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My Life Studying Abroad in London - Sutherland Avenue

June 12, 2024
by Sophia Kunkel
A street of red-brick Victorian buildings with cars parked on the road and a blue sky overhead

In my Studying Abroad in London Life: Strolling down Sutherland Avenue 

At the Beginning 

The Beatles once wrote: “There are places I’ll remember / all my life.” While it’s true that this is only the first phrase of the wistful and nostalgic “In My Life,” this reference resounded in my head as I stepped inside my Maida Vale apartment. I bring this up because—as a casual but dedicated listener of The Beatles—I was astonished by the fact that while studying abroad in London, I’d live only a 15 minute-walk away from Abbey Road (and Abbey Road Studios). It seemed fated. Besides that, my study abroad apartment at Sutherland Avenue is certainly one that I’ll never forget.  

A street of red-brick Victorian buildings with cars parked on the road and a blue sky overhead

 The street view from my Maida Vale apartment

Inside the Apartment on Sutherland Avenue 

Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a lovely kitchen and common area, and a surprise dishwasher greeted me on arrival day. I was exhausted after not having slept the entire night, and I worried what Maida Vale held in store. Thankfully, when CEA CAPA assigned housing, I could access more information about Sutherland via the Student Portal, and this answered many of my questions such as whether linens and towels would be provided, what the kitchen would include, and other generalities.  

Even so, it was wonderful to see the apartment first-hand. When I walked in, I was impressed immediately. My bedroom, which I shared with a roommate, was delightfully spacious, and included a large closet, hangers, a dresser, and a nightstand. We have a great view out of our window which faces the street. We watched Londoners pass and couldn’t believe that we'd live there for the next three months, among them. There were also easy-to-maneuver curtains for privacy’s sake, and a bathroom for the two of us with clean, comfortable amenities. My other roommates fared just as well with their own rooms.  

The shared spaces—the kitchen and the common room—were both a relief to me upon that first arrival. The kitchen, for example, came with a kettle, cutting knives, pots, a few cleaning supplies, and a drying rack, among other things. Plus, the five of us claimed our own cabinets for our food. Another significant note is the counter space, which is excellent for preparing meals, and has a wide space that looks into the common area. This way, we can feel like we’re together even when we’re in separate rooms.  

A small kitchen area with an oven, stove, and white cabinets

The kitchen in our apartment

The kitchen has a few quirks, but that is mostly because the UK does things differently than the United States. For instance, switching off the power for electrical sockets is essential before leaving the apartment for the day because it’s more energy friendly. Also, it’s critical to vent and air out the apartment when cooking because the fire alarm can be fickle—as the people in my building have already discovered.  

The common area was cozy, complete with a couch and dining table that seats all of us. There was a television on the wall, a coffee table, and two additional chairs for lounging. It was perfect for coming home after a long day of classes and relaxing or interacting with friends. I couldn't have been happier with the arrangements.  

A living room with a couch near the windows, a dining table with six chairs, and a mirror on the wall

 The common room in our apartment

Outside the Apartment on Sutherland Avenue 

Our apartment was surrounded by a residential area. It’s safe, quiet, and a great place to decompress. This also means that we needed to be aware of our neighbors and treat them with respect (as you should do in any situation). There are quiet hours, for example, which we needed to abide by.  

For grocery shopping, there are two Tesco grocery stores right around the corner—but we also took the Tube if we wanted to access any larger ones. Pubs, pharmacies, and coffee shops were within walking distance as well. I enjoyed getting tea before heading to class at these local businesses!  

CEA CAPA provided a walking tour of the area on the first day, which I found tremendously helpful for navigation. One of my main concerns about studying abroad in London was how I’d adapt to public transportation and walking. These concerns dissipated, however, as CEA CAPA introduced us to Maida Vale. It was so nice to know that I wasn’t on my own.  

The second tour that CEA CAPA organized, which was the next day after arrival, dove further into Maida Vale and allowed us to see the nearby area of Little Venice. I’m already planning my next trip to visit Little Venice because of the amazing river boats and barges, many of which have been turned into restaurants for the public’s use. Just don’t bother the swans (and I am very serious about this).  

A red barge in front of a body of water and trees and buildings in the background

The Puppet Theatre Barge in Little Venice

In Conclusion 

I loved living in the Maida Vale area! If you’re placed on Sutherland Avenue, I hope this post will give you more confidence going into the study abroad program, or possibly convince you to apply. I never thought that I’d live 15 minutes from Abbey Road, or that my apartment would suit me so well. But there I was, and this housing assignment made me feel right at home in this great city in England, even though I was across the ocean! 

A neon red sign inside a shop reading

Abbey Road Studios


Sophia Kunkel is the Content Creator - Blogger in London, England, and is currently studying at Hollins University.
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