Students experience Olympics abroad
Trip overseas provides cultural exposure, first-hand look at London
Published: Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 12:09
London offered an eventful and dynamic summer for two UVM students who were there to see the Olympics in person.
Junior Yolanda Ngarambe and senior Alex Judge met up in Ngarambe’s native country, Sweden, flew on Ryanair, which Judge dubbed “the cheapest airline in Europe,” and then made the short flight to the United Kingdom.
Transportation costs were a concern to the two college students, but getting around was not as pricey as they first anticipated.
“Transportation could be purchased in a weekly bundle for reasonable prices and it made it very easy to get everywhere we needed to be,” Judge said. “[London] was definitely an expensive place to go, but hey, Europe is Europe; the reason they are so skinny is because food costs so much over there.”
According to the pair, London was similarly priced to other European cities despite the steep cost of local souvenirs resulting from the Olympic festivities.
Once they finally touched down in London, they were able to enjoy the city’s spectator-friendly venues to see everything from the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace to the official road-cycling course that meandered through the streets.
Both students waited at the course an hour and a half before the riders were scheduled to come through, which allowed them to see one of the first medals awarded at the games.
“The intensity of the riders was downright frightening,” Judge said. “It was a tangible example of their desire for Olympic gold.”
As both Ngarambe and Judge were ticketless, getting into the Olympic Park was not an option, but that did not keep them from experiencing the cultural diversity that the quadrennial celebration offered.
“The Olympic Mall was sensationally busy, filled with athletes from all countries,” Judge said.
Highlights from the trip included meeting Julius Mutekanga, a Ugandan 800 meter runner who ran for Long Island University, seeing members of China’s women’s basketball team and attending a party celebrating 50 years of Jamaica’s independence that was sponsored by Puma.
Despite the fact that the party included celebrities of Usain Bolt’s status, Judge said the atmosphere was “relaxed” and “the people were a lot of fun.”
“There was food to eat, entertainment and tons to do,” he said.
Regardless of whether visitors had a ticket, London still offered great opportunities for spectators to enjoy the game with British hosts.
“The Brits were very excited about the ceremony and it was fun to hear and see their reactions to the queen being presented,” Ngaraombe said.
“We were so close to the stadium where it was held, we could actually see the fireworks in the sky that were shot out at the end of the ceremony,” she said.
Both students said they appreciated being able to watch the Opening Ceremony at a local bar with the home crowd.