My excitement started from the day, global immersion programme to UK was announced. I took the consent form to be filled in by my parents. I had to convince my parents, that I can be on my own for 10 days and they were convinced, when they met Binati Mishra ma’am, who was to lead us to the UK. We went to Kolkata for visa, after that I started counting days to leave for UK.
Day-1 : 3rd June – At last the day had come, 3rd June, I was a bit nervous, bit sad to leave my parents and above all excited to see London with friends Jayanti, Aditi, Anwesha, Deshna, Simran, Chirag and our loving ma’am.
Day-2 : 4th June – 2:45 am in the morning, we boarded the flight from Delhi for Heathrow, London. After 9 hours of journey we landed in Heathrow. It’s a beautiful big airport. After an hour we reached Bath. It was around 1.00pm, so we all got fresh and had lunch and started our Bath city tour. Bath is a very beautiful and peaceful small town and also the weather was very pleasant .We did some shopping and came back to our residence Town House 8. It was a beautiful duplex house, clean and cozy. It was 8.30pm, but still it was evening, I was feeling strange, I was tired but couldn’t sleep. I called my parents when the Indian time was around 12.00 midnight, talked to them and somehow slept.
Day-3 : 5th June – we had to visit Norton Hill Secondary School. We represented our school and our mother land India. From India I was representing Tamil Nadu in our presentation. We presented a song in the assembly. Later on we attended classes 7th and 10th with them. All the students and teachers were curious to know about India. I found their teaching method better than us. As I was wearing a saree, students asked me a lot of questions about our culture and to translate few sentences in Hindi. It was a memorable interaction, which makes me smile even now.
Day-4 : 6th June It was a very exciting day, as we were going to our junior partner school, Welton Primary School. The head teacher of Welton Primary school was a very warm hearted person. Assembly started with the introduction of Odisha by me. Small kids from grade1 to 6 were very curious to know about our country India and our state Odisha. After that we went to attend classes fifth and sixth. In both the classes,we rpresented festivals of India. there, I met a small boy of grade one who was curious to know about India and he accompanied me all the time till I left school. Till now I cherish those memorable moments. After leaving the school, we had a tour to Roman Bath,Bath University and other places of Bath.
Day 5 : 7th June. This day was a very special day for me as we were going to Oxford. I always wished to visit Oxford. It was a dream come true. It is a very beautiful place. I always thought that Oxford is a huge building, but when I visited Oxford I realized it was a group of colleges, known as Oxford university. We visited colleges, saw many beautiful monuments. We saw the place ,where a scene of the movie Harry Potter was filmed.I left Oxford with a wish ,that someday I would come again for studies. Then we took a taxi for Barking, London. We reached the Travelodge hotel by 7.00pm.
Day 6 : 8th June. We started the London tour with the world’s largest wax museum, Madam Tussuads. It was a wonderful experience. We saw the wax statues of the world famous personalities. I was so happy to see our Indian statues like, Amitabh Bachhan, Aishwarya Rai, Sharukh Khan etc. Sometimes I felt as if I was with real people. We enjoyed 4D movie on Avengers. Then we went for shopping in Primark, one of the malls in London. We all purchased a lot of clothes and chocolates. It was a very tiring day.
Day 7 : 9th June. We took a tube from Barking to West Minister. There we took the hop on hop off bus for a London city tour. We went to London eye, I was mesmerized , watching the view of London from the capsule. After that we had a river cruise ride, on river Thames. We saw London Bridge, Tower Bridge and the other five bridges as well.
Day 8 : 10th June. We went to Shrek Adventure, it was a great experience.We had fun and enjoyed a lot. After that we took a tube, came back to Barking. Packed our things as we had to go back to India the next day.
Day 9 : 11th June. We took the Tube from Barking to St James street to see the Changing the Guards in the Buckingham Palace. It lasted for approx. 45 minutes. The co-ordination and synchronization between the guards was worth watching. After watching the event, we took the tube back to Barking, took our luggage and left for the Heathrow airport.
On our journey back home, all the way ,I was full of cheerfulness, confidence satisfaction and enthusiasm to meet my parents after 10 days and narrate my experiences to them. I found UK, beautiful, organized, safe and a friendly place. We landed at Delhi airport around 11.am. We had to spend few hours at Delhi airport, as our flight for Bhubaneswar was at 6.30pm. We reached Bhubaneswar at 8.30 pm. I saw my parents eagerly waiting for me, they thanked ma’am for all her love and care and came home.
Those 10 days were like dream for me.Till now it’s hard for me to believe that I went to UK, without my parents. I thank God, for a very happy and safe journey. This tour taught me how to pack travel bags, buy things, get ready on time, present oneself, and take care of each other in a group.
I conclude this travelogue by thanking my friends and above all our loving ma’am, who was there like a mother for me, all the time.
By: Darshini Choudhury