Oct 11, 2013


Another two weeks my friends. I can't seem to keep up with my posts as well as I would like. It turns out that my tendency to procrastinate doesn't go away when I change continents. Who knew?

I can't believe that I have been here for an entire month already! Thirty-three days and counting. And so far it has been a truly awe-inspiring experience!

The last two weeks have been mostly filled with school. The academic system here is much different than the one I have experienced back home, and to be honest I am having a bit of a hard time getting used to it.

Classes, or modules to the Brits, are almost exclusively three or four hours long and held only once a week, at least in my experience. This system has its advantages. For instance, it is much easier to form a schedule where I only have modules three days a week, but it has its disadvantages too. Perhaps it is only because my own system has conditioned me to hour long classes, but I find it almost impossible to stay engaged in a lecture about the same topic for three hours at a time. Also, because I am taking almost all Freshman level classes, a lot of the material is stuff that has been introduced to me in previous classes.

They also have a completely different grading/assessment system. Each module will set up somewhere around two or three assessments, usually papers or portfolios, that will combine to make up 100 percent of your grade. So, while attendance is mandatory, you get no points for participation in discussions or smaller assignments that are given to you. Also, a lot of the classes have moved away from testing, so note-taking and detailed reading of text seems to become less important. Add to this that at least in this semester I am not taking any modules that count toward my major and my normal studios tendencies have gone out the window.

My main problem currently is that I have found myself in a beautiful county with plenty of distractions and little emphasis on my academic life. I think that next semester however, when I am taking more classes that fit into my degree and that I am genuinely interested in, I will much prefer the British system, but only time will tell.

My favorite school memory so far was when we were asked to draw what we thought represented America in our Social Constructions class. Of the all the pictures I think that Mount Rushmore may be the best.
Last weekend, our group participated in home stays. Each of us was assigned a family to stay with, and we got our first taste of British life. The lady I stayed with had two teenage children and a dog. I'm not going to lie, I was more excited about the dog than the home stay, (I have been in serious need of animal company) but everyone was very nice. There was a bit of awkwardness, because they were in the midst of dealing with some family issues, but it was a good experience nonetheless. They took me to Broadway,  a little village nearby (pictured below), and I got to have my first cream tea. It turns out that people were not lying to me when they said that clotted cream was good, no matter how gross it sounds, and Jackie, my host mom, told me I did a very British job of getting all the cream and jam onto my scone, so go me! The next morning, I went to my first English church, and although I was the youngest person there by about 20 years, looking back I am glad that I went along, if only to compare it to my own previous experiences. Then, it was back to the Flats for me.

That's about all that is worth hearing about since the last time I posted. It's been a lot of TV watching (I caught up on The Walking Dead and have finally started Breaking Bad) and hanging out with friends. I started cooking group dinners with a few people, which has been much better than eating peanut butter sandwiches alone in my room, not to mention healthier. We also planned a trip to Dublin for the 18th through the 20th of October, which I couldn't be more excited about!! I can't wait to tell you all about it! And, I went to my first club! How did I almost forget to share that! It is so out of character for me, but I actually had a really good time, even with little to no alcohol. It was one of my friend's 21st birthday, and she begged me to go out with her, so I did. We went to one of the tamer ones, and as I mentioned I actually had a lot of fun!

What I've Learned:
  • If you want really good hot chocolate in Worcester, go to the Chocolate Deli
  • British Snickers taste much more like peanuts, and Twix taste really different
  • On a similar note, British Dr. Pepper tastes more like Mr. Pibb
  • In almost all British restaurants you pay before you eat, and many don't have take out boxes
  • They call baked potatoes Jacket potatoes
  • You need a passport sized photo to get your railcard
  • Freshman only get pass/fail grades their first year at Uni
  • British bacon is more like ham; you need to find streaky bacon if you want American bacon
  • Even the British are disturbed by Miley Cyrus' twerking
  • When the red and yellow lights on stop lights are lit up at the same time, it means prepare to go; just yellow means prepare to stop
  • They call cheese like Kraft singles American cheese
  • Again about a million other more useful things that just aren't coming to mind

Anyway, that is all for now. More soon.

Love to you all

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