Friday, 7 September 2012

1st Post...From a While Ago

So I've been keeping blogs of my time here in Oxford, but I'm not the most tech savy person, so I've yet to post any of them. Bear with me as the dates of posting may not accurately reflect my time spent here in Oxford. Either way, I'll give you some background. I'm a senior psychology & music double major at High Point University spending a semester abroad at Oxford Brookes University. That being said, I've only been out of the US once, so I've been really enjoying my time here in England.

Stepping off the plane in Heathrow, it was not hard to see that England is very different from the U.S. After converting my final dollars to pounds, a most depressing endeavor, I found my way to the bus ticket counter and fumbled through my first purchase in the UK. Pounds (£) and pence are similar to the American dollar, with the addition of a 2 pence and a 20 pence coin. The bus ride from the airport to Oxford was when the reality of being in the UK sank in. Turning out of the parking lot and into the left lane nearly gave me a heart attack, until I remembered that people drive in the left lane in England. During the hour long bus ride I gazed out the window taking in the English countryside and listened to the chattering of 2 British students behind me.
Arriving on campus, I was greeted by Dr. Forseith and Dr. Schwitzer and moved into my room. It’s not quite the luxury of HPU housing, but it has a charm similar to camp. I’m living with 4 other HPU students, but my residential block houses a number of foreign students, none of which had arrived on campus. After throwing my belongings around my room we were all called upon to take a quick walking tour of Oxford.
The transportation system in Oxford is very simple: bus, bike, or walk. Students at Oxford Brookes are unable to have cars on campus, so a bus card comes in handy when you want to get around. After catching a short bus into the city centre (not center) of Oxford we arrived at the Bodleian Library. This Library, though it looks small, has a network of underground storage and holds a copy of every text that has been published in England. This is the library of all libraries and access is only granted to those who have properly applied and sworn an oath to never bring fire into the library.

After soaking in the architecture of Oxford and strolling down some streets that are older than the U.S. we stopped for lunch at The Turf. This pub is frequented by locals as well as tourists, and was where I was able to have my first pint of English beer. After a quick lunch we resumed our walking tour and were able to see the grounds of Christ Church and other well-known buildings in Oxford.

We also learned that ‘Oxford University’ is not actually a physical university. There is a network of universities that operate under the ‘Oxford’ umbrella. In order to get into Oxford University you have to be accepted into the specific university and Oxford University…not the easiest task. All of the university campuses are dispersed among the city streets in beautiful buildings with meticulously manicured lawns and pristine flora.

I’m looking forward to exploring the city more and excited for the Oxford Open Doors weekend on Saturday. This is the day when most of the universities open their doors to the public for free. I’ll be sure to keep up with everything, so check back periodically if you’d like to see what else Oxford has in store for me.

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