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Journals from Semester Abroad in Nottingham England

2013-11-13 London, York, and Campus Living

[Sorry this is delayed, something went wrong with the post!]

Although it’s been several weeks since my last post (apologies), in my defense there hasn’t been much blog-worthy activity (or so I tell myself). That being said, how about an update? I survived Fresher’s Week, but only barely. I have fallen victim to “fresher’s flu,” an illness caused by mingling with so many new people—and this is the fourth week I’ve been sick. Needless to say, I’m ready to be healthy again, and being sick doesn’t help ease the homesickness that is finally setting in. It’s funny how, despite the wonderful friends I’ve made here, I still feel rather lonely. I’m finally longing for the comforts and familiarities of home and Linfield.

            Anyway, classes are going well—to my surprise they aren’t too different from Linfield’s classes. My most English-like class (which is actually in the American and Canadian Studies department) is a two-hour seminar every week discussing a different book each week. Except for the minimal contact time, this is typical of my English classes back home. My other two classes are lectures of 60-100+ people, which isn’t as bad as I expected. Overall, not too stressful (as long as I keep up with my reading—a word to the wise: don’t fall behind!).

            Beyond campus, a couple other students from Linfield and I have done a bit of traveling. A few weeks ago, one sunny Saturday morning, we decided to hop on a train to London and spend the day in the big city. To our dismay, day-of train tickets were £60, but we went regardless. We spent most of the day walking around London, seeing things from a distance, arriving too late to tour inside buildings but still enjoying the external beauty of Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park. We utilized the Underground, as well as free coffee shop WiFi, and arrived back at the train station just in time for what we thought was the last train back to Nottingham, when in reality the last train had left two hours earlier. After walking around the area at midnight for over an hour, looking for a hostel or hotel for the night, we returned to St. Pancras station and “slept” in the various accommodations provided: booths at Yo Sushi, couches outside of a restaurant, Starbucks tables, etc. It was a rough night, to say the least, but we lived and we learned.

            On a better note, we spent the weekend of the 18th in York, which is a couple hours' train ride north of Nottingham. We stayed two nights at a B&B, allowing us ample time to explore the beautiful, ancient city that maintains so much history. We visited the Cathedral a couple of times, paying to climb the 275ish steps to the roof of the tower, exploring all of the rooms, examining all of the stained glass windows—it was a mesmerizing place. We became very familiar with the city center, testing out a variety of restaurants (including a delicious world-cuisine vegan restaurant!), and we even went on a ghost walk (a walk through the city led by a man telling us ghost stories about different buildings throughout town). It was all very quaint, and we’re thinking of revisiting in December. It’s one of those towns that seem perfect for the holiday season.

            Things are continually settling in for us here in Nottingham, yet we can’t help but look to the future and plan weekend trips to London, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Cardiff, and consider our four-week holiday later in the term. Where will this journey possibly take us next?

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