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Study abroad in London, England with Panrimo!
Dani Smith is a 21 year old from Fairfax, Virginia (although she spends her summers in Ocean City, NJ). She majors in Special Education at James Madison University and took summer classes on London's history and pop culture at University of Westminster in London. She enjoys meeting new people, collecting postcards and Dachshund puppies.
When: Summer of 2012
Highlights: The academic highlight of my trip was the quality of my professors. Both men were extremely qualified in their area of expertise and easy to talk to. Both of my professors understood that their students were only in London for a few weeks and they wanted us to get to most out of our trip. The classes weren't about sitting in a classroom and cramming facts about London into your head; they were about discovering new places and forming opinions and then sharing them with your class and professor, whether that was through a presentation or a series of short essays depended on the class.
The social highlight of my trip was traveling all over England with my new friends from all over the United States. I met people from States that I almost forgot existed and where I couldn't imagine living but we all had similar personalities and a love for traveling. It was great to be able to talk about the differences between growing up outside Washington DC with Chicago or Seattle and realize that even though we were all from different time zones in the US there were many ways we could relate and connect. I've been keeping in touch with my friend from London and I really hope to reunite with them all someday!
Morning: A typical day in London with University of Westminster's summer program consisted of waking up around 8:30 AM to get ready, eating breakfast in kitchen sometimes with others staying in the dorm/hostel, taking the underground at 9:30 AM and arriving in Oxford Circus (one of the busiest places in London) for class. Class lasted until 1 PM and was only Monday through Thursday. My first session class was about the History of London through London's museums so we met at a different location every morning. This really helped me understand the city and see many "off the map" places. My second session class, London: Culture Capital of the World met in University of Westminster's main building on Regent Street every morning but had field trips every Wednesday.
Afternoon: After class in the first session I would usually explore whatever part of London we were in for class a little longer. My professor would often suggest places for our class to eat lunch or nearby sites to see before we left. A few of my classmates lived in my dorm so we would venture out together after class. In the second session I would often plan out my afternoon the night before and just get out of class and go. I knew how to navigate the city better and was more comfortable being by myself. Also, time was running out so I started checking sites and activities off my own "London Bucket List."
Evening: Since I usually ate lunch out I tried to cook dinner at home. It was all pretty basic but it got the job done. Every Tuesday night the University of Westminster Social Programme had an event planned for us. Sometimes it was a walking tour, other times it was a West End show but regardless it was an easy way to meet new people and see different parts of London's culture. Other nights I went to pubs and bars with friends from my dorm. London's nightlife doesn't last very long so if we didn't go to club we were usually home before midnight. I think that aspect helps more than it hurts. Not staying out until 4AM on a Tuesday helped take advantage of the next day and see all that the city had to offer (although we did go to a few clubs and stay up that late on Thursdays since we didn't have class Fridays). As cliche as it sounds, this kind of trip is really one of those "it's what you make it" things. There were so many different types of people that it was easy to find people that had the same interests and mind sets.
This experience has impacted my future in so many ways. First of all I feel able to relate to many more topics in school and everyday life. For example, in my first semester back after London I needed to take a general education art class and on the first day my teacher talked about the Tate Modern and Banksy, the British graffiti artist. Without my trip to London I most likely wouldn't have known anything about either of those topics but instead I was excited to learn more. Personally, I learned a lot about how comfortable I am by myself. I'm definitely not a complete introvert but I learned how to enjoy some peace and quiet everyday even if I was in the middle of one of the biggest cities on Earth.
GO: Why choose Panrimo?
Dani:I chose Panrimo because of their excellent communication and customer service. I was very busy junior year with a heavy course load and a part time job but Panrimo made it extremely easy for me to study abroad. They always answered questions through email quickly and thoroughly. I never felt like I was dealing with a large company where I was only a number and a check and that made a huge difference in the 6 month long process! Panrimo understood what I wanted out of my experience abroad because they asked and cared then they catered my experience to those preferences and I had the trip of a lifetime.
GO: How has this experience impacted your future?
Dani: This experience has impacted my future in so many ways. First of all I feel able to relate to many more topics in school and everyday life. For example, in my first semester back after London I needed to take a general education art class and on the first day my teacher talked about the Tate Modern and Banksy, the British graffiti artist. Without my trip to London I most likely wouldn't have known anything about either of those topics but instead I was excited to learn more. Personally, I learned a lot about how comfortable I am by myself. I'm definitely not a complete introvert but I learned how to enjoy some peace and quiet everyday even if I was in the middle of one of the biggest cities on Earth.
Panrimo is a company born of a friendship established between co-founders Paul and Tony while studying at Western Michigan University. Because of their mutual interests in travel, seeing new places, and the desire to avoid a monotonous college life, Paul and Tony put their heads together to come up with "Panrimo." Described as "an odd name for a serious decision," it salutes both Pangea (yes, the super connected super continent!) and the Latin word for explore, "rimo," thus denoting their underlying message- travel better, in a world that's connected better.
Panroamer alumni are guaranteed lifetime admittance into the Panrimo Travel Club - this includes access to free airport pick up in Panrimo's host countries, access to Panrimo coordinators in partner cities, letters of recommendation from the founders, visa and passport assistance, international travel advice, and access to Panrimo's excursions and cultural immersion activities - for life!