Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Deijah in England

Hello everyone! I’m Deijah and I’m having a fantastic time studying in England at Keele University!
Arriving in England was no problem at all even though the flight was quite long. Students from the university came to greet a group of us and we took the coach to Keele. I quickly learned how out of shape I was when it came time to bring my suitcases up to my room; top floor, four flights of stairs, and down the hall I was a bit out of breath to say the least! Luckily there were people to assist us with our bags which was very kind and helpful in the end. And although the trips up the stairs are not the greatest, the view makes it all worth it; I get free football games outside my window every weekend since I’m overlooking the great big field lined with gorgeous trees.

A sunset view right outside my window. Wouldn't have it any other way
Going to classes soon after proved interesting as well; all my classes are luckily in the same building, but the building has multiple sections and I had to quickly learn that there is a difference between the ground floor and the first floor…However, there were always people around to help direct you to the general area you needed to be in which was a relief.
Classes themselves are structured much differently than at UNCG; my classes are held once or twice a week for 1-2 hours, but primarily I do a lot of work and studying on my own. There are days when I have so much time outside of class but its set-up that way so students have ample time to get in study and work hours; it took some getting used to since back at UNCG I would be in classes for most of the day, and time management has been something I really had to learn while I’m here.
A little bit about Keele itself: technically Keele University is in Staffordshire but it’s named after a village (Keele Village) which is neat. The campus itself is like its own small village with close-knit communities of students from all over the world, its own little stores, chapel, library and more! Not to mention size-wise, Keele is quite large, with great fields of green stretching across the landscape on part of the campus which allows for breathtaking views of the surrounding forest as well.

The rolling hills behind Keele Hall! Just look at all that green

The Potteries district that Keele is in contains other forest and woods like areas, with a variety of places to go hiking, walking, jogging, or just to see a nice view. At the same time, there are a good number of shops and stores that are just a short bus ride away to Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, and Hanley! The architecture in many of the areas provides a view of both old and new styles as well, so even when you just want to go out and window shop, you can simultaneously get a glimpse of the artwork that is the buildings themselves.

Traveling a bit of a ways away from Keele isn’t hard either, and I’ve had some amazing trips with friends that were only a few hours away by train (can I just say we should consider trains for the states, they’re so quick and easy to use not to mention it’s way less expensive than flying!) One of the trips I went on was to Nottingham, about an hour and a half by train. The name might sound familiar, for it was in Nottingham where the Robin Hood legend stems as well as where Nottingham Castle stands tall and beautiful to this day! Exploring the castle was an experience (and a lot of walking) with the interior revamped into a museum showcasing relics of the castle, exhibits about Robin Hood, Leonardo Da Vinci art exhibitions, and interactive artworks.
Posing at the Robin Hood statue with friends!
Overlooking Nottingham while atop Nottingham Castle! So much nature even in the city itself!

Subjectively, the best part of the castle wasn’t on the outside though, it was what exists underneath that proved most exciting! A network of tunnels travelers and traders used hundreds of years ago, but also the same network that allowed for the invasion of the castle on part of untrustworthy servants. Walking in the same footsteps of so many important people of the past is something I’ll never forget, even though there was the occasional trip or slip from the uneven sandstone surface, resulting in a few embarrassing moments! I would love to come back to the city but primarily the castle, because in a few years they plan to close the underneath for a while to open a part of the tunnels that has yet to be explored! No one knows what could exist behind the sealed stone walls….
What is beyond the closed off section underneath the castle?
The castle is so big, you can't get it all in one photo!

And if you’re an English major like me or a Shakespeare buff, a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon is a must! In the center of town is Shakespeare’s house, where you can take a tour of the different sections of the houses and a museum exhibition about Shakespeare, his works, and the history of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Shakespeare’s house is quite beautiful and impeccably maintained, allowing you to see what it would have looked to live well-off in the town hundreds of years past. The actors in the house were there to provide not only information regarding Shakespeare’s life and historical significance, but also to perform any part of Shakespeare’s works that they knew; one actor performed a scene from Romeo and Juliet quite flawlessly without any set-up for the scene at all!

 Overlooking Shakespeare’s house in the ground’s gardens.

The area is beautiful even when the weather is a bit dreary; the town has parks a little way away from the center with the cutest geese, seagulls and pigeons along with beautiful swans who very much love when people feed them.
 The river that cuts through the town is lined with boats that double as restaurants, the Royal Shakespeare Company offers several plays to see and exhibits of costumes and props, and not too far down the way is the town’s very own butterfly museum which is enjoyable for all ages, and breath-taking if you love butterflies and insects of all shapes and sizes.

 Gorgeous moths bigger than my hand!

I don’t want to get too long-winded but there are so many things I want to share about this amazing time I’ve had studying abroad so far! To be honest I was terrified of studying abroad at first since I had never been out of the country, let alone outside the country all on my own! But now, looking at all the experiences I’ve had so far and thinking about all the people I’ve met, I’m so glad I have the opportunity to be here (and I actually wish I could stay a bit longer). It’s okay to be frightened at first but you should never let your fears stop you from travelling; the world is huge and being able to catch a glimpse of places outside of your home while at university is even different than if you just traveled when you have free time. You meet people with so many different perspectives and stories to share, all invaluable and unforgettable to the experience.
Studying abroad in England was a fantastic decision, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hopefully you will study abroad too, and write about all sorts of adventures!

Be the Shakespeare of this Century!

Deijah Scales

Keele University