Today marks a little over a week since I have been on English soil! My brain is only now beginning to settle and fully digest all the new information. I adore it here. The history, the people, and the scenic countryside are more amazing than I could have imagined.
My host institution, the University of East Anglia, is beautiful. The university was only established in 1963, so the buildings are all new and modernly designed. Placed outside of the city, nature is a large aspect of campus which is quite different than the city life of Philadelphia. Temple is beautiful in its own way, but the green space of UEA is simply breathtaking in comparison. Green matter is everywhere I look. Trees, fields, and even a lake contribute to the peaceful and open atmosphere. This morning I took a stroll along the broad (man-made lake pictured below) and just breathed in the fresh, English air.
Every single day, multiple times a day, I stumble upon surprising differences. The first recognizable difference was the language. Unlike the majority of study abroad students, I felt no need to worry about the language that would be used around me. Sharing a language eased my mind about coming here and being able to communicate effectively. I have not had any major problems with language or accents; however, there are little drops of English vernacular that have boggled my mind. I have discovered by trial and error that the word pants does not refer to uh, my pants. Your pants are your underwear! If you would want to talk about your pants you definitely need to use the word trousers. Other little, new words which have popped up include: knackered, posh, full stop, daft, smash, gutted, and cheers. Here is a little vocabulary list for anyone who is curious and more specifically for any Temple students studying abroad in the UK anytime soon!
knackered: exhausted, completely tired out
posh: upper class, classy as all get out
full stop: simply the end of the sentence, period
daft: stupid, idiotic, no sense being made
smash: instant mashed potatoes (I love this word!)
gutted: disappointed, letdown
cheers: seemingly all inclusive word that can mean thanks, no problem, or goodbye.
Another difference which I notice nearly every day is just how ancient the cities are compared to those in the United States. The closest city to campus is Norwich and it was established sometime between the 5th and 7th century. Spanning well over a thousand years, the history and architecture of this area is so rich! I undoubtedly had a ball wandering around the city. I was in complete awe of the buildings and I made sure to snap some pictures.
Pictured above is the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. It is one of two cathedrals in the city of Norwich and it is significantly the younger the one. This cathedral was only finished being built in 1910 whereas the other cathedral, the Norwich Cathedral, was completed in 1145.
Norwich Castle (below) was established during the 10th century as well. Starting in 1067, the Normans cleared the land and finally in 1121 the castle was established. While walking around the castle it was hard to believe the castle has stood there for nearly 900 years, up on that hill overlooking Norwich. It has watched Norwich grow and change for 900 years! I have to keep in mind sometimes that my home country is only officially 238 years old… more than three times younger than this castle.
Now that I am settled in, I plan on writing and exploring as much as possible. This next week should be quite interesting because I have my first full week of all my modules (a.k.a. classes). University classes in the UK will be different from those at Temple, but that’s just another reason why I decided to come here. New perspectives and unique curriculum await me!