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London: a flourishing city

By Haley Seger
On February 2, 2012

London is a very cultural city. During orientation week ne of my tour guides told my group that, out of the seven million people in London, only about two million of them are native Londoners. With so many different people coming to the city, the wide variety of cultures that come together to mingle with one another create an atmosphere that is distinctly London. For example, on Sunday I went to the Chinese New Year celebration. The area was so crowded that I couldn't see any of the events and ended up leaving after

being there for a very short time, but the sheer number of different people shows just how multicultural London can be. As the former center of an empire, London's culture comes from all over the world. One of my favorite experiences this week was going to the British Museum.

Being a history major and an unrepentant nerd, I knew

this trip would be a highlight. Unfortunately, I didn't have the

time to explore as much as I would have liked, but I did manage to see well-known artifacts such as the Rosetta Stone and ruins from the Parthenon. Some people might question why these artifacts are in England instead of their places of origin. From the signs on these artifacts, I gathered that the British like to hold on to whatever pieces of

history and culture they can find, even if they don't necessarily have the best claims to them. London isn't just a cultural city in the sense that many cultures are represented; it is also home to a thriving arts scene.

I have already had the opportunity to see some of this culture. On Thursday, I went to Royal Albert Hall, a hall built to honor both the empire and Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert, to see Cirque du Soleil's Totem. For those who don't know, Cirque du Soleil is an international theatre company that puts a on show similar to a circus performance that includes all kinds of acrobatic feats.

More than once I held my breath, wondering if someone was going to fall, only to burst into relieved applause with the rest of the audience when the person landed safely on the ground. You're not exactly thinking about the remnants of the British Empire while watching people swing from acrobatic rings hanging 30 feet in the air. Obviously, I've done a wide variety of things with my time here. With so many different things to do and see, it feels a little overwhelming. I just have to keep reminding myself that I will be here for another three and a half months, although

I don't know if even that would be enough time to see everything there is to see.

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