During week 1, our class had the opportunity to do a bus tour of the city and because our program is about Race, Health, and Society in Britain our program director specifically asked the tour guides to include important landmarks that highlighted historical events related to race, immigration and minorities into our tour. The first stop was Westminster where Buckingham Palace is located along with Big Ben, Palace of Westminster, Trafalgar Square, National art museum and etc.
(Here is a picture of Palace of Westminster, unfortunately Big Ben is under construction and won’t be open until 2021. Fun fact I took this picture 6 days before the car crash outside of House of Parliament and I was actually in the area the day before the crash).
(We had the chance to watch the Horse Guards Parade and see them walk to their shift at Buckingham Palace).
Then we moved to the area where the first Caribbean’s in London settled and the council homes (public housing). It was interesting to learn about how council homes began in UK and the changes it made. I was unable to take pictures of the council homes because this was bus portion of the tour and there were was a lot going on in the streets. We visited Brick Lane as well since we’re are reading the book Brick Lane by Monica Ali. It’s a city in South London where a large population of South Asians who are mainly Bengali reside and is known for it’s authentic food and Sunday Market.
After our tour, we had a guest speaker from the National Health Service (NHS) come to our class room to speak about the Healthcare system in UK. He did a great job informing us on the history of NHS, what it stands for, and how it has impacted the country. At first it made me wonder what America would be like if everyone had free healthcare access like the UK then, as I learned more and heard about the experience one of my classmates had in the ER in London, I’m glad and proud to say the care we receive in the U.S is better than UK.
Blog by Anisa Moallem
Hello beautiful people,
This is my first time blogging so bare with me as I get the hang of this. This blog will also be posted after I return from my trip because I chose to keep a journal of before and while abroad.
A little background about myself, my name is Anisa and I am a Health Studies major and minoring in Health Education and Promotion at UWB. Two years ago, I would’ve never imagined myself being a Health Studies major and let along having the opportunity to study abroad. I was finishing my prerequisite for Nursing School when I realized it wasn’t for me but I pushed myself to continue thinking maybe by the end of my prerequisite classes I will be happy with my choice. I completed my Associates Degree and there I was dissatisfied with my accomplishment. I’ve spent two years taking courses for nursing to only find out that’s not what I wanted as a career. I made the decision to take time off to find myself and find what made me happy. I’m glad I made that choice because a year later, I found a major that is the perfect fit for me and allowed me to Study abroad.
In February, I came across a Study Abroad program about Race, Health, and Society in Britain taught by an African American professor from UW Seattle. How cool is that? I thought. I have only had one black teacher before and that was in 6th grade. So I was excited to take this course with Dr. Spigner. The only problem was this was 3 days before the deadline. I stared the application right away and minutes later I got an email from the program director notifying me I was applicant number 97 and the program only allowed 30 students, if I were serious about the program to submit my application ASAP. I had to quickly ask two of my professors for letters of recommendation and begin the application process. After I submitted my application I was interviewed by the program director and his TA and weeks later I received my acceptance letter.
Fast forward to the end of July I had to pack and get ready for the program. That’s when it hit me I’ll be in London for 4 weeks away from my family and friends for the first time. I was excited for the experience of being independent in a foreign country but I was also anxious about what it will be like traveling as a Hijabi. Will customs give me hard time? Will I face problems in London even though it’s very diverse? Were some of my worries. My parents were supportive and assured me this will be an opportunity for growth no mater what happens. They encouraged me to be positive and be myself.
Now it was time to pack and boy do I wish I listened to Dr. Spigner. One tip that was repeated over and over again during my pre-departure meetings was “packing lightly”. We were advised to do so because when we get to London we would have to take public transportation from the airport to our flats (dorms/apartments). I did exactly the opposite of that and ended up overpacking, mostly clothes I didn’t even wear once I got to London. So my tip for any future students who plan to study abroad is PACK LESS you can always buy an item or two when you get to your destination if you really need to.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading my get to know me/pre-departure. Stay tuned for my next blog about London 🙂