England: A Bird’s Eye View of London

Ethan Bell is a student at Pacific University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. He is studying abroad with ISA in London, England.

“What’s the most boring art you can create?” media professor Bill Carrigan at Pacific University is known to ask. The answer to his rhetorical question: “something that shows the world as a person sees it.”

He uses this speech to emphasize how beautiful even mundane aspects of our lives can be when we take the time to see them from a different perspective. The experience of studying abroad is anything but mundane, but it never hurts to further explore your situation by looking at things in a fresh new way.

Flying gives you one such unique perspective– you get to literally view the world from an entirely different angle. In the following photos, I tried to capture some of the experience and excitement of seeing a new place for the first time.

This image captures the first glimpse of English shore which many on my plane — including myself — ever saw. Through an airplane window and from over 30,000 feet, we caught sight of the shore as the clouds broke for an instant. Houses, fields, and even the giant sandy beaches are just a blur, but for me, that blur symbolized my first real taste of the world outside my little bubble in the Pacific Northwest.

As we flew in over Liverpool, Birmingham, and Oxford, we were floating upon a sea of pillow-y cotton clouds as the sun rose in front of us. Most of the land was shrouded by this white expanse, until we were midway through our descent over London. Just as we hit the middle of the cloud cover, the land beneath us became visible, and we saw the River Thames. Due to our route and air traffic, we actually circled the city before looping back to Heathrow Airport, allowing us to observe London from such heights that even the towering skyscrapers in the City of London financial district were barely distinguishable.

Back on the ground, from the residence halls at Queen Mary, University of London, there are beautiful park and waterfront views. Houseboats line the canal running through Mile End Park, the old home of the track and field teams for the London Olympics some years past. Even on an overcast day, the vibrant foliage makes for a beautiful view, which is only aided by the prevalence of cheery park-goers. Some nights, the recreational centers along the park illuminate with parties and events, and music can be heard in the distance (if you listen quietly).

London is truly a wonderful city, and has a novel, but not uncomfortably different, culture. I look forward to capturing and sharing more experiences as my time here continues.


The world awaits…discover it.

Leave a Reply