What The World Has To Offer
What The World Has To Offer
  • 김혜연
  • 승인 2002.11.06 00:00
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After attending seven consecutive semesters at Ewha, I applied for a leave of absence this semester. I had participated in various non-curricular activities which were self-fulfilling but also had left me burned out by the time I was a senior. Like all undergraduate seniors, I had to think about and prepare for the future. I chose to postpone living reality. And during this time, I was lucky enough to get the chance to visit London, U.K. from October 15 to October 30.
London is known to be a city that is rich in historical and cultural heritage and is the capital of a major player in contemporary international politics. As a History major and avid novel reader, I had a vague fantasy that even breathing in London would be different because it would be breathing the stage air of so many important scenes.
Yes, the air in London was different ­ that and everything else were dirtier than Seoul?. Moreover, the prices were roughly twice than those of Seoul"s; a fact that did not immediately register because one pound (a coin) felt like 1000 won (because in Seoul it would be cost around that much) but really was closer to 2000 won.
However, it was also a city that did justice to the term "rich in historical and cultural heritage." Almost everyday I was there, I went sightseeing to different locations ­ Mayfair, along the Thames, Old Kensington, Old Hamstead Village etc. and museums and parks, or shopping (window-shopping would be a more accurate description in most of the cases).
The parts of the city I visited were picturesque in the sense that the old buildings were well kept and in use and the new buildings somehow did not strike a discordant note in the whole atmosphere. Why could not Seoul be more like this?
Several times, I joined The Original London Walks, a walking tour with fantastic guides who introduce places with anecdotes and bits of history so that one gets to know more about a place than that it is famous. And of course, the British Museum and the National Gallery included in the tour. By visiting the two, I saw more than half of the works I studied in my Introduction to Art History class. But more importantly, by actually seeing the works, I was able to catch a glimpse of why they were so well known.
Students learning English as a second language learn that polite conversation talks about weather. I never really understood that until now ­ I found myself describe the weather enthusiastically even to close friends. The highlight of which was the wind of October 27 ­ it was like the wind in Disney"s "Mary Poppins," when she first appears in front of Jane and Michael"s house.
And last but not least, I do not know whether it is the egg or the chick, but first class musicals and classical concerts were accessible at reasonable prices. One could get decent enough seats for 10 pounds (whereas going to the cinema costs about seven pounds). I went to see "My Fair Lady," and Itzhak Perlman with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and thoroughly enjoyed both shows.
Although the London air was not as special as I dreamed it would be, going to London was an unforgettable experience. London is truly a city worth visiting.

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