This summer, Adelante Abroad will be debuting our pilot program in London, Professional Placements in London. This six-week program runs in May and July with the goal of giving our candidates a valuable career and cultural experience in one of the world’s premier cities. Our Digital Marketing Specialist, Ryan, spent a week in the city to connect with our staff there and run through the program. Here is his account of his experience:
Day III in London, Saturday: Jet lag was definitely a factor Friday night, my second day in London. For that reason, I decided to keep things local for most of Saturday. I elected to ignore the uber tourist heavy spots in London (Big Ben, Tower Bridge, London Eye, etc). Luckily, for myself and future professional placement candidates who will be staying in Notting Hill, Portobello Road Market is a brisk walk away from the housing at Bowden Court. This is an awesome place to spend a morning or afternoon. You’ll find street vendors as well as merchants with actual shops along the street selling anything and everything. Art, souvenirs, clothes, electronics, farm fresh produce, food, drinks, you name it. The overcast skies and rainy weather made it truly feel like a London morning, too. In spite of the rain, the streets were filled with people perusing each shop and street vendor. Portobello Road Market runs the length of Notting Hill from the north to the south. Some notable places were shops selling the work of London street artist Banksy, vintage clothes shops, and Acklam Village. Definitely stop by Acklam Village for lunch. There are plenty of great food options here. There is even a full bar if you fancy getting a drink.
TIP: When you pack for London, definitely pack less than what you’ve originally planned. There are plenty of shops and markets here like on Portobello Road with enough bargains that you’ll need to make space for new clothes, souvenirs, or art work to bring home… and you’ll definitely need the luggage space. So pack lighter than you anticipate even if it gives you anxiety as you head out!
As mentioned before, jet lag was a real struggle. After Portobello Road Market, I snuck in a quick nap before heading back out to explore the surrounding area of Bayswater/Queensway along Hyde Park. Queensway, especially the stretch between the Bayswater and Queensway tube stations was lively. There was even an underground bowling alley, arcade, and ice rink on this street not to mention a slew of eatery options. Not a bad place to be for any of our future candidates who will be staying in the Bayswater area. Kensington Gardens was also nearby. Good opportunity for a photo op but served as a more functional area for the many locals who were jogging and getting exercise throughout.
As night began to fall, I headed over to the Shoreditch area to check out the City of London area. The area was pretty quiet, mainly filled with office buildings and expensive apartments. It was still worth checking out on foot. One of the great things about this city is that there are so many areas to explore on foot and get lost in. The tube makes it easy to get back to where you need to be from virtually anywhere in Zones 1 and 2. After wandering around for a while in this area and grabbing dinner, it was time to enjoy my Saturday night. I hopped on the tube and headed to a bar (The Dugout Sports Bar/Belushi’s) in the London Bridge area. This bar is adjacent to a hostel (St. Christopher’s Inn Village London Bridge) making it a great place to meet other international travelers. After a fun night mingling with some locals and other travelers it was time to find my way back home and call it a night/early morning.
TIP: The underground/tube closes at midnight so if you’re planning on staying out late (and indulging in a bit of alcohol), it would be beneficial to plan your route home before hand especially if you elect to use the bus system. Do a bit of research and see what bus or buses you need/where you need to transfer. Certain bus lines operate 24/7. Another option is getting a taxi or requesting an Uber if you don’t mind shelling out the pounds.
Day IV in London, Sunday: After a late night out on Saturday, I was in need of good food and healthy drinks. Camden Market was the perfect place for that. I hopped on the Central Line heading east, transferred to the Northern line and exited Camden Town. Immediately upon exiting the tube station, I was met with a sea of people. Camden is as happening a spot anywhere in London, especially on a Sunday. On both sides of the street are tons of different shops selling souvenirs, clothes, electronics, and more. This is a great place to get gifts for people back home that isn’t too overpriced. Camden Lock, where the food stands and merchants are, was just a short walk from the station. If you’re a foodie, this is definitely the place for you. Fresh food, drinks, desserts are being made and sold here all day. Cuisine from around the world is represented here as well; Spanish, Jamaican, Filipino, Thai, Peruvian, Argentine, and much more. They even have a cereal bar there and it is exactly how it sounds. A bar that serves breakfast cereals, no joke. During my day there, I decided to go with a fruit smoothie, fresh coconut water, and a the best shrimp sandwich I’ve ever had… and it’s not even close. Camden Lock also has a ton of different shops and vendors selling clothes, books, records, jewelry, art, trinkets, and everything in between. You could easily spend the better part of your day there as I did. On the way back to Notting Hill, to finish off the day, I decided to take the bus back instead of the tube.
TIP: While the tube is quick, easy, and convenient, it is really a good idea to take a bus once in a while if you have the time. The one disadvantage of the tube is that, since it is underground, there’s not much to look at while you’re zipping around the city. Riding around on the bus lets you fully take in each neighborhood and borough. You may even discover some cool spots to come back to later!
Be on the lookout for my next entry where I wrap up my experience in London. Cheers!
Digital Marketing Specialist, Adelante Abroad