Hello from London!

As the fourth and final writer of the London crew, I will try not to bore you with experiences you have already read about!

Here in London, I am interning at a global design firm called Fitch. The quirky office I report to daily is in the design sector of Paddington in western London. Although I assumed the office of a design firm would be at least somewhat aesthetically pleasing, my expectations were immediately surpassed as I walked through the front door on my first day. To my left, an entire wall of AstroTurf covered the top of a glass case that displayed various Adidas soccer (football) cleats in bright neon colors. To my right, along the same walkway were more display cases with samples of turf, cleats and eye-catching graphics. I continued walking only to find a small row of stadium seats at the end of the hallway. Pausing for a moment, wondering if I was in the wrong office, I decided to venture further. To my left I then saw a collection of oddly shaped couches, chairs and tables. One couch vividly resembled giant red lips, while another chair looked strangely like a pile of post-it notes. Then to my right was a series of booths one would find in a diner or restaurant. Finally in front of me was a gleaming light up sign reading ‘FITCH,’ and I knew I was in the right place. I then walked down a long hallway with 3D designers on my left and 2D designers on my right, all working at massive Apple computers. On the shelves beyond were a series of brightly colored camels of all different sizes. While I initially assumed the designer of this fascinating room must have been horribly distracted on decorating day, I later learned that two of our biggest clients were Adidas and Camel Cigarettes. The sports stadium experience I went through earlier suddenly made perfect sense…

Aside from the office aesthetics, working in a design firm has been incredibly interesting. I work in the Client Services and New Business sector of the firm, which resides in the back of the office. Every sector of the company works in the same open room, from designers to account managers, allowing for seamless communication and collaboration throughout the day. Since starting work, I have been exposed to almost every different aspect of the company, and seen how they all come together. I spend my days researching new clients and competitors, keeping up on branding and retail trends and assisting in new business proposals.

Outside of work I have become quite the Londoner! For my first month in London I lived in Camden, a quirky and up-and-coming area of northern London. Walking from the tube to my apartment every day was an experience in itself. The façade of each shop is decorated to advertise the product inside. For example, a shoe store has a giant sneaker protruding from its side into the street, and a store selling old air force jackets had a massive airplane doing the same. Once I made it past the crowds and shops, I would then walk over the beautifully lit up Camden Lock Bridge, past various street performers and the world famous Camden markets, to my little studio apartment. Weeknights in Camden were spent exploring the markets with my teammates Sam Schiff and Chrissy Lushefski. Chrissy and I found an amazing BBQ spot called Porky’s that reminded us of our favorite 3 Guys back in Hanover.

I later moved to Regent’s Park to live with teammates Sam Schiff and Jess Frieder, as well as Jill Corcoran ’15 (Cross Country/Track). Our apartment is in Hampden House, where the other Dartmouth Foreign Study students are living. Although I miss living in Camden, being surrounded by my teammates and friends has been amazing! We have found delicious local restaurants, and ventured to various Christmas Markets around London.

While being in London we have done countless tourist activities that you have probably already read about, so I’ll skip over those! Navigating London has been a breeze! The Tube, which we are now pros at using, is color coded and has stops with names such as ‘Elephant and Castle,’ making each trip both easy and entertaining.

We have been traveling on weekends as well. So far, I have been to Prague, Amsterdam and Budapest. We have flown in pink, purple and orange planes with names such as WizzAir and EasyJet, but after holding our breaths and crossing our fingers we landed safely in each place! Prague was absolutely beautiful and probably my favorite city so far! We walked over the King Charles Bridge and took pictures at the Lennon Wall. Amsterdam was also gorgeous with canals running through the entire city. We visited the Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum, as well as the famous ‘Iamsterdam’ statue. Chrissy and I traveled to Budapest this past weekend and organized our own jogging tour! We ran around the entire city, stopping only to eat in a little restaurant in the Fisherman’s Bastion, which overlooked all of the ‘Pest’ side of the city. There we tried traditional Hungarian soup and later bought our new favorite pastry, which we initially discovered in Prague, called a Chimney Cake (highly recommended). After enjoying the breathtaking views of Castle Hill and the Fisherman’s Bastion, we ran up to a massive statue on the tallest hill in Budapest at sunset to look over the city at night. Seeing both sides of the river lit up from that height was incredible. That night we hung out in our hostel’s common room and met an entire group of people our age who have been traveling around Europe alone for months. Sitting and chatting with them for hours was an amazing experience. We shared stories of the places we have been and the things we have seen during our time in Europe. The friends we made were from all over the world, including Australia, Italy, Wales, Canada and the good old United States. The next day we climbed to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica to see the ‘Buda’ side of the city from above. We then wandered through the city streets and happened to find a chocolate shop that makes 50 different flavors of hot chocolate! Knowing Chrissy and I, we had to go inside. Chrissy opted to try the Apple Pie flavored hot chocolate, while I tried the Orange flavor. Both were delicious!

I am in my last week of work now and have plans to travel to Dublin, Barcelona, and Paris before I return home! Living in Europe and familiarizing myself with a new city has been an invaluable experience.  Although I have loved every minute of being in London and traveling around Europe, I do miss my family, friends and teammates back home and in Hanover.  I was lucky enough to be able to spend the fall with the team, and get to know the new freshies, and I am eager to get back! I’m sure I can speak for all of us juniors when I say that the culmination of this term is bittersweet; we will be sad to leave our new homes and friends, but are so lucky to be returning to our amazing lacrosse family back in Hanover just in time for season!

Cheers, and UP UP BIG GREEN!

Sydney Ellis