Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nearly one day left!

Hard to believe, really.  In approximately 50 hours, I will be en route to the UK for the next 9 months of my life.

Stoked?  Absolutely!

I managed to fit everything into a 27in' rolling suitcase.  I'm estimating it at about 48lbs.  I'm sure hoping it comes in under the 50lb mark, or else I'll have to cough up a few extra dollars.  Nonetheless, for only having shipped over one box of shoes/coats and packing this suitcase, I'd say I did pretty well for planning on a 9 month excursion!

Here's hoping for a strong British fellow/lady (hey, I'm all for woman-power) to help me with this bad boy!  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Oxford?

Four days left!

I've had a large number of people ask me "why England?" or "why Oxford?"  I do indeed speak French (okay, rather, I "try badly") so it would seem right down my alley to seek study in France.  However, there are many reasons that I chose England, some more serious than others!

So, in no particular order:
  • I have an obsession with rolling landscapes, history and old architecture.
    • Sure, this is basically anywhere in Europe, but I particularly love the countryside, rolling hills and old castles of Great Britain.  I think that England has an incredible history.  I am a self-proclaimed 'museum/history nut' and therefore I look forward to Oxford's Bodleian library, Camera and London's many museums and historical places.  The Bryn Mawr Club of Great Britain's president lives in one of the most famous historical residences in London (The Albany), right in Piccadilly square -- it fits perfectly!
  • Brits drink as much tea as I do.
    • Little known fact: I love tea.  Probably too much.  I try to drink at least two cups a day, mostly green or mint tea, though I enjoy many flavors.  I also love the concept of 'afternoon tea,' which I believe Americans should adopt.  Although, we'd probably eat too much anyway, just like we do at every other meal.
  • I don't like really hot weather.
    • This seems to fit nicely with England's climate, although I'm going to have to get used to this 'rain all the time' thing.  As long as it doesn't downpour everyday, it'll be jolly good.
  • They speak English.
    • I think I'll stick to my native language when learning about neuropsychology, brain anatomy and the like.  I can only imagine trying to learn what is already quite complex in another language.
    • I have an accent obsession.
      • Particularly with British accents.  Literally, I think I may fall in love just by listening to my fellow students/professors/townfolk talk.  My greatest hope in life is to come back to the US with a passable British accent.
    • Oxford's education system rocks.
      • Oxford teaches in mini-class sizes.  By mini, I mean one or two students per professor per lesson.  They call it a 'tutorial.'  Basically, it is a one-hour intensive study of a paper that you've written on the topic of the tutorial, where you debate and learn about the topic in-depth with your professor.  Not only do I love writing papers, I also don't enjoy spitting back information via test.  While Oxford students ordinarily do take large examinations at the end of each trimester or year, visiting students do not have to.  Even better!
    • Six week breaks between trimesters.. YES.
      • Oxford's system is the shortest in the world.  They have three terms: Michaelmas (Oct 10-Dec 4), Hilary (Jan 16-Mar 12) and Trinity (May 1-June 25).  So, note the LARGE amount of time between each term!  Perfect for traveling Europe.
    • IT'S OXFORD.
      • I mean, seriously.

    Time to pack!

    British pounds are HUGE!

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Only one week..

    Hard to believe that tomorrow marks the official 'one week left' countdown.  I remember telling my friends that I still had 4 months until I was going to Oxford; it feels like yesterday.  I sent out a box full of shoes and my two heavier coats via post on Monday, so hopefully it will be waiting for me when I land on the 2nd.  I thought I'd better ship the heavier stuff so as not to kill my hips too much (after a 7 hour flight, bus ride and walk to the college), so hopefully that was the right thing to do.  I'm sure everything will work out in the long run, anyhow.

    Our international student coordinator from St. Anne's is really on top of her stuff, which is nice.  They've arranged to take all of us international folk on shopping trips around Oxford to make sure we have everything we need before school starts (bank, phone, groceries, etc), so I don't have to fret about getting lost in the city, though I'm sure this will happen at some point in time.  They've also arranged for plenty of 'greeting' dinners and teas, which is quite reminiscent of Bryn Mawr.  By the way, happy 125th birthday Bryn Mawr!  Many more to come.

    At Oxford, I have a "family" of individuals (a mother, a father and a brother, I believe) who are actually students studying in my major or at the college.  They are assigned to the freshers to help us get acquainted with the college.  It's basically like BMC customs, except with a smaller group who don't necessarily live together.  I'm excited to meet everyone there... and, of course, to be serenaded by the lovely British accents.

    In anticipation of my arrival... more pictures!

    Oxford skyline at dawn

    The famous Bodleian library (left)

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    T-16 Days

    I'll be in Oxford in 16 days!  It seems a bit surreal.  I have a checklist planned out but can't fathom how to start packing.  I'm going to try to fit everything into a 27-inch suitcase and perhaps ship some stuff, but only as a last resort.

    St. Anne's:
    Ruth Deech building

    Wolfson Building

    Campus map.  SO EXCITED.

    Beautiful Oxford