Cambridge is remarkably beautiful… The air even smells beautifully clean! The colleges that I have seen so far are quite pretty as well… The garden at my college is gorgeous, and I even found the staircase that you see in the header above. Not as green as I expected, but some people have said that is because of the summer warmth. Hard to believe that seeing how on and off raining it has been. Pretty sure all of the greenery around here has been subjected to plenty of water to stay green! Haha, I’m not really sure how it works over here.
Before coming here, it was fairly easy to figure out where I needed to go for the market and elsewhere in town. Little did I realize that it wouldn’t take me very long to get from my college to the center of town! I mean no disrespect when I say this… but Cambridge is tiny! A small college town in every sense of the word. There is, however, a lovely little shopping street that has cute stores. Nothing by London’s standards, but there nonetheless.
I’ve yet to try many of the restaurants. I’ve tried the Anchor (a pub) and a pasty shop—both were quite tasty! I wanted to try the college Buttery for dinner last night, and let me say—It’s not worth it! Sure the food tasted ok, but for that price, I could have gotten a Chicken Sandwich with a salad and a Pimms from the Anchor which would have filled me up considerably more and been more pleasing to eat.
Ok, now onto my classes… My first class of the day is “Lives of English Romantics: Wordsworth, Blake, Keats, etc.” The professor is quite interesting! He has memorized a lot of poems, and demonstrates this every class period by spouting off poems that are not in our books and by other writers. It’s really remarkable. Sweet guy too, really nice. After my first class, we all go to Lady Mitchell Hall for our Plenary lectures done by a different person each day! Nothing too exciting yet, but there are several that I’m looking forward to.
My last two classes of the day are actually taught by the same professor… And it is a very good thing that he keeps it interesting! The classes are “Off with their heads! Children in Literature from the Tempest to Alice in Wonderland” and “Passion in English Literature and Film: Austen to the Brief Encounter.” It’s hard not to enjoy these two immensely! Lots of reading but it’s very worth it. Of my classes, I’m only taking two for credit: English Romantics and Children in Literature. What I’ll have to do is write an essay for each of those classes on one of the questions that the professor has put in place related to our subjects. Haven’t decided on which ones I want to do yet, but I’ve narrowed it down some. Hopefully, I’ll have made a decision by Monday.
Despite all this, I must say one thing: It is unbelievably difficult to not compare my Cambridge college experience to my other outer college experience: Berklee College of Music. In Berklee, I had a roommate (well, for at least half of the program). Here, I have my own room which I love! Although it can get a little lonely sometimes. At Berklee, there were over 600 students from around the world. It was easy to get to know people and make friends because of the numerous and various classes, along with being obligated to have the meal plan where you could make new acquaintances over a meal. Plus, all the students were fairly close together all the time. Here at Cambridge, there are only about 1,000 in the summer programs of which I have only seen a small number in my classes because there are only about 250 participants in Term 1. The students are much more widespread and in different colleges though. For cheapness sake (also so I wouldn’t have to eat things I know I wouldn’t like), I opted out of the meal plan so I don’t get that group of people to really meet with every day this time around. Cambridge is a small college town with not that much to do honestly, and Berklee was in the bustle of Boston where you can always find someone or something to keep you entertained while you weren’t studying. And of course, the subject matter of Cambridge and Berklee varies a lot! Music and now Literature. That and the intensity of the Cambridge program is monumentally greater. So far, I’m really liking the Cambridge program even though I’m much better suited to a big city environment (I don’t think I can express how excited I am to return to London this Saturday!)
Since I don’t have the meal plan, there is a mini-fridge in my room as well as a tea making station. Makes it easy to make my oatmeal is well! I’ve been to the super market in town a couple times already to pick up some easily made food that I can store in my room. I heard that they didn’t have peanut butter here, so I brought my own from home! At the market yesterday, however, we found a couple jars of peanut butter. But I am happy that I have my favorite kind of peanut butter at least.
But I must say the saddest part of the Cambridge program is that I’m not really allowed into a music practice room. However, I did find out that two of my classes take place in the practice room… *laughs maliciously* I figure I can just stay after my last class of the day to sing. I think the piano is locked, but I’ll take a look today and hope that isn’t true! In the dorms, the walls aren’t very thick and I’m sure I’m already driving my neighbors crazy by singing during the day (that is if they are even in there!). I need someplace I can really sing, man! It’s such a crucial part of my life that I can’t exactly give up just because I’m out of the country on an educational adventure!
There are a couple things in Cambridge that I plan to do over the next few weeks:
- Punt across the River Cam.
- See and study in every library I can get into (Unfortunately, the main library requires a lengthy process in which I’d have to get permission from my teacher for having a distinct reason for going in, then I’d have to talk to the program director… so I may have to look at it from the outside only)
- See Harry Potter at the nearby Cinema (which seems like its on the other side of town but realistically it’s only a fifteen minute walk away maximum!)
I almost forgot! On most of the weekends, there are excursions arranged by the program that students can go on. I’m going to see a couple Shakespeare plays at Stratford Upon Avon and in London, Oxford, and to see several castles as well! Those should be quite fun… you know, get out of the city and see more of England. And go back to London! Haha…
It’s really weird… Even though I’m around people from all over the globe, my thoughts are starting to turn British on me! They have an accent and so when I speak normally it’s quite a jolt hearing my American accent in comparison to my British thoughts.
Pictures of my dorm and of my travels in the Cambridge town will be in the Cambridge Pictures link on the right (if they are not there yet, don’t panic… it takes a while for them to upload anywhere. Just come back in a few hours and it should be there!)
That’s it for now! Ta-ta!