Story by Makhaila Dudley, Saint Reporter
Photos courtesy of Makhaila Dudley
I, like many others, assumed that there would be little difference between the United States and the United Kingdom. Both countries spoke English and had Starbucks and big cities.
I was wrong.
Many people have asked me what I think of England so far and I give the same answer every time: It is very different.
I see some similarities between the two countries. The weather is the same as Michigan’s… cold and a little wet at times. I do believe England is slightly colder than Michigan. Right now, England is getting the weather that Michigan won’t see until early November. I absolutely love it! Give me cold and sunny over hot and humid any day.
The area around St. Mary’s is similar to what surrounds Aquinas. Basically take Gaslight and Eastown, put them together and you get Teddington and Twickenham. Everything is within easy walking distance and there are so many little shops to explore. My favorite are the charity shops. These are little Goodwill stores that are connected with a certain charity for things like Hospice, cancer research and children’s hospitals.
And that is about the extent of the similarities. Everything else has required a level of adjustment–Some good and some bad.
My favorite adjustment is the use of public transit. The buses, trains and subways are easy to use and not difficult to navigate once you get the hang of it. I have been able to get myself into Central London and back to campus like a pro at this point. It is no wonder that very few people my age drive over here.
The daily life over here has taken the longest to adjust to. The Ref, or my version of Wege over here, does not provide lunch, and breakfast isn’t the same. I can not wait until I can have a runny egg again. Oh, and actual bacon.
Classes are very different from Aquinas’. For starters, I didn’t really get to pick them. They are just given to you. You can make requests but it’s not like signing up for classes at AQ. My classes also are glorified quads. I have them once a week for 2 to 3 hours for 12 weeks. There are also no exams at the end of them, just papers and projects due. The way I have my schedule set up, I have so much free time and it is odd. I am used to life at Aquinas where I was always working on a paper or homework for a class. The nice part about having all of this free time is yes, I get my work done, but it also means that I can travel.
Never in my life have I been so close to the places I have always wanted to see: Paris, Scotland, Ireland, Germany. I have a few different excursions planned for my time over here. I want to make the most of my time, learning as much as I can about working in sports, but also learning from the many different countries and cultures over here and growing as an individual.
Don’t worry Mom, Dad and Tim, I will be coming back to the States (that is where my home and job are) but I first have to do some wandering.
Care to join me? For more information about studying abroad, email Tim Ramsay, pop into the Advantage Center or check out my blog about my time over here. https://icecreamandrage.wixsite.com/ww18