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Currently I am studying abroad in London with the help of Millennium Tours. This is my first time ever in the UK, so I was confused when I first got here. On your first day in a new country, it is always a blessing to have an experienced person to guide you around the city and show you some highlights. Fortunately, enough for us our professors have been coming on this trip for years. The leader of our tour has been coming to London for 26 years! When we were first told about the walking tour, we were told that it would only be around ten miles, but by the time we finished we had walked almost 14. At the end of the day, we were all tired, sore, and ready to take a nap, but at the same we had the biggest sense of accomplishment. It felt so good to know that I had just walked around London and I completed the entire thing because some people were unable to complete the tour. Because I was able to go on this tour, I learned some valuable lessons. I have learned what makes a good tour guide and what makes a tour guide not so great. Some of the most valuable things a good tour guide can do is the following:

  • Make sure everyone in the group can hear you.
  • Point out memorable and famous sites, but not everything.
    • Sometimes when tour guides talk the entire time it is hard to enjoy the tour. Our professor did a wonderful job at this. He would pause occasionally to show us some sites and then kept moving along.
  • Point out some local areas that might make the tourist feel at home.
  • Give recommendations on places to eat when breaking.
    • Our tour guide gave us four or five different locations to eat it during lunch. I found this helpful because we had never explored the area of London that we were in.
  • Pausing occasionally, for some picture opportunities.
  • Speaking clearly.
    • When one is having to speak loudly for everyone to hear, speaking clearly is key. Speaking clearly helps make sure everyone can understand what

While my tour was fabulous and I had a wonderful time, I did learn a couple of things that I would like to improve on for a walking tour.

  • On a walking tour, especially one as large as ours, it was almost impossible for us to hear our professor guiding the tour.
    • One of the girls in my class recommended either standing on a bench or getting a microphone to talk to us.
  • It is also important to know the pace of the group.
    • When trying to see a big city, like London, you do have to walk quickly to see all the sights, but it is also nice to be able to take it all in.
  • Making sure your group is the right size!
    • If your group is too large this makes it incredibly difficult to hear, cross streets, and make a connection with your guide.

Since being on this tour I was able to learn what I like and what I do not like in a tour. When my friends and I went to Cambridge today we were able to pick the exact tour we knew we would like based on just this tour alone. Going on this walking tour doubled my knowledge of London. When I get off the Tube station now, I understand and know where I am going, whereas when we first landed, I was doing exactly what the map told us to do. I highly recommend going on walking tour when you first get to any city. It gives you a hands-on experience that clarifies the key pieces of the country.

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