Meet Kirthana Iyer: A Member of BU’s CGS Boston-London Program

Kirthana Iyer definitely had a different experience than most first-year college students since she started her freshman year in January and finished it over the summer in London. Kirthana studied abroad in the UK as she was admitted into Boston University’s CGS Boston-London program.

When I asked Kirthana for advice on studying abroad in London, she said to “go and adventure every single day.” Kirthana's group of friends—who stayed in London for the majority of their study abroad experience — hit all the places that were fun and unique in London. Kirthana said that this made her experience so much more impactful and rewarding. She also added: “London has so much to offer, I definitely recommend asking former study abroad students about places to visit and using your tube card to visit all of them!”

Kirthana also said that her best piece of advice for students studying abroad—in any city—is to experience where you are. “You are never going to get that rewarding of an experience again, I can promise you that. Learn about yourself and about the culture you are in. Most study abroad programs are uniquely placed so that you have the ability to have a complete immersion, so take that and immerse yourself. Connect your education to your surroundings.”

Kirthana was able to have a good mix of studying and traveling during her semester abroad. “While studies did get a bit hectic at times, I made sure to go outside at least once every day because I knew I was never going to get an experience like that again. Even if it was just studying at a coffee shop instead of my room, I was in London! That’s all that mattered.”

I asked Kirthana about some spots that everyone has to go to in London and she told me some of her favorite spots. “Definitely go to Churchill Arms, it’s this Thai restaurant and bar that is in a classic English style pub. Another place to go is Camden Market! The food, the shopping, the AMAZING orange juice, and Dutch pancakes are a MUST. Another place is Brighton! It is beautiful and just like your perfect seaside town.”

Kirthana also revealed some lesser-known spots in London that deserve more attention. “Brick Lane! It is known, but the food there is so underrated. I loved it so much. Also, go to the Italian Water Gardens because it is so beautiful with its waterfalls and sculptures. Another place to go is Covent Gardens! I don’t know if it was seasonal, but they had these purple flowers dropping the center of the square which I thought was absolutely stunning.”

Kirthana said that all the food she ate while abroad was pretty great. She said that “Coco Momo and Cafe Deco had the best hot chocolate and coffee I have ever had in my life. For food, De Mario was beyond amazing.”

While studying abroad in London, Kirthana was able to explore different cities. She said: “I went to Wales for a weekend holiday, as they call it in Europe. It was honestly the BEST experience ever. I got to do some water sports, hiking, and a tour of a little city with a bunch of friends. I also got to see the sunset on Ambermawr Beach with people who I considered family by this point, and it has to be one of the best experiences of my life.”

Kirthana said that her “most memorable experience had to be Wales. Going there and escaping school just for a weekend was everything I didn’t know I needed. I loved every second of it from the people I was with to the place I was at. I felt so calm and relaxed. I was just in awe of every moment I was there.”

When I asked Kirthana if she would do anything differently during her study abroad experience, she said that “the only thing I might add to my experience is traveling more outside of London. Maybe I would have gone to Paris or Amsterdam as well to get a full experience of Europe.” Overall, studying abroad gave her friends that will be with her for the rest of her life and exposure to a culture she had never seen before.

London helped Kirthana find her true friends and helped her realize that going to another country really helps you find yourself in ways you never considered.

 

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