The past two days have been very busy for us here in London. We started off Tuesday with an official visit to the offices of Swiss Re, a reinsurance firm at the heart of the London financial district. We listened to a fantastic presentation from four employees at various roles in the company, including one top executive. Many students were amazed at the corporate culture and the wide ranging diversity of areas of expertise in the company; employees ranged from data scientists to economists to meteorologists. One of the highlights of this experience was that the firm was located in the Gherkin building, an iconic landmark on the London skyline. We were able to travel to the top of the building to see a 360 degree view of Central London.
From there, we went to the London School of Economics and Political Science where students toured the University. This was an exciting opportunity to see a school that one might want to either apply directly to or study abroad in. Located in the heart of the city, it was comparable to NYU in its campus structure. After student led tours, we changed from business casual to athletic clothing for the activities to come.
Seniors and juniors broke off into separate groups (on Thursday, these activities will be switched). Juniors took an exciting bike tour through many landmarks in the city and enjoyed dinner at the Raj Kensington, a restaurant serving British-Indian cuisine. On the other hand, seniors volunteered at Rhythms of Life, a charity dedicated to feeding and educating London’s homeless population. Before the trip, students had worked on raising $2,000 to give to the charity to meet their goal of buying a hybrid car to transport goods. Note that there is still ongoing fundraising efforts, so please contact Mr. Kaser if you would like to contribute.
Students helped out by cooking, taking inventory, organizing foods, and helping the charity move into their new space. One amazing experience was serving the homeless in Trafalgar Square, where students had the opportunity to interact with and have conversations with London’s homeless. Rhythms of Life gave us the incredible opportunity of understanding and developing of further empathy towards people of all walks of life. Seniors then went to dinner at Italian restaurant Prezzo and headed home.
On Thursday, we woke up bright and early to travel to Bexley Grammar School in southeast London. After a 1.5 hour bus ride, we were paired up with students in our respective grades and genders. We shadowed them throughout the day and visited their classes. We also attended an assembly in which ABF seniors Perri Wang and Ryan Leung presented about ABF and BCA’s IB program. We concluded the school day with a classic British football (soccer) match in which mixed-school teams competed on Bexley’s gorgeous field and facilities.
We then took the bus back to the hotel where we got ready for dinner and headed to Belago’s, a Belgian restaurant in Leicester Square. From there, we went to watch the world’s longest running play, the Mousetrap. Based on an Agatha Christie novel, this murder mystery had us at the edge of our seats throughout the evening. After finding out who the killer was (we’ll never tell), we headed home to Kensington, ending our busy and fulfilling two days in London!
- IS & SP