Travel in the UK
During my senior year of college I took a semester abroad in London where I not only went to school but interned as well. It was a very exciting time for me. My placement was with the UK’s Court Service. In the complete opposite of American efficiency, the Court Service exists a giant and useless organization.
While people call the agency for legal advice they do not staff lawyers and are therefore not allowed to actually give such advice. I know, I know….it doesn’t make much sense. But enough bloviating on that subject, as despite my objections, the internship afforded me an amazing opportunity as I was given direct access to the infamous Old Bailey. The Bailey is England’s largest criminal court and is the final stop for all the country’s biggest criminal cases. During my time there I was able to see countless high profile cases, including the gruesome slaying of two young girls: a huge story by London standards during my time there.
In addition, I was able to travel the country and participate in “charter mark” award ceremonies. Basically, in yet another display of the UK’s propensity to waste tax payer’s money, we traveled the country congratulating various court districts for a job well done and put on shows featuring motivational speakers as well as hosting luncheons.
While the award ceremonies themselves were, bluntly, something of a joke the opportunity to travel England and Scotland by train was pretty darn cool and allowed me enjoy the country in a way many of my fellow travel abroad students could not. I saw green hills and the picturesque British country side, small farms and villages, and even enjoyed my first taste of haggis on a train speeding toward Edinburgh. Even more cool than the things I saw were the people I met.
Traveling by train brings with it a certain level of intimacy not offered in other forms of travel and I was quick to converse with those on the train and was able to make a few friends along the way – of course, the fact that the train sold wine in abundance helped this cause immensely. Finally, the last really neat thing about traveling the country was that I was put up in fancy hotels as I traveled. Considering I was only 21 at the time, working for the Court Service might just have been one of the more interesting experiences of my young life thus far.