Well, I’ve arrived at Royal Holloway!
Honestly, one of the things I was most excited about was getting to unpack my suitcase; it was completely jam-packed, and I could never find anything without exploding it all over the floor of our tiny, tiny hotel room. But I’m sure this isn’t what you want to hear about… you want to see pictures of Royal Holloway!
Here you go! This is the Founder’s Building, our original building, opened in 1886 by this fine lady.
“Vicky,” as she is affectionately referred to. (Queen Victoria)
Here’s Gowar, the residence hall I live in. It’s slightly odd looking, but I’ve decided I like it. It has a bit of a lodge look, I think. Athletes for the London Olympics lived here in 2012. I’m told it might have been the rowers.
I’d wanted to live in Founder’s because I love old places, but I wasn’t the one choosing. IFSA-Butler assured us they were picking good rooms for us, and indeed, we are the envy of the rest of campus. These rooms are NICE. I have a double bed, a big wardrobe, my own bathroom, tons of shelf space, built-in cabinets, and a huge shared kitchen. So I’m not complaining.
Here’s our kitchen.
The first week after you move in is known as “Welcome Week” or “Freshers Week” (“freshers” are freshmen). There are lots of events to go to during this time. There are a few mandatory academic events, like meetings with advisors and informative lectures. But mostly, it’s a lot of fun and social events, like lunches, shows, games (especially trivia or “quizzes”), trips to interesting places in the area, and really big parties.
The parties here really surprise me because in America, I am not even old enough to drink and many local campuses are dry campuses, meaning even adults can’t drink there. But here, there is a school bar, and the school sponsors huge, crazy parties multiple times per week (every day during Freshers Week). They charge £5-10 admission, and there is still always a really long queue (line) outside. I went to one of these parties, but I was pretty bored… I just can’t find any enjoyment in screaming over loud music and squeezing my way through packed crowds in a really dark room. Not to mention watching everyone get drunk. I feel like in America there is at least some stigma about getting hugely drunk and not being able to control yourself, but here a lot of people seem to consider it normal.
I went to quite a few events during Freshers Week and made lots of friends surprisingly quickly. On my favorite evening, I had a girl from Sweden and two Japanese girls over for dinner. We were joined by some British flatmates, a flatmate from Hong Kong, and a girl from Moldova, and we had really great, interesting conversations about our different countries and cultures. And we made great food and had a lot of fun.
A few people have asked me what my favorite Freshers Week event was. Well, I have an answer for you that shows what a sophisticated and learned individual I am.
THE PETTING ZOO!
One day, a day or two before, I was feeling lonely. I’d been told that the sheep outnumber the people in our county of Surrey, so I decided to start walking and hoped I would find a sheep. I didn’t, alas, but I didn’t find a cute little shop that served hot chocolate, so it was all ok.
However, the petting zoo did have sheep! Huge, really, really, really wooly Welsh sheep. SO MUCH WOOL. For some reason, I didn’t take a picture of the sheep. I was probably too busy petting them.
When I first got there, they were still setting up the pens. Someone was leading a pig to it’s pen by holding a box of mushrooms under his nose, ha ha. And then someone started walking towards me with this little guy.
I literally involuntarily dropped everything I was holding and ran towards him. And then I proceeded to sit in front of him and stare at him for half and hour.
You see, in America, we don’t have this kind of white goose with the orange bill. We have only Canadian Geese, which are brown and black. I always see these precious little white ones in drawings, and, I mean, just LOOK at them. LOOK!
The British people laughed at me and said they all hate geese. BUT HOW CAN YOU HATE THIS LITTLE GUY?!
Also, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale is one of my favorite books, so as well as being cute as buttons, these guys remind me of a wonderful story! I have 8 more goose pictures, but I’ll spare you. I don’t know how I limited myself because I took 34 pictures of the cat in Greenwich.
I also got to pet the pig, some bunnies, some goats, two donkeys, some ducks, and some tiny chickens. It was great.