Hello lovelies! My name is Julia and I’m a second year student studying Psychology and Art History at the University of Mississippi in the United States. I’ve officially been in the United Kingdom for 6 weeks now and I have loved every single moment.
Of course, not every day has been perfect. The first day especially was a bit of a rough transition. I managed to get to my hall with little difficulty, but after travelling all afternoon, I was ravenous. Since the term hadn’t started, the dining halls were closed. Being unfamiliar with the city, I just took off wandering towards the direction of the train station, searching desperately for somewhere that served hot meals. Eventually, I stumbled upon The Oracle, a shopping center in town. By this point, I’d had my fill of new experiences so I decided to enjoy the comforting familiarity of Pizza Hut. When I spoke to my parents later in the week, they couldn’t believe that I chose Pizza Hut for my first meal abroad! Luckily, I was able to find a map and the rest of my week went much more smoothly.
My absolute favorite part so far has been traveling. While I haven’t been out of England yet, I’ve seen some pretty amazing places. The Saturday immediately after arriving in Reading, the lovely Erasmus & Study Abroad Office organized a day trip to Warwick Castle. We boarded the coach that morning and once we arrived at Warwick, we were set loose to run about the castle and the city. My friend and I spent the day touring the castle and admiring the grounds. The interior of the castle is decorated much like it was when it was inhabited in the 1800s. For lunch, we ate at The Coach House, a restaurant located right outside the entrance, where I had fish and chips for the first time. By the end of the day, I was exhausted from climbing so many flights of stairs, but I learned a lot about Warwick’s history.
I’ve also been into London several times now. Each time I go, I make it a point to visit at least one of the many free museums. Since I study art history, I love the multitude of art museums. So far, I have visited the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Tate Modern. There’s something so surreal and indescribable about actually seeing Van Gogh’s A Wheatfield with Cypresseshanging on the wall or getting to experience the raw emotion present in one of Rothko’s many abstract paintings. I’m not too proud to admit that I’ve gotten a bit overwhelmed and misty-eyed at all three museums. (I just love art!).
I have quite a few more trips around Europe planned, but in the meantime I’m focused on the papers due in my courses. I find my classes interesting but it’s strange not attending them three times a week like I would back home. Since classes here are based less on time spent in class and more on individual study, that means there is very little homework, if any at all. This is a huge difference to my university in the States because I usually have an exam every three weeks in each class. I’m enjoying the downtime but I’m not looking forward to the three six-page essays I have due at the end of the term! I can’t wait to share the rest of my experience in Reading with you!