both the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society and the Chi Beta Phi national science honor society.

Around campus, Gui says he “tries to inspire excellence in others.” In pursuit of that goal, he serves as a Resident Advisor and a member of the Student Court. “R.A.s are the first people freshmen see when they arrive on campus, so I know I’m a role model.” He appreciates the fact that “at H-SC, students get rewarded for doing the right thing. There is an incentive to be a man of character because people are watching.”

Gui33Gui also appreciates the College’s strong alumni network. Twice he GuiTorchhas received the Roy B. Sears ’42 Endowment for Student Internships, which he used to pursue both of his passions, chemistry and basketball. He is grateful to Rob Geiger ’94 for an internship at AmbioPharm the summer after his freshman year, where he saw firsthand what he can do with a chemistry degree. This past summer he taught basketball in his native city of Ribeirão Preto, coaching 5 to 7-year-olds during the day and 15 to 17-year-olds in the evening. It also meant the opportunity to see his native country gear up for the 2016 Olympic Games, and a chance to carry the Olympic torch when it traveled through his hometown on its way to Rio. As an R.A., he had to return to H-SC before the games began, but he is proud of Brazil’s efforts as host country.

Although he isn’t sure what the future holds, Gui knows in some way it will involve taking what he has learned at Hampden-Sydney—as a chemist, an athlete, a leader, and a citizen—back home to make a positive impact in Brazil.

A Year in London 2016/17

Guy Cheatham

Exploring New Places with Family and Friends

Michaelmas term ended back in the beginning of December and the students at LSE were relieved that they could spend the coming weeks relaxing while rejuvenating their minds to take on another intense term. Some took trains back to their hometowns throughout the UK, some flew back to other areas of the world to be with their families, while others decided to either stay in London and relax or travel. Understanding that there was a whole continent to explore, a friend and I decided to embark on a fast-paced journey, covering five countries in a span of twelve days, ranging from adventures in the frigid Icelandic tundra to sunny Venice. Following the trip my family and I decided to approach Christmas differently this year by exploring what the great city of London has to offer while enjoying each other’s company for the first time in months.

When my friend Sanjay and I planned this cross-continental trip, we focused on selecting places which we never thought we would go to in our lifetime. We wanted to diversify this trip, making each location as different from the previous as possible. A goal was to see completely contrasting cultures and landscapes, and based on the locations we selected, I believe we achieved said goal. On December 10th, we were on a plane to Reykjavik, Iceland, a city of 200,000 people, constituting approximately two-thirds of the entire Icelandic population. Iceland has seen a significant boom in tourism in the past decade (there are more tourists on the island at a given time than inhabitants), and considering the adventures on which visitors can embark, there is no need to question why. The country has a beautiful landscape, ranging from snowy glaciers to green pastures which appear to come right out of Game of Thrones. The horses there are indigenous only to Iceland, and we were able to see them run in unison along the countryside on the way to go snowmobiling in Lanjökull, the second largest glacier in Iceland. The conditions were rough that day, as there was a severe blizzard, yet we thought of it as a part of the adventure, making it feel like we were truly in the tundra. When combining this experience with witnessing the Aurora Borealis, Iceland was truly an unforgettable experience, one of which I would recommend to anyone who hungers for adventure in the Arctic.

Snowmobiling in Lanjökull

Snowmobiling in Lanjökull

Following our adventure in Iceland, we made short stops in Amsterdam and Venice, touring the Dutch city’s illustrious Heineken Brewery and meeting our friend Allison in the Italian port city, where we embarked on a gondola ride and toured around San Marco. Our next destination was in Slovenia to meet our friend Matic, who is a Masters student at LSE. We spent the first day hiking at gorgeous Lake Bled, followed by a nighttime trip to a Christmas market in the capital city of Ljubljana, which was filled with delicious food and drinks in addition to lively music. The final destination of the trip was in Budapest, a city filled with ruin bars (abandoned warehouses/homes which were turned into bars), Christmas markets, art galleries and museums, and the infamous Buda palace. It is difficult to pick a favorite destination among the ones visited since each is quite different from the other, yet each place was fantastic in its own way.

Overlooking the canals in Venice.

Overlooking the canals in Venice

 

This trip did not mean the end of my winter break adventures, as my family arrived in London 36 hours after I returned. We were ecstatic to see each other, as it had been months since the entire family had been together, and I was incredibly excited to show them a city which has become another home for me. We spent the week touring the city, visiting art galleries, pubs, and common iconic locations like 10 Downing St. and Trafalgar Square, making that week an unforgettable adventure. Between my cross-continental trip and adventures throughout London with my family, winter break was an experience which I will remember forever. Now that term has started back up, I am back to focusing on my studies and overall making the most out of the LSE experience. I hope everyone’s New Year has been off to a fantastic start! Cheers.

“Bon Voyage” 2017

Tillmon Cook

Semester at Sea 2017

“My name is Tillmon; I am from a small, rural town outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, but I go to Hampden-Sydney College located in central Virginia.”  This is the line I’ve been saying for the past two weeks while trying meet all the new people that I’ll be spending the rest of four months on a ship with.

semester at sea

MV World Odyssey

I am currently sailing to Kobe, Japan from Honolulu, Hawaii.  I have now been a part of the sea-life for eight days, and even though my voyage has been to one port, I have seen some of the most wonderful and beautiful parts of the earth.

I originally applied for Semester at Sea with uncertain expectations.  I mean, who gets to sail around the world and see the places that you only see on National Geographic while taking classes for school credit?! I’ll be honest, even though I’ve been on the voyage for a little over a week, it still hasn’t settled with me yet.

Like I said earlier, I am traveling from Hawaii to Japan.  I had never been to Hawaii before, but all I know is that I want to go back as soon as possible.  I was lucky enough to have a field class (every class has one of these) that went to the University of Hawaii.  Here, we listened to two environmentalists that spoke with us about Hawaii’s environmental policy.  Their focus was to have freshwater sustainability on the island.  Afterwards, we ate lunch and then traveled to Hanauma Bay.  I was speechless when I saw the landscape.  I had never seen anything more tropical.  I’ve only seen these types of places in pictures!  While we were at the bay, we snorkeled and got to see the different types of marine life.

Hanauma Bay 2 copy

Hanauma Bay

The day came to an end and my roommate and I were standing out on one of the decks.  As the ship began to depart, the reality hit me pretty hard that I wouldn’t see the United States again until I come home (and on the other side).  All I could think was “oh man, I’m actually doing this.”  Nevertheless, I am excited about my voyage, and I hope to learn as much as I can about all the cultures around the world.  Not many people realize that they have a singular view about places.  I know that I am/was like this, so I want to experience first-hand and share my stories with others.

Fun in Hawai

Hanauma Bay

A Year in London 2016/17

Adrian Guerra

On November 22, the British Parliament honored John Hampden for his patriotic acts during the British civil war. Miles Buchinghamshire, the earl of Buchinghamshire and descendant of John Hampden, invited Guy and me to the ceremony and to lay a wreath in front of the statue of John Hampden.

john-hampden-wreath-ceremony

Honoring John Hampden

I woke up really early, since we had to be there by 8:30, and the commute was roughly about an hour. When we got there we couldn’t help but to admire the stunning scenic view that was in front of us. Parliament was a sight to behold and looked massive in size. We got a special tour of Parliament from the earl, Dominic Grieve (Conservative and former Attorney General), and Ruth Cadbury (The Labour Party’s spokesperson on Housing).

We learned a lot about the British government and about John Hampden’s role in the civil war. Did you know the Queen cannot go into most of the rooms in Parliament? She mostly stays in the House of Lords. I don’t think she has much to complain about though, because she has a fairly impressive golden chair in there. In addition to the House of Lords we went to the House of Commons, and that is as small as it looks on the television.  We found out they are planning on moving the House of Commons to a bigger venue to accommodate more people. We were not allowed to explore more of parliament on such short notice, but the trip was well worth it anyway. The architecture was beyond beautiful and the history that this building has was awe-striking.  The connections we made were incredible and the experience definitely once in a lifetime. It has almost been a full semester and I am beginning to feel completely immersed in the British culture.

british-parlament

Westminster….a view from across the Thames in the morning.

A Year in London 2016/17

Remembering and Commemorating John Hampden

Guy Cheatham

I have taken the tube several times to Westminster. I have walked down the Southbank numerous times over to this area. The bridge is swarmed by workers, students, tourists, and double-decker buses, as individuals look over the bridge to see the magnificence that is the historic House of Parliament. I look at the British government’s legislative headquarters and wonder what goes on inside, considering the intense political climate resulting from Theresa May’s push to trigger Article 50 and have Britain say farewell to its membership of the European Union. Luckily I was given the opportunity to find out.

Three-hundred and seventy-five years ago England was engaged in a bloody civil war, as Charles I’s power and legitimacy as king hung in the balance. Charles contested with Parliament early on in his reign, since he believed that the legislative body sought to curb his royal prerogative, and as a firm believer in the divine right of kings, he was confident in being able to govern under his own judgment. His policies were strongly disapproved by many of his subjects, considering said policies to be characteristic of a tyrannical absolute monarch. Disapproval came from the House of Parliament, among the leaders in the challenge to Charles’ rule being John Hampden. This disapproval stemming from the King’s subjects and Parliament resulted in the English Civil War, ending in the execution of the tyrannical king and the rise of Oliver Cromwell. Three-hundred and seventy-five years after this bloody conflict in which Hampden was lionized for, I was given the opportunity to take part in a ceremony commemorating his efforts to defeat a tyrannical monarch.

http://www.hsc.edu/Images/HSChistory/hampden.jpg

John Hampden (1594-1643)

Adrian and I walk into the House of Parliament on a cold Tuesday morning in Westminster. We were accompanied by the Earl of Buckinghamshire (descendant of Hampden), some of his colleagues, and two MPs (Parliament members). We make our way into Westminster Hall, one of the most historic rooms in the House of Parliament, as we were walking through the very room that Charles I was sitting in over three centuries earlier before the High Court of Justice, being sentenced to death for making war on Parliament and the people of England. Following the tour of Westminster Hall, came the wreath laying ceremony for John Hampden. Adrian and I were asked to lay the wreath before his statue in St. Stephen’s Hall, marking the commemoration of the stance Hampden took against tyrannical rule for the people of England. Following the ceremony, we were given the privilege to walk through the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The House of Commons is certainly much smaller and a more intimate setting than I expected, making it difficult to visualize how hundreds of MPs can fit into this small chamber. The House of Lords is a fascinating chamber as well, especially The Queen’s chair, covered in pure gold. Overall the experience in the House is an experience I will never forget. It is an intense political environment rich in history, and I am glad that I was able to be a part of its magnificence.

Wreath laying ceremony at the stuew of John Hampden

Adrian and myself at the Statue of John Hampden.

Many thanks to Dr. Widdows and the Earl of Buckinghamshire for setting up this opportunity for Adrian and myself.

A Year in London 2016/17

Guy Cheatham

Taking Time to Smell the Roses

I was going to my noon class for Public Policy Analysis this morning, taking my typical route to campus. I exit Bankside and make my way north to the river, cross the Blackfriars Bridge, and continue my commute alongside the murky Thames until I reach the Temple underground. I make my way across a roundabout to Aldwych St. to the LSE Garrick coffee shop, order a coffee, and begin to study game theory. This morning seems like a typical city commute; I was focused on getting to my destination and knew that like a typical day at LSE, I had a full plate for my day, and while I could talk about the rest of the day and my notable experiences in London thus far, I would like to focus on the observations I make on my commute and their significance.

An early evening view of the Thames

An early evening view of the Thames

Let us begin with the beginning of this walk. I walk outside my complex in the morning to be greeted with arguably the most illustrious modern art gallery in the world, being the Tate Modern. Though the gallery is not much to look at from the outside, the inside of the gallery contains a large collection of the finest pieces of modern expressionist art. The next part of the walk is when I get to the River Thames, where I am greeted by one of Sir Christopher Wren’s finest contributions to the city, being St. Paul’s Cathedral, an iconic landmark from the great rebuilding of the city following the Great Fire in the 17th century. I have walked a quarter mile at this point and have seen two world renowned landmarks. Following the walk on Blackfriars, I continue to commute alongside the river and can see the London Eye, Big Ben, The House of Parliament, The Financial District, and several other iconic parts of the city. When I go on this daily commute, I think of how my former college golf coach told me about how in this fast paced phenomenon we call life it is important to take time and smell the roses. I always go to campus early so that I can take my time and be able to enjoy city and its complex yet magnificent history around me.

Four centuries of architecture

Four centuries of architecture covered in one landscape.

The commute is not the only point of discussion worth including. When one moves to a new city, it is common for him/her (well at least me) to constantly make new observations about the new environment. London is a fast city, yet I can enjoy the luxury of walking at my own pace without getting trampled by a crowd of frantic folks. London style is certainly different from that of American style in terms of dress. People here enjoy wearing darker and nice clothing and typically pair their clothing with an upscale pair of tennis shoes, and considering the fact that I walk an average of six to seven miles per day, it is easy to take part in the Nike bandwagon.

An aerial view of the Roman Baths in

An aerial view of the Roman Baths in Bath, a place illustrious for it’s healing waters in Roman Britain.

 

The first few weeks have been quite eye opening and have been an absolute enjoyment. It is an environment that is politically active and consists of individuals from across the globe. The city has also emerged from its gastro-pub era (even though there are some still around) to a city with excellent food from across the globe (especially Indian and Asian cuisine). These points in which I have discussed have been just a small portion of my experiences so far, but with each day in London I learn something new, and this sort of experience continues to show the importance of becoming culturally educated in addition to understanding environments in other areas of the world. The commitment to being away from home for a year is certainly a gamble, especially in a place in which I have never visited before, yet I am more confident each day that this gamble will reward me in the end.