As the Scholars team prepares for the arrival of the Autumn 2018 scholars, our Assistant Programme Director reflects on why you should study abroad with Hansard Society Scholars in the Autumn term.

Having grown up in New England in the United States I was spoiled for the quintessential “fall experience”, including beautifully coloured trees, apple picking, and hot mulled cider (non-alcoholic). So why, then, am I so sure that the Autumn Semester is the best time to join Hansard Society Scholars in London? Here are eight reasons:

  1. British Summer Time: When you get to London in September to start your programme, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you arrived for a summer term. You’ll catch the best part of the summer, when the sun is still warm and shining, but the heat has abated just a bit. London will still be savouring the tail end of summer holidays as everyone returns to their usual routines, but Londoners will be keen to hold onto that holiday vibe, meaning a friendly and relaxed city awaits!
  2. University Students Arrive: British and international students alike will be arriving in London for autumn uni terms. This means a city full of other students to meet and play with, plenty of student deals to take advantage of, and student-only events at some of the best restaurants and bars in London!
  3. Beautifully Coloured Trees: Do you think that because you’re in a big city there won’t be any trees? WRONG! Just under half of London is green space, including 3,000 parks. One of my personal favourites for “leaf peeping” (viewing the fall foliage) is Richmond Park in south west London. If you’re lucky, you’ll also spot some beautiful wildlife, including the majestic stags.
  4. Bonfire Night: This traditional British event is marked with bonfires and fireworks in memory of the Gunpowder Plot. You know: "Remember, remember, the fifth of November..." Also known as Guy Fawkes Night, customary celebrations usually include burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes! In London we just celebrate with some spectacular fireworks displays. Not a bad way to have some fun and learn a bit about the local culture!
  5. Apple Picking: Okay, this one is a slight cheat. You CAN go pick your own apples, but you will have to travel just a bit outside of London. That being said, explore more of England; Get out of the big city and soak in some country air! With several Pick-Your-Own farms within easy traveling distance to London, there’s no excuse not to go and get some fresh apples to enjoy on those crisp autumn days.
  6. Christmas Decorations: Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you have to appreciate how absolutely stunning London is when it’s dressed up for the festive period. The traditional English department stores, including Harrods and Fortnum & Mason, have the most spectacular window displays; Oxford and Regent Streets are lit up with a different theme each year; Covent Garden heaps Christmassy lights and decorations throughout the covered market; and if you’re looking for something less traditional just head to the famous Carnaby Street. Not to mention this means you can get exceptional keepsakes for yourself and unique gifts for your family and friends back home!
  7. Hot mulled cider (alcoholic): Yes, that’s right! The Brits are well known for their wintery beverage of mulled wine (a classic in the UK around the holidays), but they have also managed to take the already delicious cider on tap in the pub and created a hot spiced version to enjoy on those chilly autumn evenings.
  8. Winter Activities: Once we get into November London will be opening a multitude of ice skating rinks in iconic locations (Tower of London moat? Yes, please!). Not to mention, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, open fires in local pubs, Southbank Centre’s Wintertime Festival, and a host of world class museums and galleries there is no shortage of events to enjoy during the colder months in London!

I have now lived in London for over 5 years, and while each season has its pros and cons, I truly believe the autumn term is the best time to be in London! In addition to the typical “fall” activities, you also get the benefit of a taste of British summer time and the festivity of holiday decorations.

Applications are now open to join the Autumn 2019 programme (as well as the Spring and Summer of 2019)! Check our dates and fees page for programme dates and application deadlines.

Erin TschuppAssistant Programme Director

A native of Connecticut, Erin is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has a wealth of experience in performing arts and museum management but joined the Hansard Society in 2017 most directly from the University of North Carolina Honours Programme in London where she was the Programme Manager for four years. In addition to the myriad of skills and experience she brings to this role, Erin has a highly infectious enthusiasm for Britain and London and works to ensure that every Hansard Scholar makes the most of their own personal study abroad journey.

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