Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Veronica - Spring 2009 - Oxford, England




There are always options somewhere. You just have to discover them.
For a long time I felt I couldn’t write. I wouldn’t be doing justice to the experience. Everything was too new and lovely. I didn’t know what to do or how to feel. I love it here. That’s all I can say. This is all very new to me so I don't feel like it's really happening. I’m the first in my family to go and live abroad since my Polish ancestors. I have come to a place I have always felt a strong connection to: England. I don't know how to feel now. Some advice: Prepare yourself. It’s very different and yet very beautiful. There's a lot more history here, just take it all in. Being nervous is natural, but a week before I left I got an odd sense of peace flowing over me and I knew everything was going to be great. Here’s an idea of my state of mine when I arrived, this is from my journal on the Oxford Express, “I'm here right now passing the cascading beautiful verdant mounds of England reveling in the fact that I am here, at last, the place of my dreams for 10 years.”
Meeting new people is probably the best part of my study abroad experience.
Many people are homesick right now. Why come to Oxford if you’re just going to be homesick and miserable? Why even leave the country? I love it here and would not trade my life for anything. I can't even think about coming home now. The style of teaching though is different and all about deep thinking instead of the American emphasis on facts, which is kinda difficult. I got a job as Assistant Junior Dean of the building; basically I’m on duty two or three nights a week just keeping up with health and safety of the building. It’s like an RA job at Elmhurst.
Overall, I love it here more than anything in the world, it’s almost like if I don't take enough pictures I'm freaked out I won't remember it here. 3 months isn't a very long time. But I want to stay here forever. I want to live and breathe England! But I can't. And it is depressing me.
Wednesday night wine night has become my middle of the week haven from schoolwork. At Oxford, with two papers a week, plus countless reading, you need at least one night during the week to kick back and have fun.
Sometimes when I'm outside I am this close to weeping hysterically in happiness, but I tuck it in and try to pretend to look British and bored. England is like a drug. I love feeling that HIGH that comes through you when you're walking down a street and you don't know exactly where you are going and you just want to explore greatly.
I have become used to Oxford. I don't know exactly what this is though. I love being here. Even day to day living, just walking on the street in the gross rain fills me with such joy. Going to London was an experience. To me it seemed like a dream. I could barely even realize I was there at those crazy landmarks, taking photos surrounded by other tourists. Being here is still some strange sort of reverie. I can hardly believe I am here, sometimes I wake up and think I'm dreaming other times I'm awake, but think I'm dreaming. I don't miss my life. I will miss what my life used to be though, because when I come back it will be different. My life will never be the same. Going back to work and school will be strange, going back with my family, it’s almost like they don't exist anymore or their somewhere in this parallel world that I have created for myself here at Oxford.
I can be something great. That's what Oxford has taught me. That I can adapt well in a short amount of time to any given situation. YES I CAN. God, this is lame. I'm one of those happy people that I used to hate. I've never felt this way before. It’s just something about being here its amazing
I wandered onto a Covered Market in Central Oxford by the bus station. I breathed in the air and the scent of Oxford. I thought... "This is real Oxford." Not studying, being outside with the people.I now call Oxford home. It takes leaving your home to really appreciate it. I LOVE Oxford. No qualms. I visited Edinburgh two weeks ago and it was amazing! It is a huge and beautiful city! Edinburgh was another fantastic experience that I may never do again, so it was something I was glad I did and sad I did. Who knows if I'll ever go back? Everything is going insanely fast! I don't want it to end! I'm leaving for Paris on Thursday! My dream destination. Everything is falling into place.

6 Comments:

Blogger melissa said...

Hi, I just want to say that your comments on your time abroad, are making me feel more comfortable for mine next fall. Hope England is fun, and if you have not gone already Harrods is a must see.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Veronica!
I'm preparing to study abroad in Greece and Italy this summer. I am extremely excited! After reading your entry I am even more excited to get there and explore! I am curious about the work load you have while abroad. Since the teaching styles are probably different abroad is it harder to get accustomed to learning and working? I was also wondering how you balance the work load and being able to explore the many sights while you are there. I want to do as much as possible while abroad, but I'm nervous that the work will hold me back. Do have any tips so that I can make the most of the experience while keeping up with the academic aspect?
Enjoy the rest of your stay!
Casey Gans
gansc@net.elmhurst.edu

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Brett S said...

I'm going to be studying abroad as part of a program that emphasizes cultural studies. What do you think is the most interesting part of a new culture worth studying?

2:40 PM  
Blogger Veronica said...

Sadly it has taken me forever to answer this, I have been crazy with work and travel. But to try to answer both of the questions at once I found it very difficult to do work during the day, because I'm usually in class or working so I used my days to explore and nights and weekends to do my work. Best thing to do is go walking around the city. I've learned so much about the way people interact with one another just by getting lost. I think the most important element about cultural studies is meeting and interacting with as many natives as you can. Personally I like to people watch. Just looking at they way the English, walk, talk, shop is my favorite part.

9:22 AM  
Blogger cynthia said...

Hi Veronica,My name is Cynthia and I am currently a sophomore. Just a little question about your England Adventure, How did you manage to adapt to the different academic culture. I am planning to study in Spain and I am kinda scared the academics will be even more challanging.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Veronica said...

Well, academics is important, but the best part about study abroad is to enjoy yourself. basically what I did was i spent one day getting my books, one day doing research, one day writing and one editing. so i had three free days! but its different for everyone, but i do hope you have a good trip! i found for my schedule splitting it up day by day was the best thing for me. when i work hard, i get things done and when i want to be lazy or i want to explore, then i'll do that. i also tried to have an active nightlife to blow off steam!!! hope spain is a dream!!!!
veronica.popp@gmail.com

9:38 PM  

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