How the flexibility of iUniversity Prep allowed me to adventure to London without worries!

Kathryn Russell, Staff Writer

This past August I had the opportunity to spend a week in London, and I am not exaggerating when I say that it was by far the best week of my life. When you think of London some things that could come to mind consist of old red phone booths, or Big Ben, or maybe even the London Bridge. That’s what I thought too, but clearly, I had no idea what I was getting into. It was a major learning experience and I had to remember that their customs weren’t wrong, they were just different and that’s ok! I was hesitant to go since it was the start of school so I would be coming home with overdue lessons, and trying to catch up did not sound fun. What a wake-up call that was! Thanks to iUniversity Prep I was able to catch up super quickly and was on pace and passing in no time.

Before we step foot in London:

There was a lot of thought that went into planning this trip to make sure we never wasted a second. United was having a one-day super sale on flights to London, my dad saw it, asked my mom, and they both agreed it was a no-brainer! However, for the longest time, everything was all up in the air due to COVID and we weren’t sure if they were going to open up in time. We continued to plan as normal keeping that in the back of our heads, as we decided it was easier to cancel than to try and get last-minute tickets to Kensington Palace. London opened up to vaccinated US citizens a week before we departed. On Tuesday, August 10, 2021, we hopped on a plane to London GB (LHR) to begin the adventure. We were one of the first flights out and the only Americans there due to the fact London had just opened up to us. We took the overnight flight which was 9 hours of attempting to sleep on a practically empty plane. London is 6 hours ahead of Texas and we landed Wednesday, August 11, 2021, at about 11:20 am after departing home at 8:15 pm.

A Day Spent Running on Fumes 

The Wednesday we arrived felt like one long and confusing dream. We got a ride from the airport to our hotel, which was in the Southwark area. My parents decided to hire a tour guide for the afternoon to help familiarize us with the area and because the thought of everyone being tired and making a decision was haunting. Barry, our tour guide, met us at the hotel, and from there we spent 5 hours walking around London, seeing all the sights–some of which we would come back to and then Karter (My sister) and I were starving so we stopped for a pretzel and a coke which quickly became a staple snack of the trip since we spent most of our lunches on the go from place to place. We continued until about 7:30 pm when both our feet and determination had quit us and retired to the hotel for some dinner and an early bedtime. 

A Day at “Downtown Abbey”: Day #1

This was the one day we spent outside of London, we woke up and took the tube which was basically their version of a subway to a train station, and we rode the train to Heigh Clere castle. I am a HUGE “Downtown Abbey” fan so being there was a dream come true! The landscaping was beautiful and the architecture was very detailed. We ate at a cafe there and the sandwiches and pastries were so good. Learning about the family that lived there and seeing where everything was filmed in the TV show was cool! We took the train back to the hotel and ate a little pub that was just down the road from where we stayed, it was very quaint and felt very much like a neighborhood gathering. Once we wrapped up dinner, we went back to the hotel and called it a night.

A Day of Tight Spaces: Day #2

The morning of Day 2 we woke up and took the tube to the Tower of London, my dad had scheduled a guided tour at 10 and we were not looking to be “those Americans”, given the fact that there were so few there. The Tower of London is like the 3 in 1 body wash, it was a fortress, palace, and prison all before it became a worldwide tourist attraction. The castle is 1,000 years old and protects the Crown Jewels, the tower as a whole was rich in history and very educational. The small spaces start in the Bloody Tower, which is already very daunting and there was a very narrow staircase leading up to the top. It was so compacted that my shoulders could touch on either side if I stood up straight. After my undiscovered Claustrophobia almost kicked in, we finished up at the tower and headed to St. Paul Cathedral. We ate lunch on the go at the UK version of Starbucks called Pret which was so good! At 1 o’clock, we had to be ready for our tour at Saint Paul’s. Saint Paul’s Cathedral has a really rich history and lots of monarchs have been baptized, gotten married, and had funerals in this Church. My sister and I wanted to go up to the Tip of the cathedral so we could get a good view of London but we did not make it to the top since the staircase to get there was just as small as before maybe even smaller, so by the time, we finished those two excursions we were done. By the end of the day, I was so tired and very grateful for iUniversity Prep because while my brick and mortar friends were stuck in school, I was out exploring London and did not have to worry about checking in on Connexus every day and stressing about how I was supposed to catch up. This is my sixth year at iUniversity Prep and it has given me the chance to go out and explore and for that, I am very grateful!



The rest of my trip felt like a dream, and I cannot wait to go back! I learned so much about the people and culture. Overall, the whole experience definitely opened my eyes to other parts of the world. So, if you ever get the chance to go anywhere internationally, my biggest piece of advice would be “It’s not wrong it’s just different” and once I let that mindset sink in I was able to enjoy what was around me!