EUROPE

Bumping Into Royalty

A group of 15 UK students are seeing blue across the pond this summer. In a course designed specifically for first-generation students, the group will explore global communication and business in London, England, led by Director of First Generation Initiatives Matthew Deffendall.

Political Science freshman Ryan Wilhite recalls his favorite experience below.

One of the most memorable moments from London happened completely by accident. To put it simply, two of my classmates and I got completely lost and accidently managed to bump into the Queen of England.

I’ll explain this starting at the beginning. One of our assignments for our class was to explore a particular borough of London. We were divided into five groups of three and tasked with exploring the borough, interviewing people that live and work there, and wondering through the borough’s market.

Our group was assigned the Covent Garden market in the Westminster borough. We all left our flats early on a Saturday morning to go explore our area, but at that point, we didn’t realize how massive the area of Westminster is. The market was actually walking distance from our flats, but we took the Tube instead, deciding to get off at the Green Park stop and walk to Westminster.

When we got off at Green Park, we saw a huge crowd of people. Green Park is right next to Buckingham Palace, so first we thought the crowd might be there to see a changing of the guard ceremony. We were still surprised at how many people had turned up for that, however. So, we decided to stick around for a while and see what was causing all of the commotion.

The next thing we knew, the crowd started to part as a horse-drawn carriage made its way toward the Palace; the people started going nuts. As we had wandered through the crowd, not knowing what was happening, we had actually managed to secure a pretty sweet spot to view what we then realized was happening– it was the Queen coming back from a ceremony. Right when we realized who we were seeing, all three of us started waving… and then coolest part of the story happened: she waved back!

This experience was really interesting and surreal. I find it really strange that I’ve now been able to lay eyes on another country’s monarch but that I’ve never been even nearly as close to our own President. It was definitely a unique cultural experience.

Later that day, we did eventually find our way to the market we were assigned to explore. I’ve got to say, though, I’m really glad we got lost that morning.

wilhite