Monthly Archives: September 2011

First Day of Class – British Style

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Cheers!

Yesterday I attended my first class of the semester at Queen Mary! The class I attended was called “Terror, Transgression, and Astonishment,” which is a literature class on Gothicism in the 17th-19th centuries. The style of class here in London is different than what I’m used to back home at good ole’ Lafayette. We only meet for class once a week! After the one hour lecture by my professor, I attended what they call a seminar. A seminar is where the class splits up into groups of about 15 students and talk about in further detail the readings and what was discussed in lecture, and this lasts an additional hour-hour and a half. It’s all pretty different but definitely something I could get used to. The classes here also seem a LOT more reading intensive than what I’m used to back home. I have to have a 670 page novel (The Mysteries of Udolphoย by Anne Radcliffe) read by next week! But all the novels for this literature class that I have to read all seem like books that I will enjoy reading. Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is on the list, so really how bad could it be? ๐Ÿ™‚

Julissa, Kelly, and I have also booked more plane flights! We are now officially going to Munich from November 4th-7th and we are headed to Amsterdam December 2nd-4th! Finally these ideas and wishes to travel are finally becoming reality. We already leave for our first trip, to Barcelona, next weekend!

Now, although I am looking forward to traveling around Europe, I’m also just as excited to be living in Britain, traveling around the UK, and experiencing the culture here. One way I have done this is by sampling the favorite foods of the natives. I know, I know…the Brits are known for their beer, not their food, but I had to give it a try and what better way to do that than to have “beans on toast.” Beans are HUGE here! They eat beans for breakfast with eggs, with baked potatoes and cheese and on toast. My new friend Josh made “beans on toast” the other day, and he was shell-shocked that I had never heard of it! I figured, “How bad could it be?” and I tried it. Now the English normally eat this meal for breakfast, but I had it for lunch along with Julissa. And it was surprisingly pretty tasty! I don’t think I could bring myself to have beans for breakfast, but I still hope to bring it back to the States. Oh, I’m just getting so cultured over here ๐Ÿ™‚

 

PS- Check out some of the pictures I uploaded!

Classes and Travel Plans!!!

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Great news! Study abroad associate student orientation at Queen Mary is finally over, and I am now an official enrolled student at and more importantly I have my class schedule (or “timetable” as they call it here) I’m taking Health Psychology and an english class called Terror, Transgression, and Astonishment. I’m also taking an environmental science class Environment, Nature and Society, and an anthropology class called Society, Culture, and Space. Thankfully Kelly, Julissa, and I all don’t have classes on Friday! So we will always have long weekends which will be great for when we start traveling! How lucky did we get?!

Speaking of traveling, we booked our plane tickets to Barcelona the other night, with the airline Easyjet! We will be leaving Friday October 7th and returning Sunday October 9th. Julissa has a friend who will also be there that weekend, and he is providing us with free hotel accommodations! Which is great because that’s just another expense we don’t have to plan or pay for. Also in October, the weekend of the 14th-16th, IFSA-Butler is taking all of it’s students on a free adventure weekend in the Lake District (which is in northern England, close to Scotland) We will be able to do a bunch of ย different outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, gorge scrappling, and this thing call the Via Terratta which is a series of iron beams fixed high up along the gorge which you can harness yourself into and slide across the gorge on. It all sounds really exciting and I’m definitely looking forward to that trip as well!

Our classes don’t start until Monday, so the past couple of days Julissa, Kelly, and I have been exploring central London and have gone to see some more tourist-y things like Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. Westminster Abbey is one of my favorite things about London. It’s architecture (especially in the Royal Airforce Chapel) is breathtaking. I wish I would have taken some illegal pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚ We are planning to go to a couple mass services at Westminster. How many times will we get to do that? Buckingham Palace was so ornate and…royal! Definitely fit for a queen! Architect John Nash who designed the redecoration and modeling of the palace definitely knew how to impress.

So that’s what I’ve been up to the past couple of days. Classes start on Monday, so I’m trying to make the most of my last free weekend before school begins. Wish me luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

Week One!

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Wow! I cannot believe that I have only been in London for one week? It feels like I’ve been living here for a month! Let me update everyone on what my first week in London has entailed.

My friend Julissa and I arrived at the airport, to be greeted by Kelly and her mom, Renee. It was so nice getting off the plane and being able to find a familiar face. We took a taxi to Lancaster Gate, which is where Kelly and her family had rented an apartment. Lancaster Gate is right next to Hype Park, which is the largest park in London and has important memorials like Speakers Corner and a monument dedicated to Princess Diana. After we showered and freshened up from the long plane ride, we all headed out to explore London! We went on the London Eye, which is currently the largest ferris wheel in the world and is funded by EDF Energy, which is a company dedicated to supporting a low carbon future. From the top, I had a 360-degree view of the entire city. Pretty cool way to start my London experience, wouldn’t you say?

The next day, we set off sort St. Giles Hotel, which is where we attended our IFSA-Butler orientation which lasted until Friday. Besides bombarding us with tons and tons of information about studying and living in London, the program took us on some great excursions. On Thursday night, we went to the Apollo Theater and saw the muscical Wicked! I had seen this musical in New York City a couple of years ago, but it was still a very impressive show. One of my all time favorites! On Friday, which was our last day of orientation, all of the students in the IFSA-Butler program who are studying at Queen Mary University of London went on a walking tour of London. We were able to see the great, notable attractions of London. However our tour guide also took us into back alleys and hidden squares throughout central London that I would have never found by myself that were so peaceful, beautiful, and quiet! They were like little oasis’s in the middle of the city!

On Saturday morning, I moved from St. Giles Hotel into my room at Queen Mary where I will be staying for the remainder of the semester! I have a single room (which is a decent size) with my own bathroom (which is the tiniest bathrom I’ve ever seen! I can have my bum on the toliet, hands in the sink, and feet in the shower at the same time!) I’m in a flat with 3 other study abroad students, and 4 British students. We share a kitchen which has two of every appliance, which is nice when it comes to be dinner time!

Speaking of cooking, Julissa, Kelly, and I went on our first grocery shopping trip to Sainsbury’s. It was a little daunting and overwhelming. I’m not used to buying groceries for the week and planning out dinners every night for myself! However, when all was said and done, I made it out alive and have surprised myself with how easy cooking dinner every night can be. I’ve realized I need to make a list of what I’m going to make every night before I go shopping to make the whole experience a little easier for myself.

My dad and coach will be happy to hear that running from campus is very easy, and quite beautiful! There is a canal that runs alongside our campus and connects two parks, Mile End Park and Victoria Park. So needless to say, I have no excuse not to run. (Darn!) Kelly, Julissa and I have had some debate over which side of the trail to run on. In America, we drive on the right and run on the left. But it seems in England, they drive on the left and runners and cyclists on the right! Either way, I’m sure we will be able to figure it out after three months of living amongst the natives! ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s been a very, very busy (and at points stressful) week, but overall I’m still in awe that I’m here and this adventure of mine is beginning. I can’t wait to update you on what happens next.

Cheers!