Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Exchange Program in the UK 2012 Start

So, this fall, I began studying at University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK and I couldn't decide between keeping a vlog or a blog about it. Preferred vlog, but yea, that's what I've been doing during this hiatus- prepping for studying abroad.
Anyways, so last week was my first week at the university. The key thing is that the differences are so subtle, they stand out by a mile. Such as small lingo changes from "parking lot" to "car park", "to rent" to "to let", "biking" to "cycling", "trash" to "rubbish", "pants" to "trousers". Converting dollars to pounds ;_;. And of course, the road- driving on the left side as opposed to right, all the different lane markings. Is still getting myself accustomed to it. And naturally, of course, I have never been surrounded by so many accents before, from British, to heavy British, to really heavy British, to German, Greek, French, Polish, etc. etc. The accents are questionable whether or not it affects me in a bad way. In a sense, I'm already used to a diverse amount of pronunciations so the accents themselves aren't jarring. However, when things become misunderstood due to the pronunciation differences (i.e. "a" could sound more like "uh", etc), thats what i find awkward. My horrible cooking and direction sense are also coming in between things- my rice is still mushy, I totally screwed up boiling pasta, I burnt egg of all things. Although, luckily so far, I haven't had any problems with boiling my vegetable-chicken soups (and I haven't gotten sick of it). :)
But wait- this sounds like my experience has been crap so far right? Oho, I never mentioned how amazing my classes and basically, the intellectual aura of the place is. UEA is set in a university town, so naturally, the main focus of this whole darned place is on the education; whether it's competent or not is debatable.
Anyways, this fall, I'm taking considerably fewer classes than I would at my home university. Only three- Landscape, The Gothic, and Modernism. All of them consist primarily of readings and then a few essays. Much like literature/history classes in the US. However, unlike back in the US, I suddenly have this amazing urge to start working on them earlier and trying to think critically. If I'm able to fully develop these working skills, I hope to carry them back to the US... like big time. Also, in regards to research, back in the US, I would always use online references- y'know, wiki, google, sparknotes, etc. However, like I wished and expected, I'm suddenly using books- like real physical books- to do my research (well, of course they're required for the 2 literature classes, but Landscape is a history class). And in regards to research in the library? I. Fuckin'. Love. It. I spent a bit over an hour (understatement) just pouring through the history section of my school's library because I was so fascinated by these real, physical, primary sources. Old, fading paper, fading typewriter ink, crinkly binding, and all. Just almost surreal.
And, of course, I have developed this peculiar method of staying optimistic. For example, dorm life, which I will cover in another post, I hope, no matter how trivial a concern, my mind somehow automatically warps it into a story idea or thinking- this is what I've read about in chick lit stories, dorm stereotypes- I'm finally living it! Because, honestly, I was prepared for these problems and I'm fuckin' bathing in loving the fact that i'm experiencing it! So it's not so much the problems that I'm focusing on, I'm more focusing on the experience of having problems. Once again- like it's surreal. Also- this week- I got sick! Great way to open the semester! (Along with 2 of my flatmates.) However, optimistic thought=at least it's not around finals.
So this has been this week- I will post again next week (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧


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