Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

The Real Advantage of IFSA-Butler Living

I have an exciting story to share with everyone. I will start at the beginning…

Because UCL housing was full, I was placed at 21 Pembridge Gardens, IFSA-Butler’s office in London. It is a beautiful white townhouse in Notting Hill. I live with about 30 other Americans studying abroad and have made a lot of new friends. I’m lucky because at the same time that I am meeting people from all over the world, I am also meeting friends who I can visit more easily in America.

Notting Hill is a great area, as you would know if you saw the film of the same name starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. It is fun to say that I live 2 doors down from Stella McCartney (yes this is absolutely true and I see her and her family all the time!). It is also nice that so many opportunities are within walking distance. Notting Hill is just a short walk from the famous Portobello Market, Hyde Park and, of course, Kensington Palace.

You may remember that years ago Princess Diana resided in Kensington Palace with her sons William and Harry. Now it is home to Prince William and Kate Middleton. The Palace is just a 10 minute walk from my house. I loved this part of my housing location because I am a real royal fan. I even woke up at 5 a.m. to watch the Royal Wedding last April. Okay here is where the story gets interesting.

Last week as I was walking back to my house from High Street Kensington (a main shopping street with stores like Zara, Whole Foods and H&M), I noticed a woman with the most beautiful hair I had ever seen. It was brown, long, curly at the ends and very bouncy. She was also very impressively dressed in all black with a fancy looking leather handbag. Not to mention the man walking very closely behind her. I had a fleeting thought that the woman looked like Kate Middleton. Then all of a sudden she turned her head and I realized it was her! A real life royal! I didn’t know what to do. I was in shock that I was seeing such a huge celebrity on the streets of London. She was carrying a shopping bag and stopping by a local flower stall to pick up some white lilies for her royal apartments in Kensington Palace.

I knew I would always regret it if I didn’t say anything to her, so I went for it. “Hi, um, are you Kate?” I asked nervously. “Yes,” she replied. I think I might have started shaking right about here. Hopefully Kate didn’t notice. Now I was speechless. “Oh wow, well, um, I just wanted to say, well, um, hi” I muttered. “It’s very nice to meet you,” she replied in her beautiful English accent. I smiled and left her alone to pick out her flowers, but not before taking a few pictures of her first.

This is a memory I will never forget. I have to thank IFSA-Butler for placing me in their Notting Hill office. Otherwise, I never would have talked to a real life princess and future Queen of England!


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