The historic BYU London Centre has served the students and instructors involved in the London Study Abroad program for 34 years, and this summer will be its grand reopening after a year of remodeling.
Spring students moved in May 12, with the reopening taking place late June between the spring and summer terms.
The London Centre is located in Kensington, near Notting Hill Gate and right down the road from Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. It has served as a home for those attending the London Study Abroad since 1978.
Lynn Elliott, director of International Study Programs at the Kennedy Center, said the centre will hold two open houses at the reopening — one for educators and one for locals in the church and government.
Although the London Centre still captures an old Victorian charm, the updating included new bed frames, more window seating areas and a larger area for eating in the “servery.”
Remodeling began in the spring of 2013. Students have been staying in different apartments and flats near Hyde Park since renovations began.
Even through the remodeling, the London Study Abroad remains one of the most popular among BYU’s students.
The London Study Abroad program attracts around 300–400 applicants each year for the four terms of fall, winter, spring and summer, according to the Kennedy Center’s International Study Program coordinator Aaron Rose.
“There are many things that attract these students to the program — London itself, London as a world city, London as a diverse city,” Rose said. “I think that people are also attracted to this program not only for the security but the tradition of staying at the London Centre. There is a lot of history there, and there are generations that have gone through the London Study Abroad Centre.”
Elizabeth Barton, a freshman from Provo, is aware of the tradition of staying in the London Centre. Her father has served as a program director multiple times, and for Barton the London Centre is like a second home.
“I have been to London five times, and it is my favorite place in the entire world,” Barton said. “I would certainly recommend the study abroad to BYU students. It truly is a magical and enriching experience well worth the money.”
The London Centre provides students with a chance to make their dream of traveling to London a reality.
Mackenzie Mann, a senior from Draper and a past participant of the London Study Abroad, said, “I really wanted to have an international experience during college, and going to London had always been one of my dreams. I loved my time at the Centre, and I can’t wait to see all the new additions.”