The University of Iowa

New Year's Abroad!

January 13th, 2015

By Taylor Corrigan

It’s New Years Day! Last night I went to Piccadilly Circus to watch the fireworks and they were pretty spectacular. This year was the first year London ticketed their NYE fireworks, but I figure that was more for crowd control rather than for profit. Only those who wished to see the fireworks across from the London eye down by the River Thames were ticketed. Someone told me that last year all of the tubes had to be shut down because of too many crowds.

There were plenty of other places to see them well, such as Piccadilly, although I definitely understood the crowd concern.

It’s interesting spending NYE with people you had met only two days earlier, as well as being in a different country. I found it easier to reflect on my past year and all of its events when I felt more “alone” in a sense. It wasn’t a bad thing; I think everyone should experience a holiday away from friends and family at least once. It allows for a different perspective.

There was a parade today! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a New Years Parade in the US, especially in the Midwest when on January 1st it’s usually hugging the zero degree level. There were actually quite a few American floats/bands in the parade. 

Lovely view of Tower Bridge

London really likes Texas I’ve discovered, or it’s the state everyone associates with the US, other than New York. I’ve found that locals know what Chicago is, but they’ve never heard of Illinois; which means they definitely haven’t heard of Iowa. But I do believe the average person in the UK knows more about the US than the average American knows about the UK. I’ll admit that I didn’t know where London was in England until I watched the plane map on the back of the headrest during my flight here.

So far my overall impression of London is that it’s beautiful. We’ve only had sunny skies so far, and our area of London, Bloomsbury, reminds me of a story book town.

We took a coach tour two days ago, the day after we arrived, and I really enjoyed it. In the US our oldest buildings are 200 years old, maybe even 250. But here they still have parts of the large wall that the Romans built around 55 BC. That’s over 2000 years old! It’s hard to even wrap my head around that. Not to mention that a lot of the churches were built between the 15th and 17th centuries.

I’ll be visiting some of these buildings during this trip so I’m excited to hear the history. Tomorrow is Parliament and Saturday is Stonehenge and Windsor Castle!

*Taylor Corrigan is a senior from Iowa City, IA majoring in marketing at the University of Iowa. She is currently studying abroad on the winterim International Business Abroad program in London, England.