Post-departure, pre-arrivalOxford, Fall 2010 - Direct Enrollment
Cześć (hello) from Kraków!
I can’t believe it’s already time for my first blog post. Though to be honest, this isn’t really a ‘predeparture post,’ because I left home a few weeks ago to travel through Central Europe before my IES Abroad program begins in London this Thursday. So let’s just call this an introductory post.
I’m really excited for my semester in England to begin. I’ll be studying in London for about a month, then moving to St. Catherine’s College at Oxford University for the fall trimester (they call it Michaelmas Term). As an English major, I’m thrilled to be studying British literature in its country of origin — hopefully I’ll take lots of field trips to the cities and neighborhoods where some of my favorite books are set.
I had a hard time deciding whether to study abroad at all, since I love my school in the US and didn’t want to lose 1/8th of my time there, but I know the time away will enrich those seven semesters I do spend at Brown. Because I was reluctant to leave Brown, though, I really prioritized finding a study abroad program that offers academic opportunities I couldn’t have if I stayed in the US. When I learned about Oxford’s one-on-one tutorial classes, I knew they were exactly what I’d been looking for.
For any prospective IES students, I’d really recommend knowing why you want to study abroad and what you want to get out of it before you choose a program. Not all programs offer the same assets in the same amounts — prioritizing cultural immersion, for example, may mean sacrificing opportunities to travel widely.
I don’t have much time left on the hostel computer, but a few other tips I’ve gleaned on my journeys so far:
- Plug adaptors that word in mainland Europe do not work in the UK, and vice versa. Look it up before you go (and if family or friends come to visit you, make sure they have the right adaptors — and converters, if necessary — too!)
- Always be prepared for rain. Always.
- Vegetarian dishes are often listened on menus in Central Europe in the same category as fish dishes. I’m still unclear as to why.
- No matter how poor at languages you are, learn how to say “thank you” in the language of any country you visit. That, and a smile, can go a long way.
Well, it’s off to Berlin for me, and then to London on Thursday. I’ll write again once my semester has really begun.
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