Study Abroad - London

Walking Through the Pages of a Fairytale

Posted on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 @ 02:00 PM

by Victoria DiPiazza

Victoria_Neu.jpgThis past month I have been traveling like crazy around Europe. With travel being so close and priced well throughout the UK and Europe, you would be crazy to not take up these opportunities while abroad!

I recently visited Munich. The weather was perfect with spring temperatures and plenty of sunshine. It was nice to escape cloudy/rainy London for the weekend!

Munich is part of Bavaria, so the whole town is colorful and lively and still very traditional. Also, the food was amazing! Bavaria is known for its pretzels and I probably ate about six that weekend.

One of the days I was there I took a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. The train ride was about two hours from Munich to Schwangau where the castle is, and if you are ever in Germany I highly suggest you take the day to visit the castle!

Victoria_Neu_Castle_1.jpgNeuschwanstein Castle is known as the fairytale castle. You may recognize it because for Disney World and Disney Land, Disney based Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty’s castles on Newschwanstein! A fun fact about the castle is that an architect did not design it. King Ludwig II who had it built asked a painter to paint him the castle. This is what made the castle so beautiful and whimsical looking.

Once we got to the town of Shwangau the first thing you see is the castle sitting on top of the hills with the Alps in the background. At the bottom of the town there is a beautiful lake. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. It was almost unreal.

Victoria_Neu_Lake.jpgAfter we walked around the lake for a bit, we took a horse and carriage ride up to the castle. You can only imagine that I felt like Cinderella riding up to the castle in a horse and carriage.

Once at the top of the hill we walked up to the castle and it was just absolutely breathtaking. Every dream I ever had of being a princess when I grew up had come true that day. We toured the castle and then spent the rest of the day exploring around the town looking for the best views of the castle to take pictures. Unfortunately, the amazing photo you see when you Google it is impossible to get without a helicopter.

Walking around Schwangau and seeing the castle felt like I was inside a fairytale book. I didn’t want to leave it was so perfect there! I hope to go back there one day to relive my childhood princess dreams.

Tags: London, Munich, Neuschwanstein

London Fashion Week 2016

Posted on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 @ 03:42 PM

by Victoria DiPiazza 

Victoria_LFW.jpgFashion Week has always been a highlight for fashion students in NYC. Having the opportunity to volunteer at shows was a dream come true for me when I was a freshman.

This year, being in London for my co-op with the company THEN & NOW, I had the opportunity to attend London Fashion Week. I knew that someday in my career I would have the opportunity to sit at New York Fashion Week as a guest, but never did I think that I would be able to sit front row at London Fashion Week!

It is pretty rare that an intern gets the opportunity to attend big events in the fashion industry. THEN & NOW is rather small so I got the chance to go to the shows. It was so much fun getting dressed up and walking into the shows and presentations. (Not to mention the free goodie bags you get!) It was a whirlwind of a weekend running between shows but it something I will never forget!

Victoria_LondonFashionWeek2016.jpgI even got to sit in the front row at a few shows. (My company definitely had some nice perks!)  As a buyer I watched the shows and decided on the brands that I think would do well on our site.

I picked out my favorite key pieces from the collections and then followed up with the brands the next day to connect. I also created trend reports for my companies blog, which you can see here: Women's London Fashion Week AW16 and Men's Fashion Week AW16

Note to all younger LIM students: Hard work definitely pays off in this industry. Seeing myself grow over the past four years in the fashion world has been incredibly rewarding. Try to work as many internships as you can. You will learn and see so many new and exciting things. In the end you will see yourself achieving those dreams you had when you started out. It is crazy to think that I was volunteering at shows just four years ago as a freshman and now I am sitting front row as a senior! The college years go by fast (too fast) so make the most of it! 

Tags: London, internship, then and now, London Fashion Week

The London Tube vs. The NYC Subway

Posted on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 @ 02:30 PM

by Victoria DiPiazza

Underground.jpgI always told myself if I can get around NYC I can get around any city, but London took a couple days of getting used to! NYC's grid system is the easiest to use so we have been treated well with the ease of NYC maps. London is a much bigger city than NYC, so you have to plan for more time to get around on the lines.

Here are a list of things I have found different between the London Tube and the NYC Subway systems:

  1. If you think getting down to the E on 53rd and Lex is the longest escalator ever then you've seen nothing until you've taken the London tube! Almost all of the tube stations are much farther underground than the NYC subway. Imagine getting on the E escalator every time, sometimes even twice to get to a certain train!
  2. Cleanliness! The London Tube is SOOO much cleaner than the NYC Subway. It is rare that you see a piece of garbage or a pizza rat on the tube.
  3. People are not rude and pushy like NYC and will respect your personal space on the morning commute.
  4. Interior_Tube.jpgThe seats have cushions and are quite comfortable compared to the plastic seats on a NYC subway.
  5. After being here for a month I have yet to experience any train delays or "train traffic ahead of us." The tube runs smoothly and is always on time so you an count on it getting you where you need to be and when.
  6. The NYC subway is cheaper than the London Underground. In London, you have to scan in and scan out of the station you start and end at. Your card then calculates how far you have gone charging you more for a farther journey. 
  7. The tube map is split up by zones. If you travel only within zone 1 you are hitting all of the main spots but for my internship I have to go out to zone 3. Only by one stop into zone 3 too, therefor my monthly tube card is a bit more than the one for zones 1-2.
  8. Oyster_Card.jpgLondon’s tube card is called an Oyster card and to refill it they refer to it as a "top up."
  9. On all of the buses and subways they use contactless payment so all you have to do is scan you card on the touch pad and you are good to go. They also accept credit cards if you don't have an Oyster card.
  10. You can apply for a student discount card here in London. I save 30% on my Oyster card monthly expenses! If only NYC had that option for college students we would be saving a good amount of money!
  11. The tube can get crowded, but it is no where near close to as bad as the express 4/5 from union square to grand central is during rush hour

Although London takes a bit longer to get around than NYC, I think I will miss the tubes cleanliness and friendly people when I return back to NYC! 

Tags: London Tube, Cleanliness, NYC Subway, Rude

What’s the Craic, Dublin?

Posted on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 @ 03:06 PM

by Tiffany D'Angelo

Recently I got a chance to visit one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever seen… Ireland! It is an absolutely magical country!

I stayed in Dublin with one of my best friends who is studying abroad here. One of the first things that I learned was that In Ireland people say “What’s the craic?” instead of “What’s going on?” or “Where’s the fun?”

Dublin_Fashion_History_Tiffany-1.jpgOn our first day, we took a bus tour around town so we could see everything in a short amount of time. We visited Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin’s High Street, St. Stephen’s Green, and tons of sights in between.

Along the way, a few pieces of street art really caught my eye. One wall in particular by their High Street was covered in plaques with sketches of popular fashion trends throughout the decades.

They stood out against all of the spray painted artwork on the opposite side of the street and were a good bit of fashion history right there on the streets of Dublin!

On the second day we had the chance to go on a fantastic “Paddywagon Tour” up to the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher are absolutely breathtaking.

Tiffany_Cliffs_of_Moher.jpg It’s the most calming view I’ve ever seen in my life. It was a bit of a hike but it was worth every bit of it. (Tip: If you do go, make sure you wear shoes that you won't mind getting muddy. It can get a bit messy along the way!)

As we drove up north our tour guide told us the history of each town we passed through and even taught us some phrases in Gaelic! The main conversational phrases we used were “Thank you,” which is “Raibh maith agat” and “No problem/No worries”, which is “Gan fadhb ar bith.”

I wish we could have been able to explore the incredible countryside of Ireland even more but it was time to go back to London after two days. I can’t wait to go back one day and explore all along the coast! I still dream about the mouth-watering Shepard’s Pie I got at a little pub where we stopped en route to the Cliffs. It’s definitely a journey to add on to your traveling bucket list.

Tags: London, study abroad, Ireland, Dublin

Stroll Around Shoreditch

Posted on Tue, Mar 08, 2016 @ 01:42 PM

by Tiffany D'Angelo

Shoreditch is known for being full of vibrant art created by its talented residents! It’s mainly an area for musicians, artists, and creative students, much like us.

Around every corner there’s a new piece of street art just waiting to be discovered. Every day I find myself being inspired by their work, especially as a fashion student, so I wanted to share some with you!

Markets in the area, like Brick Lane Market and Old Spitalfields, are the hub of all the talent within Shoreditch. There you can find artwork for sale, listen to captivating musicians, rummage through remodeled old-school items, and even find vintage must-have clothing for a great deal!

Personally, I love searching for vinyl records to add to my collection. I’ve bought quite a few already. Being from New York also comes in handy when it’s time to bargain with the street vendors since it’s like second nature. I’ve become a regular at one record stand in Brick Lane in particular that always gives me a great deal.

Below are a few of my favorite pieces that I’ve found recently. The detailing on some of the street art you come across is absolutely breathtaking. 

Shoreditch.jpg

Since the East End of London has so much art culture to offer, it’s easy to miss some really great pieces. For a small fee, there’s even a tour available that takes tourists around Shoreditch, showing them the hidden gems around town. It’s a great opportunity to take for a more in-depth look at what Shoreditch has to offer.

 Shoreditch6.jpgShoreditch2.jpg

 

Tags: London, vintage, shopping, Shoreditch

Mind the Gap! Mind your Money (While Studying Abroad in London)!

Posted on Tue, Mar 01, 2016 @ 03:44 PM

by Tiffany D'Angelo

I don’t think I can repeat the words “plan ahead” enough. London is so expensive so it’s important that you research all your options! One great thing about England is that they’re mindful of a student’s financial struggles so there’s opportunity for to save here and there.

CamdenLock.jpg

Street markets are affordable weekend trips too! My favorites are Camden & Brick Lane.

Here is a list of some of the websites or recommendations that have saved my life and my wallet, in London:

1. My biggest recommendation is to plan ahead with your loan. I really cannot emphasize this enough. Always be prepared for the worst so that you don’t have to stress at the last minute! Your loan can take 4-6 weeks to process so be sure to start saving ASAP! Make up a savings plan. Personally, I set aside about half of my paycheck as often as I could. It can be tough but it’s worth the sacrifice. I’d rather travel to Paris for $90 than buy a couple sweaters for that price.

2. Before arriving, apply for your Student Oyster Card. An Oyster Card is their version of a MetroCard. It can take up to a week for it to be sent to you so you can always order it online a couple days before you arrive. Ask your residence hall reception desk for your mailing address. The card gives you 20% discounts on weekly or monthly passes.

3. A great website to get coupons and learn about discounts from is Unidays! Sign up using your University email address and you can save yourself quite a bit of money…plus you get some great shopping “essentials!”

4. StudentUniverse is my best friend. I got the best deals for all my flights. They sell tickets for flights that are at odd times so they’re cheaper. I got my round-trip flights from London to NY on here for $750 while every other website was asking about $1,000. Ryanair is usually one of the airlines with the best prices!

5. Check conversion rates continuously throughout the semester to get an idea of how to estimate how much you’ll be spending. It’ll also help you start to get the hang of calculating the money you’re spending after conversion.

6. Before leaving to go abraod, go to your local bank branch and ask them to convert your money. I only had to wait 1-2 business days and it’s so worth it. Typically, at the airport you won’t get as much money after converting your cash. My friend converted her money upon arrival and although we both exchanged the same amount in dollars, she got less pounds. Every penny counts!

7. Start a money jar! Put your small bills in it whenever you can. Trust me, you’ll be surprised how much it can add up to!

8. Finally, try to avoid getting an international plan with your American phone provider. From what I’ve heard, it’s much cheaper to just get a UK phone. For about $40 a month with a provider called Three, I get unlimited data, 3000 texts, and 300 calls within Europe. I use the unlimited data to just communicate back home through Whatsapp, where all calls and texts are free! I did have to pay a decent amount of money to get out of my contract back home but in the end it was worth it.

I hope this list is helpful!

Tags: London, study abroad, Saving money

Living in London

Posted on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 @ 10:47 AM

by Tiffany D'Angelo

Tiffany_TowerBridge.jpgI’m handling the move well if I may say so myself…until I’m craving a quality slice of pizza, then it’s a different story.

I’ve lived in the same house in New York my whole life so making the move to London was a whirlwind for me. Although I wasn’t too excited about the idea of dorming, it grows on you.

At the University of Winchester I’m lucky enough to have friendly suitemates  who are also international students so they’re going through all of the same things I am. I have seven suitemates. Each of us have our own private room, there are three bathrooms to share, and a big kitchen. It’s an adjustment but you all learn how to make it work.

 My most important tips for moving in would be:

  1. Shop at Primark for all your room décor and bedding. It’s so affordable and only a short bus ride away.
  2. Talk to your suitemates! They’ll give you great tips on the most affordable markets and such. My suitemate from Hong Kong showed me a really cheap market for fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices.
  3. Be open-minded! Be as positive about it as you can and the whole experience will go smoothly. Properly settling into your room really helps make it feel like home. Sitting in the kitchen and getting to know your suitemates also teaches you so much about their cultures, which is always interesting!

Tiffany_London_Friends.jpg

Tiffany D’Angelo, Veronica Guadalupe, and friends in front of Big Ben.

Before I got here people recommended ordering stuff at Argo’s so I did that for my kitchen supplies. Just a heads up though, if you’re going to order from Argo’s, order before you get here because some things can take a day or two to be ready for you to pick up.

I live in the Alexander Fleming Halls of Residence. This hall in particular is the furthest from class (about an hour away by tube), but the travel isn’t too bad. It definitely has its perks. My favorite thing about the dorms is how close they are to all the inner city attractions. On my second day, my friends and I walked all the way along the Thames River to Big Ben. Seeing Big Ben just as the sun was setting was the most magical thing I’ve ever seen. 

Photo Credit: Veronica Guadalupe

Tags: London, Dorm shopping, University of Westminster, open minded

London: Tradeshow Hopping

Posted on Tue, Feb 02, 2016 @ 02:31 PM

by Victoria DiPiazza

Victoria_Scoop.jpgToday I got to go to two different trade shows here in London. I find trade shows to be one of the more exciting tasks in the role of a buyer. At trade shows you get to shop around through rooms and racks full of clothes! It definitely beats sitting behind the computer all day.

What I love about my internship at THEN AND NOW is that I am being treated as a member of the team, and really have a say in things. I was sent to the shows on my own to talk to brands and choose items that we want on the website.

My morning started off at Bubble, a childrenswear trade show. The other members of the team said they didn’t like kids and didn’t want to attend it, so I of course Victoria_Bubble_Clothes.jpgstepped in to go. How could you not love the mini size outfits that you would wear? The little fur coats were to die for!

Victoria_Bubble_2.jpgI was talking to one brand and I saw they were based in New York, so I mentioned that I went to LIM. Turns out that the rep I was speaking to was an LIM alumni who graduated in 2002! This really is a very small world that we live in!

In the afternoon I hopped on one of the famous red double decker buses to head downtown to Scoop International, a womenswear trade show. This was no ordinary tradeshow at a convention center. This trade show was held in a large art gallery at the Duke of York’s Headquarters. (It sounds so fancy. I just love saying it! See the photo below.)

Victoria_Scoop_Clothes_2.jpgThis show was also a lot of fun to walk around; I felt very official being there. The collections they had were beautiful and I am looking forward to working with them going forward.

February is officially fashion month. I can’t wait to see highlights from New York Fashion Week and get to compare it to what I will be seeing here at London Fashion Week!Victoria_Duke_of_York.jpg

 

Scoop International Tradeshow at The Duke of York’s Headquarters. Also, this was the first time I have seen this much sunshine in London, so a picture was necessary!

Tags: London, internship, then and now, trade show

London: University of Westiminster vs. LIM

Posted on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 @ 12:42 PM

by Tiffany D'Angelo

Tiffany_Veronica.jpgTiffany and fellow LIM student Veronica Lenhard on Orientation day.

Coming from a school that’s pretty small, it’s a little overwhelming navigating your way through the buildings. The University of Westminster is different from LIM mainly because there’s an actual secluded campus, whereas our campus back in New York is Fifth Avenue and Bryant Park.

Before coming to London I was really worried about how I would adapt to a bigger campus. How would I make friends? Would I find it difficult to concentrate in big lectures? How am I even going to find my classes? Fortunately, my inner New Yorker kicked in quickly and a bigger campus was no longer nerve-racking.

Personally, I’ve only had to go to the Harrow, Marylebone, and Regent Street campuses, all of which are incredible. The fashion department here is located in Harrow, so that’s wheremost of our courses are. If you’re still worried about how you’ll manage, I can assure you that the tour during orientation is really helpful and will teach you how to get around in no time.

At Westminster, students work more independently, which has been something to get used to. Straight off the bat we were divided into groups that we will be working alongside for the entire semester.

Working in groups makes the larger class size seem less intimidating. Typically, the classes aren’t that much bigger with my largest class having probably about 35 people.

Although I’m used to the group work we do at LIM, the group work here is very different. Your group becomes your lifeline. Of course the professors help guide you in the process, but communication with your group is key. Since this is how the class is structured, we have to make mandatory group contracts customized to our group’s priorities and expectations.

I think this is great because it sets everyone on the same page and makes you feel more confident with having your grade in their hands. It’s also great for preparing students for their future experiences within the workplace. In our industry especially, we will be working within groups a lot so it’s important for students to acquire the strategies and communication skills needed in order to excel in the workplace.

Tags: London, group work, University of Westminster, class size

The Countdown to Study Abroad Begins!

Posted on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 @ 03:35 PM

 by Victoria DiPiazza

stamp-451285_640.jpgAs all of my friends will tell you that I am known for being over-organized and making extremely detailed to-do lists. So when it comes to packing for my Co-Op in London this semester you can imagine how long my list is (cough), four pages, (cough).

Packing clothes for four months into one suitcase and a carry-on seems like the impossible. Never mind the fact that I will be flying on my own to another country for the first time. Still, getting all of my fashion needs to fit is much more terrifying, right?

To fix this fashion student problem I have gone to my favorite tips website, Pinterest, to help me find some solutions. What I discovered is that capsule wardrobes are the new way to pack when traveling. As I will be interning there rather then attending classes where you can wear sweatpants everyday, I need to make sure I pack many trendy and professional pieces.

Here are some tipHow_Not_to_Look_Like_a_Tourist_2.jpgs that I came across, which I have used as the guidelines to cut down my list:

  1. Mix & match is your new favorite term
  2. Choose a limited color palette (Mine consists of black, white, maroon, gray, and tan.)
  3. Keep in mind your everyday lifestyle looks (In my case, interning four days a week & minimal weekend travel outfits.)
  4. Consider your destination and the season it will be
  5. You don’t need 10 pairs of shoes! (This is one of the harder concepts to accept.)
  6. Bring the basics. You will save space in your suitcase and leave plenty of room for all the cute clothes you will want to buy when traveling on the weekends
  7. Eliminate the pieces you know you’ll only wear once
  8. When you think your done picking out your clothes, go through it again and take out a couple more pieces (You most likely have more then you need.)

Of course I have fears because I don't know any of the people who will be my roommates in the flat, yet, I know that I can branch out and meet new people easily.

I am very excited to be starting my co-op. I will be a buying intern for THEN AND NOW, an online luxury retailer who sells current and past season designer collections at a discount price. Learning about London fashion as well as a different business culture is an experience I am really looking forward to.

After months of planning and preparing for this trip, I can’t believe that I will be there in less than two weeks. I am very excited to be blogging this semester and sharing my London adventure with you all!

Best of luck to everyone on the start of their spring semester!

Tags: London, study abroad, internship, pack light

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