Our Student Services Coordinator, Gen, is passionate about London and loves sharing her city with others. That's why she leads weekly walking tours for SCL International College students. Her free walking tours are a great way to see London like a local and learn about its history, culture, and people. You'll also make new friends from all over the world.
In this blog post, Gen will tell you more about what you can expect when you join one of her tours, which are available for all SCL students on any of our courses.
Meet Gen: Your local guide to London
Hey guys, I’m Gen and I was born about three kilometres from our campus in Kentish Town, and I just adore this city. I’ve been guiding groups for over 15 years and I really believe in the huge benefits immersing in the culture of a place can provide. I love giving our international students a sneak peek at a slice of “my very own” London!
So once a week, I lead our students on a London excursion. This might be a walking tour, a gallery, museum, or something completely new and unique. Whatever the trip is, it’s designed to bring people together, encourage new friendships, and optimise the international student experience. I really love this part of my job.
Joining the social programme at SCL International College has so many benefits. Not only does London have a lot to offer in terms of sights, history, and shopping - but immersing yourself in the culture can also teach you so much. For example, you can learn about our transport systems and travel etiquette (always stand on the left of the escalators, let people off the tube first, and only ring the bell on the bus once!). Plus, you can enjoy watching Londoners in their natural habitat and experience our weird and unpredictable weather!
As an international student, you will have the opportunity to visit some of London's most interesting and iconic landmarks, as well as some of its hidden gems, at no cost. You will also be accompanied by a native Londoner (me!), who will be happy to chat with you about the city and answer any questions you have. This is a great opportunity to practise your English conversation skills and learn more about British culture.
You can also share your own stories with me! As your personal guide, I love to hear about how international students live back home, who they are, where they come from and the differences between their hometown and London.
Lastly, and most importantly, participating in our group activities is the perfect way to make lifelong friends from all corners of the globe. Making connections and experiencing this city with people who you may never have met is so special. That’s why I love leading the social programme.
I like to find a good balance of "Bucket List London" (famous landmarks and attractions like Big Ben, Tower Bridge, etc.) mixed with secret spots and local knowledge. It’s fun to see something we all know, but then veer away from the other tourists to quieter areas with history and stories that are just as rich and interesting.
During the tours, I’ll explain to students where they are, a history of the area, and what it’s like now - plus some personal anecdotes… Like the time my mum freaked out at the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral and made me lie down on the floor until someone could save us. Thanks mum.
I also love it when students tell me what they want to see - if they have specific interests then I am happy to organise a tour around this. London really has something for everyone and it’s nice to be inspired by the students' interests. So for example, if you are interested in food, you might enjoy a tour of Camden Market or Borough Market. Or if you want to learn more about science and technology, I can take you to Science Museum. No matter what your interests are, I'm happy to organise a tour that will help you to learn more about London and British culture.
From a rainy day adventure in Camden Town to a sunset stroll on Primrose Hill, here I share some of the past walking tours which capture the essence of what it means to be a student at SCL International College.
Here we set off from the Kentish Town campus at sunset for a walk along Regents Canal, through Camden Market and arrive at Primrose Hill just as the sun goes down.
We climb all the way to the top of the hill and take in the magnificent views of London by night. No matter how many times I take students on this walk, as we stand there together taking in the view, I always feel a sense of pride and community. Our group of international students comes from all over the world, but we are all united by our shared experience of living and learning in London.
From discovering the trendy Carnaby Street to admiring the May 2023 installations celebrating the King’s coronation, this tour changes a little bit each time we head out depending on the group and time of year. We often try to make a stop at Chinatown near Leicester Square. This place is a feast for the senses, with its vibrant atmosphere, colourful lanterns, and mouth-watering aromas.
Our next stop is typically Soho and Covent Garden, which are two of London's most vibrant and popular neighbourhoods, especially for international students who want to learn English. These areas are home to a wide variety of shops selling everything from souvenirs to high-end fashion, restaurants, bars and theatres, making them ideal for both practising English and socialising.
And of course, no trip to London would be complete without watching a football match in a local English pub! All I can say is that spending time together and exploring new places is what our student community is all about.
Imagine a rainy day in London, but instead of being gloomy, you're surrounded by a vibrant group of international students, all eager to explore vibrant Camden Town. That's the scene I recently had the pleasure of leading, and it was super cool!
We started our adventure with a stroll alongside the Regent's Canal, admiring the colourful street art and buzzing atmosphere. Despite the rain, the energy was electric, and our students were eager to soak it all up.
Next, we headed into the heart of Camden Town Market, a treasure trove of unique shops, stalls, and food vendors. From vintage clothing and handmade jewellery to exotic spices and international cuisine, there was something for everyone at Camden Market.
After exploring the market, we found shelter from the rain at Pizza Pilgrims, a popular spot for authentic Neapolitan pizza. We gathered around the table, shared slices, and swapped stories about life. It was a delightful experience for our students to bond, especially in the heart of such a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood.
You can find me at the front desk in our Kentish Town campus. Students usually come to me for London travel tips or to ask about the walking tours. I keep our upcoming trips displayed at the front desk and on Instagram, so don't forget to follow us for all the latest updates and photos.
If you're not in London yet but are interested in joining our student community, send an email to our reservations team. Our sales agents are experts in planning trips abroad and would be happy to help you get started.
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