Q&A about the England: LMU Leadership in London Program

Q&A with Kate Cereghini about the England: LMU Leadership in London Program

By Hampton Kohler

When Kate Cereghini was choosing where to go abroad, she knew it would be to London. Her family has instilled a love for the city in her with visits before. She loved the culture. It was a location that was extremely accessible to other European cities. She applied, and as soon as she got in, she started looking at the best places to go in the city.

A senior Accounting major and Marketing major in the M-School, Cereghini is also an active member of Kappa Alpha Theta on campus. She enjoys reading, working out, and playing piano, and loves spending her time on campus with her friends in her final year as a senior. In between her schedule of classes, Cereghini had a chance to talk about some of her favorite aspects of her trip. 

What was the best part of London, coming from someone from the US? 

Coming from Scottsdale and Los Angeles, I had never lived in a walkable city until my time in London. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed using walking as my primary mode of transportation. Commuting to work and navigating the city via the Tube system was often the highlight of my days. This led me to realize that I hope to live in a walkable city as I begin my career.

How was the academic side of the trip for you?

My academic experience in London was strengthened by my program, the Foundation of International Education, which LMU collaborates with. This program enabled me to fulfill several business school requirements, including my Directed Internship Credit, Business Ethics, and Faith and Reason. A course titled “Islam and the West” filled my Faith and Reason requirement, providing me with an in-depth understanding of Islamic culture, along with captivating field trips to various mosques in London. I thoroughly enjoyed my Business Ethics class, and my professor, Graham Box, stands out as one of the best instructors I’ve had. He organized extracurricular activities for our class, such as visits to museums and attending the show “Hamilton.” The academic aspect of the program was truly enjoyable, offering a much needed break from my typical accounting major courses.

Tell me more about your internship opportunity, a unique part of the program. How was it?

FIE (Foundation for International Education, the institution that facilitates the courses and internships on the trip) made an effort to match students with internships that aligned with their college majors. As a marketing major, I interned in Marketing with Kind2, a small hair care business. I played a leading role in managing their new dog hair care line, which I found immensely rewarding. My boss was exceptionally supportive and appreciative of my contributions, which included creating TikTok content and engaging with dog influencers in London for potential collaborations.

What was the biggest difference you noticed between home and London?

People in London tended to be more reserved and inclined to keep to themselves in public settings. Especially when entering my office building, I made a conscious effort to ensure my behavior aligned with the social norms of a British workplace.

Was there any aspect of the trip that you didn’t like or would change?

In hindsight, I would have planned more downtime to explore London itself. My schedule was often filled with school and internships during the week, and weekend trips left little time to explore London as much as I would have liked. This busy schedule, combined with cold temperatures, led to many students feeling tired and under the weather for extended periods, myself included. I’d tell students heading to London to not feel pressured to book activities every weekend, but to instead to leave free time to spontaneously explore the city.

Do you have any more advice for other students going on this trip?

From a trip planning perspective, I’d recommend searching for destination recommendations on TikTok, which proved to be quite helpful for our later trips abroad. Additionally, I’d like to emphasize that homesickness while studying abroad is more common than often acknowledged. Acknowledging homesickness with other students can help everyone remain present and appreciative of their abroad experience, rather than dwelling on it.

What were your favorite spots to go to?

Almost every day my routine consisted of visiting Urban Barista, a cozy coffee shop conveniently located near Manson Place, where FIE’s student housing was situated. This spot became a key location for LMU/FIE students, offering great food, friendly staff who enjoyed chatting with study abroad students, and reliable Wi-Fi for schoolwork. As our residence lacked a comfortable workspace, this coffee shop became my main study spot. 

For dinners, my go-to restaurant in Kensington was Da Mario’s, known for its amazing rigatoni pasta and Aperol spritz. I initially discovered it with my dad when he helped me settle into London, and after that, I convinced my friends to go there during the first week. It soon became a weekly Tuesday tradition, and eventually the Italian waiters knew us by name and played songs we suggested. In December, at our final Da Marios dinner, the waiters brought us a parting gift of Italian Christmas cookie boxes which brought us to tears.

Where were you staying, and what was the housing like?

The FIE housing was located in Kensington, which in a beautiful area in London we all felt really fortunate to be situated in. My housing arrangement included a shared bedroom with three friends and me on the top bunk. Fortunately, we were able to request roommates so people could be with their friends. I also felt this shared four person room really made up for my lack of dorm living due to Covid freshmen year. The communal kitchens did pose some challenges in terms of hygiene as about ten people shared them and there was no dishwasher. However, the convenience of having our sheets cleaned weekly was nice.

Finally, would you recommend this trip to others?

Yes! This experience has ignited my interest in further education, such as pursuing an MBA in London or beginning my career in the city. Studying abroad has significantly strengthened my confidence in traveling independently, as well as deepened my commitment to exploring the world in the future. I certainly recommend it.