This article originally was published in the USC’s Daily Trojan on March 31, 2015.
There’s a point during study abroad when you’ll no longer feel like a tourist in your adopted city.
And that’s usually around the same time your parents decide to visit you across the pond.
My mom and dad made their first international trip last Saturday to visit me for a week in London. They had a list of activities and sites they wanted to see. They came just as school papers were bogging me down, in the thick of my internship hunt and growing general apathy toward the historic yet overly familiar sites.
That’s why, if feasible, everyone should take advantage of their parents or an out-of-town friends visiting them in their study abroad city. It will remind you of the wonders that your study abroad city has to offer — and encourage you to get back out and explore.
So below is a list of touristy things in London that are still good to see a second — or sometimes third — time when entertaining your parents as you study abroad.
- Take a bite out of British culture with tea time
If America runs on Dunkin, then Brits certainly run on tea. High tea is a staple of British culture, but oftentimes as a student you don’t take advantage of it. With the constant flow of papers and Netflix dates, you forget to slow down and take time for tea. When you have visitors in town definitely make an effort to set aside at least two hours of your time — and clear your palate – to eat scones, watercress sandwiches and drink a pot of Earl Grey. Teatime will give you an opportunity to engage in conversation, plan the next sites you will see and enjoy the company around you.
- Getting lost in the British Museum
Because it is one of London’s largest museums and holds a considerable amount of the world’s treasures, it would be a shame not to soak in all that the British Museum has to offer. Initially its size can be intimidating and you won’t know where to go, but the museum has structured, half hour tours for each section of the world. You can also independently peruse the museum, looking at the large collection of Greek statutes or get a glimpse of the Rosetta Stone (the actual stone and not the language learning software). The British Museum, like most museums in London, is free so you can go back as many times as you’d like!
- Enjoying an inexpensive theater show
Theater shows are easily accessible in the town that brought you William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. You initially might not be interested in spending a couple hours out of your day watching a live theater show (I mean, those hours could be used watching Netflix), but definitely experience it. The level of talent in London is extremely high and it is another way to spark conversation and create memories with your parents or friends who are visiting from out of town.
- Riding on the top of a double decker bus
It’s a simple concept, to say the least. But when you decide to sit at the top of the bus you gain a whole new perspective on London. By sitting on top, you’re forced to take in all the historic sites of the city: St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Bridge or Buckingham Palace. Part of adapting to a new environment is taking for granted the beauty around you. When you’re with visitors in town they want to see everything and riding on top of the double decker bus encourages you to do so.
So don’t let the familiarity of your study abroad city make you lose awe of the breathtaking sites it holds. Keep your head up (literally) and explore it as if it’s still your first week there.