This Post is About Heather Being Settled into Lancaster
Last time I left you, I was just heading in to Lancaster University from orientation in London and getting myself ready for classes.
I’ve completely settled in and am totally enjoying the culture here.
The grocery store is accessible by bus, but walking back with forty pounds worth of groceries isn’t my favorite thing to do, so we shop in smaller bits each trip. I learned this when I came to GW, walking everywhere, but I’ve had to remember everything here. If you can’t carry it around the store, you’ll hate bringing it back to campus with you.
The money here is difficult at first, but you get to learn the shape of the coins pretty quickly, the more you handle them. A lot of purchases here are cash based, and my US debit card doesn’t work in many shops (because it’s not a “chip and pin” card). It’s really strange that their bills are different sizes for different values, and they usually don’t fit in American wallets. I’m a big fan of the pound coin though, and I would love to see the US use them heavier. Coins are more sturdy, and so the Treasury would spend less money each year printing new bills to replace worn out ones.
Classes are manageable, though I replaced one in the second week and I feel as though I haven’t caught up yet. I am taking four classes here, and I’m not positive how that’s going to translate back to GW.
I have an English friend here who is studying next year at University of Michigan and we had a nice conversation today comparing the modes of teaching in the US versus England. From my experience, there is a lot more “lecture at you” type of tutorials (with no interaction), and then seminar/discussion sections which are about normal to what I expect in the US with seminar leaders trying to force kids into participating.
I’m really glad that US schools don’t usually have year-long classes, so there are no assignments due right after winter break! My flatmate had physics exams my first week here, and I think that’s just mental.
I also know about a dozen other people who are Americans studying abroad here. One of the girls I met was basically bragging about her house in the states and how big it was- a full bar in her basement and a full theater movie room and a $20,000 kitchen renovation project… and my flatmate was just astounded. He kept asking me questions throughout the night, wondering if all Americans had that much money. I told him that my family is not rich, my house isn’t big, but we do have a little bit of land. Seriously, he brought it up like 5 times during the course of the night, he was so concerned. So guys, if you do happen to be wealthy don’t flaunt it. It won’t earn you any bonus points with the locals!
Well, I’m off to the bar- each college on campus has their own (and it’s government subsidized!)- some of the guys in my hall are going to play pool and darts, which we do a lot here.
Just as a quick note, don’t feel pressured to drink. You can totally just get a water (if you feel the need to be holding something) or a lime and lemonade (which is really just lime and Sprite). In case you were wondering.