Danielle Davidson

Danielle Davidson
Study Abroad 2014
Hi! My name is Danielle. I am a study abroad student at Queen Mary for the semester from the University of Miami in the U.S. There I study advertising, but here I am studying a whole bunch of different subjects including history, business, and theatre. I love music and musical theatre (and London is one of the best places in the world to be for theatre!) Here at Queen Mary, though, I decided to try some new things and have joined the Harry Potter Appreciation Society and the Baking Society. Some day I hope to combine my education in advertising and my love for theatre by working in the business side of the theatre industry.

Holiday Away From Home

There are certain times of year when it’s harder to be away from family than usual. Holidays tend to be at the top of that list. One of the things I associate most with holidays is spending time with family. Combine not being with family on a holiday plus being in a country where that holiday isn’t even celebrated, and you’ve got Thanksgiving abroad.

This was the first time I have ever had class on Thanksgiving (and probably the only time I ever will). It’s also the first time I haven’t been with family for this holiday. Not being with the people I am most thankful for on a day designated for showing thankfulness was tough.

But it’s amazing how kind and warm people can be. I had a potluck Thanksgiving with some of the American friends I’ve made here. We laughed, shared stories, and made a surprisingly good dinner for a group of kids who have never made Thanksgiving dinner before. I also got a message from a British friend asking if I had somewhere to go for the holiday to make sure I wouldn’t have to be alone, and I tried to pass on this holiday spirit by inviting a classmate last minute when I found out he had nowhere to go.

Not being with family when you want to be with them most is hard, but friends can be family too. My friends certainly helped me start off a great holiday season, and they gave me plenty to be thankful for.

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Crunch Time

There’s this disease that is well-known to college students. They call it end-of-term-itis. It sneaks up on you, especially as a study abroad student who has been exploring and traveling at every opportunity. All of a sudden, there are only a few weeks left in the semester, and you actually have to start working on the five essays you haven’t thought about since they were assigned. Where did all the time go? you think. There was so much of it, and now it’s gone! And then the Stress Monster attacks. I’ve compiled a few tips on how to banish him and finish out the semester as strongly as you started it.

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  1. Look at your reading lists. All of my professors gave supplementary reading lists at the beginning of the semester. I didn’t really pay much attention to them when I got them, but they are proving very useful in finding resources for my essays.
  2. Take one thing at a time. When I sat down and looked at the assignments I needed to complete, I was totally overwhelmed. My mind was pulled in too many directions and I couldn’t focus on any of them. Once I decided to tackle one assignment at a time, I became a lot more productive.
  3. Go to the library. Aside from being a great source of research material, the library can be a good change of pace. The upper floors of the library have lots of quiet study spaces that can make it easier for me to focus because everyone around me is focused. Added bonus: no need to leave the building to get coffee or a snack – there is a café inside the QMUL Mile End library.
  4. If you get stuck, take a break. Go for a walk, read a fun article on Buzzfeed, or watch a few YouTube videos. It may sound counterproductive, but when I find myself getting mentally blocked, the most productive thing can sometimes be to step away from it for a little while.

Happy studies!

A Cup (or Two) a Day

I have asked several friends what amount of tea you can consume in a day before it becomes a problem. I’ve always been a tea drinker (unlike most Americans), but my daily tea intake has increased by about 200% since I came to London in September. I’m finally in a country where it’s not considered strange that I prefer tea to coffee, and I’m letting it get to me.IMG_0462

I see coffee as a wake-up drink: a grab it and go shot of caffeine. Tea, on the other hand, is the drink of relaxation. A nice hot mug as a relaxing start to the morning, a calming break in the afternoon, and a way to wind down at the end of the day. Amidst the chaos of classwork and travel and laundry and whatever else comes throughout the day, I always have a cup of tea to look forward to.

Out of deference to my love for tea, I’ve gone for a traditional afternoon tea once three times since I’ve been in London. The first was on my own a week after arriving (sounds odd, I know, but there’s something incredibly lovely about treating yourself). The second was with my parents at the Pump Room in Bath (highly recommended – not cheap, but much cheaper than a comparable tea in London). And finally, just for good measure, I went to the tea arranged by the study abroad office during Reading Week.

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For you nay-saying coffee drinkers out there, you have to give tea a try while you’re in London. It’s a British tradition! Plus, when you drink it out of a fancy cup, you feel wonderfully classy 🙂

A Warm Welcome

Being an associate student is strange in some ways: you’re new and don’t know the ropes, but you’re unlike the other new students because it’s not your first year. It can seem a little bit daunting to figure out where and how to find people who are in the same boat as you.

That’s where the study abroad office comes in. I have found that one of the best things about the Queen Mary Study Abroad Office is that they make it easy to experience new things and meet people with similar interests and experiences. They organize events throughout the semester that give you the opportunity to experience things you might not have pursued on your own.

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I went on a bus tour of London, toured the National Theatre, saw a performance at Shakespeare’s Globe, had afternoon tea… And all of the other students at these events are people who were equally excited for them, so I got to meet a lot of people with similar interests to me. Some of the best friends I have made since the beginning of the semester were through these events.

I would definitely say taking advantage is key – you should take every opportunity that is presented to you and make the most of it. Whether opportunity comes via a society, the Student Union, the Study Abroad Office, or a flat mate, experience as much as possible. The more you experience of London, the more you’ll feel at home.

A Balancing Act

As an American, there is a unique aspect of being in Europe that appeals to me: I can be in another country in less time than it would take me to get from my house to my university in the States (a 20 hour drive… you’d be in the ocean if you tried to drive for that long in the UK). There is this pressure and excitement to travel Europe while studying in London that comes along with that ease of travel. I don’t want to go home in December and feel like I missed out on anything.

I’ve already been to Brussels and Bath, and I have plans to travel to Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, and Rome. But it’s easy to forget the main reason I’m here – they call it study abroad for a reason. Traveling so much makes it hard to figure out when and how to fit in all the studying, along with time to see new friends made in London. I tend to be better at time management and less likely to procrastinate than a lot of people, but even my time management skills are being tested here.

The key is knowing what you want. If you want to travel, you can make it happen. You just have to know that binge-watching on Netflix will have to wait until the semester is over. If you plan well and get your studying done so that you can enjoy your travel time, you’ll end up with much better stories than anything on Netflix could give you anyway.

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Visiting a friend in Brussels

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Tea with my parents in Bath

Love, Thy Name is London

I am in love. The object of my affections is exciting and surprising and wonderful and goes by the name of London. Arriving here was exhausting, and I feel like I haven’t stopped moving since, but I immediately knew I had made the right choice in coming here and I haven’t looked back. There are so many incredible things to do and see, and it’s all right at my fingertips.

My advice to anyone looking to come here is simple: make a London “bucket list.” (And if you want to do something none of your friends are interested in, don’t be afraid to go do it on your own!) The sheer number of things to do here is completely overwhelming, even after having been here for a month, but my list has ensured that I’ve gotten to do a lot of amazing things.

I have been to Buckingham Palace,

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Westminster Abbey,

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the British Museum,

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Tower Bridge,

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Shakespeare’s Globe…

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And there’s still so much more to see!

I want to look back and have absolutely no regrets about this semester, so my London bucket list is keeping me on track to make the most of my short time in this beautiful city.

I can already tell I will be heartbroken when I have to leave my new love behind… but that’s not for a few more months. Until then, I can’t wait to see where my adventures take me!

Introducing Me

Hi! My name is Danielle and I am a junior (third year) from the University of Miami in Miami, Florida, USA. I major in advertising at home with minors in marketing, business administration, and theatre arts, so here I am studying a mix of all sorts of things! I knew long before I started college that I wanted to spend a semester studying abroad in the U.K. My high school’s choir went on a week-long tour to England my freshman year, and I decided then that I had to come back to study here. I told this story to my study abroad advisor at home, and told her what I was looking for both socially and academically, and she suggested I apply to Queen Mary. I took a quick look online… Well, maybe more than a quick look. I looked at everything from the modules offered to pictures of the accommodations to a list of societies. I was just so excited that it was finally real… I was finally going to live my dream of studying in England. And I have to say, so far it’s been better than I could have dreamed 🙂

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