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In summer 2012 I'll be doing a 3-week study abroad with aifs to London, school in Kensington . I'll be taking one 3 credit course in history. Has anyone done a study abroad before or maybe just know the area I'm going and would like to share stories? Any advice or tips and is London relatively safe for a 21yr old

also here is the site for the study abroad school http://www.aifsabroad.com/england/london/summer/index.asp
 

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When I was 19, my best friend and I traveled to London, and maybe I was just incredibly naive, but we felt very safe there. Even when we were walking around, looking pathetic and lost with our maps in hand, people were very cordial and offered unsolicited assistance.

I fell in love with the city and have been back many times since then.  I envy you. It sounds like the experience of a lifetime.  :)
 

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I grew up in England and have been to London many times. The only problem I ever encountered was pick-pockets. Keep your valuables out of sight and your eyes on your purse/wallet. London is a fun exciting place and it's easy to get around on the public transport. Have fun.
 

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As a Brit and a Londoner, I can confirm that if you're going to be in Kensington then you're going to be in a safe area of the city as it is one of the most affluent central areas. You'll be able to get to all of the sights and attractions fairly quickly by tube (subway) and bus. You should have a great time.
 

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I traveled to London once in the mid '70s.  As JF said, my only problem was having my wallet picked out of my purse.  I wasn't aware of it when it happened, but knew after the fact where.  It was VERY crowed at one particular station when I was getting off the Underground.  No doubt that is where it happened.  I've never been back, but would like to.
 

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You are SO lucky!!! Enjoy every singlel minute of your time there.

We were able to travel there last year (sis-in-law lives there) and found there is TONS of stuff to do! Definitely keep an eye on valuables. Apparently the latest trend is when in a crowd someone comes up from behind to slit open backpack so contents fall out & are stolen, without you even knowing it.

The tube is a great way to get around. When you read it you figure out where you are and where you want to go, then just follow the colors - super easy. Make sure to take a taxi at least once. If you get a chatty cabby you'll get lots of inside scoop.

I think the highlight of our trip was going to Abby Road Studios - my 16 yr old son is a HUGE Beatles fan and this was SO meaningful for him. Even got a picture of him crossing THE road.

Eat the fish & chips with a pint. Find the off-the-beaten path places to see. Have an AMAZING trip!
 

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I went to London this Fall, and stayed in Kensington for a week.  It is a really nice area, and my mom and I didn't feel unsafe at any time.  We did some grocery shopping at a mini Tescos and Whiterose (both very close to the Kensington underground station), and ate some meals around there and in central London.  It was great.  Our hotel was a block away from the underground station and it was very easy to navigate. 

We never got pickpockets and felt fine walking together and alone to go pick up a few things in Kensington.  When we were on the tube during high "traffic" there was a massive crowd, and I just kept my bag in front of me with a firm grip.  We were separated and squashed, and I smelt some other tourist's nasty wet armpit...but that was it.  Sure, you have to watch out for various station outages, we had a strike to deal with, but there are helpful people to guide you to where you need to go.  There were police out walking around (both undercover and in uniform) in the major tourist areas for pickpockets, so we didn't see or hear anything bad.  In fact we saw more people (probably tourists) chatting with them and getting directions...but that was in central London.

Kensington is affluent, and spotted a couple of residences for embassies.  It was fun to see some of the nicer homes and wonder about who lives there.  On a quiet sunday, my mom and I took a walk to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.  Then I wanted to see what Royal Albert Hall really looked like, and then spent the afternoon in the Victoria & Albert museum.

You're so lucky to be able to go!  Kensington is a great place...it felt like a quieter part of London.  I did see A LOT of international students, and hardly any English spoken...so it sounds like the place for international students.:)  They were all in groups, carrying household goods (broom, toilet paper, bed sheets, etc.), don't know where they purchased them from, but I'm guessing if you can walk it.  You'll be able to do the same if you need something.:)

Tris
 

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You can go horseback riding in Hyde Park. I think that is on my list of what to do next time I go. The British Museum is free and so is the National Gallery and many other museums that are awesome! Go to the 1/2 price ticket booth in Leicester Square (beware of look-alikes) and go see a play. I would like to recommend War Horse, as the puppets are incredible. It takes 3 people to animate one horse puppet! (You might not get a 1/2 price ticket to that one though!) If anyone is interested in the puppets: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/handpring_puppet_co_the_genius_puppetry_behind_war_horse.html
 

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Go into Harrod's. It's amazing (and I'm not a shopping person). Kensington Palace has lovely gardens. I didn't go inside, but if you're a fan of Princess Diana, you'll want to take the tour.

If you like to run, you can go all the way from the Palace nearly to the Thames, through the parks: Hyde, Green, St. James.

The best views to be had are from the top of the dome of St. Paul's, and Hampstead Heath.
 

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I've done two study terms abroad: a month in Krakow, once upon a time over a high school summer, and six months in Paris as part of my degree.

I don't know much about London, alas, but in general, it's an incredible experience, and you'll have a blast. 3 weeks probably isn't enough to hit the tough parts of living abroad (I know a lot of people who fell into depression driven by culture shock, for instance), so in some ways the only thing you need to worry about is the term ending more quickly than you might like.

First and foremost: be sociable. The other students will be looking to do the same, so making friends will be easy. Depending where you're staying (hotel, dorm?) you may be able to meet some locals your age. That's the ideal.

Take it easy, don't forget your passport, and enjoy. And go see a football game.
 

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I did a year abroad at the Univ. of Aberdeen and my sister did a year in London. I can't recommend it enough! Really, it is the experience of a lifetime and I came away convinced that every student should spend at least one year abroad in a different country. It changes your whole perspective.

Be sure to get rail passes and take advantage of their terrific public transport system as you can get to all the surrounding countryside and various places very easily. There are so many wonderful places to see--I don't know if you like history, but one of the things I enjoyed while I was there is just getting on a train and getting off randomly at all the various places. My first stop was always the local church as I was interested in the architecture, and then I'd visit any other historical sites, potter around, visit the pub, then get back on the train to the next place. I spent most of my holidays that way. Somehow, I always managed to find a bed & breakfast with a room still open, too. Guess I wasn't much for planning ahead, LOL, but luck was with me.

Good luck and enjoy it! It's the experience of a lifetime!
 
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