Leadership in Literary London: Video Transcript

Alexandra Apicella [junior major in Black World Studies; Latin American, Latino/a & Caribbean Studies; Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies; and Classical Humanities, Class of 2019]: The summer in London, it was the Literary London program. And that was — I took a creative writing course and then a course on the writings of Jane Austen. And that was really cool to be able to read like Jane Austen's books in the place where she wrote them. Because London, you know, it's a literary culture hub, so if you're an English major there's obviously something that you can do there. But also, being a women's studies major, Jane Austen is a female writer, so I got credit for that.

The program, I think, is mostly centered around, you know, cultural life in London. So, the theatre is a huge thing, you got tickets to shows in London. And we saw like "Twelfth Night," we saw "Hamlet," "Romeo & Juliet," "Macbeth," "Antony and Cleopatra." We saw like six or seven shows, like a couple of them in the West End itself. So I didn't have to really be in the Shakespeare class to participate in this, so you don't feel left out if you're not taking that class. You didn't really have to understand the Shakespeare either to appreciate the art that goes into the theatre and the acting.

It wasn't my first time in London, but I was there in London with a group of students from Miami, many of whom had never left the country before, and more of whom had never even been in a big city before. So when you're put into a position, you're in a group and you're the one with the more experience, you emerge as a leader, because you know how to navigate a city in a country that people have never been to. So you get certain leadership skills in that kind of position, where it's, okay, so I know how to get to point A from point B, and I have to make sure that everyone else gets there as well, despite them not knowing how to use the transportation.

When you are in a place for a certain amount of time, you get like desensitized to it. You take for granted, you know, X, Y, and Z, but when you're there with someone who has never experienced it before, you gain a new perspective because somebody will notice something that you have never even thought about before. And whether that's like language differences — like people were noticing that people say "ta" instead of "thank you" sometimes — they were like, "What does that mean?" and I'm like, "Oh, it just means thank you." I've never thought of it as being — you're really, like — you're experiencing a completely different scenario, essentially, when you're traveling with people who have never been there, and I think that that's probably what makes it part of like most enjoyable.

It's really different. Of course you get the leadership skills, you get like really listening to your peers, and, yeah — on top of all of that taking classes and living in a big city.

[March 2018]