by Alessia Scappaticci
If you came to me at the end of my undergrad and asked what my next steps were, I would’ve said, “I don’t know, but I’m definitely not going back to school.”
I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.
I’m currently writing this post from my dorm room in Newcastle with the biggest smile on my face. I’ve been settled in for just over a month, but that feeling of taking my first steps into the UK hasn’t gone away just yet.
Grey Skies and Rainy Cab Rides
One of my best friends travelled to the UK with me to act as my London tour guide, and help me settle into Newcastle. We visited all of the major tourist destinations like Kensington Palace,Notting Hill,Westminster Abbey, and more. Everywhere we went was lovely, but these were my favourites:
The Tower Bridge
I am TERRIFIED of heights- but for some reason, I adored the Tower Bridge. Was it because I was having a, “Wow I’m really in England and I can’t believe I made it here” moment? Probably. I was just so excited to be up high, taking in the different skylines of the city, and learning about the history of the bridge. Plus, you get a sticker for conquering the glass floor, and who wouldn’t love that?
Mamma Mia on the West End
I’ve dreamt of watching Mamma Mia on Broadway for such a long time, and all I can say is that it was absolutely everything I hoped it would be and more. Not only was every detail of the show spectacular, but after the curtain call had ended, the cast remained on stage and the theatre busted out into concert mode. The energy in the room was electric. My friend and I felt so joyful and alive and free that it brought us to tears. Publicly bawling my eyes out with one of my best friends at a Mamma Mia show while starting my Mamma Mia-esque journey was pure magic.
Tour of the Buckingham Palace State Rooms
I was always under the impression that visitors were not allowed into Buckingham Palace, but my friend and I jumped at the chance to tour the state rooms. We spent a little over an hour in there and took in all of the history and architecture of the palace, and it was absolutely breath-taking. I actually got to twirl and float around a ballroom inside Buckingham Palace and I still haven’t processed that yet. What’s great about this tour is the ticket stamping option at the end of it. If you hold onto your ticket and get it stamped by customer service, then you can re-visit the castle for an entire year for free!
Taking on the Toon
After five days in London, we took a stagecoach up to my new home. Newcastle Upon Tyne is a gorgeous city located in the North East of England, and is filled with beautiful sights and the kindest people you will ever meet.
My first two weeks here were pretty full. I spent most of my day’s grocery shopping, making my dorm room feel like home, and attending countless welcome events at my school, Newcastle University.I met a whole bunch of people from these events, both from here in the UK and around the world. Also, having two weeks to prepare for school was incredibly helpful because it gave me time to get better acquainted for my program.
It still feels so surreal to be sitting here, reminiscing on all of the memories I’ve made in such a short time, when a year ago I didn’t even know where (or what) Newcastle was. And now I feel eternally indebted to my ATP advisors for helping me find this beautiful city because there is really nowhere I’d rather be right now.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can get here too, then you can contact an advisor, and keep up with Across the Pond on social media. You can also follow along on my UK journey on Instagram at @alessiaacrossthepond!