Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The Daily Gazette interviewed Mariam Zachary ’13 about her time studying abroad in London, where she is spending the current semester at Queen Mary University. We asked her to choose her top five moments thus far and give us a glimpse into her life in the UK.
Mariam’s Top 5 Moments
Number Five: Walking by the Thames
The Thames is the second longest river in the United Kingdom. It is amazing to walk by this river at any time of day. You get to see many of the major tourist attractions, including Big Ben, The London Eye, and the London Bridge. It’s a peaceful, beautiful, and relaxing walk.
Number Four: Picking a direction and walking
London is a wonderful city to explore on foot. One of my favorite activities here is to just pick a direction and start walking. I have found many great local places (hidden treasures!) by doing that.
Number Three: Borough Market
Borough Market is the best food market I have ever been to. There is a huge variety of foods. It has over 70 stalls offering ciders, cheeses, breads, pastries, and meat. It has an absolutely amazing multicultural vibe.
Number Two: Exploring old authentic pubs
There are many authentic pubs in London. One of my favorites is Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, which was built in 1667. It has a lot of different rooms and a hidden entrance. It feels very old and mysterious.
Number One: Portobello Road
This is my absolute favorite place in London. This road hosts a street market, in addition to all the stores already there, every weekend. There are many stalls, ranging from food and prints to clothes and antiques. There are also musicians playing on the sidewalk, which gives the market an artsy feel.
“Things London Has Made Me Good At”
Directions: I can now navigate really well using a map. When you have no idea where you are going and the only thing you have is a map, you tend to get good at it quickly.
Time-telling: I can now decipher military time without constantly subtracting 12 hours in my head.
Street-crossing: When I first got here, I almost got hit by a bus way too many times. Now I don’t really have to think about looking right and then left. I can finally jay-walk without fear of getting hit by a car or bus!
Accents: I am now able to differentiate between a northern and a southern London English accent as well as between the different cities!
Some Awesome British Phrases and Words
That is so yum
Are you off-out? (headed out?)
Way out (exit)
It is a bit nippy in here (it is a bit chilly in here)
This is wicked
Mind the gap!