Lancaster University Study Abroad Program as well as the University Travel Association sponsor many day trips on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the term for students. Sunday we went to the historic city of Chester. When we got off the bus in Chester, is was very cold, so we bought some ear muffs and went inside a cafe for some tea (when in England, one might as well drink the tea). Next, we walked around the town in search of “the wall”. The City Walls are 2,000 years old, dating all the way back to the Roman occupation. People can walk these walls which encompass the city. Before finding these wall, we stumbled upon some pretty cool things. First, we walked underneath the Eastgate clock. This is a beautiful clock built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1987. Next, we found the Grosvenor Park which had rows of trees lining the sidewalks and lush green grass. Finally, we made it to the River Dee. We walked along the river and saw many crew teams out practicing.
After walking along the river, we made it to one of the entrances to the wall. There are different “gates” at which to pick up the wall walk. We entered at Ship Gate and began our walking tour. We passed an old Roman Ampitheatre, a castle, and the oldest racecourse in the country. We also passed some netball courts, a game similar to basketball but the net is like a basket so the ball cannot fall through and the movement of players is restricted to certain parts of the court.
After walking a good portion of the walls, it was time for lunch. We went to the Old Queens Head for a traditional English meal. Fish and chips with buttered bread and a pot of tea. Also, I ordered my first jacket potato with bacon and cheese. I’m sure it was a heart attack on a plate, but it was delicious.
We worked this meal off with a bit off shopping. My purchase was a bag with the British flag on it. ( I have since learned the British flag is called the Union Jack). I absolutely love the bag. There were many other items I had my eye on, but I did not want to spend money quite yet. Fashion is much different in England and I think I need to get used to it and decide what I really like before I go spending money on all the styles. The trip to Chester was so much fun, and I cannot wait until there is another sponsored day trip I can make.
Hello everyone. So I am nearly all settled in here at Lancaster. After buying a UK phone, other necessities for the room, and finalizing my class schedule, I made a trip to the grocery store today. That was overwhelming, but I made it through. Let’s hope I also make it through my first attempt at cooking; my dinner is in the oven now so I am not yet sure if I succeeded. I thought I would make it easy on my first night. I warmed up premade soup in the microwave, am cooking chicken with garlic and rosemary seasoning in the oven to go with it, and made a salad with blueberries, feta cheese, almonds, and balsamic dressing. As long as the chicken isn’t completely overcooked, I’m pretty proud of myself for this first dish.
Today I had another instance of needing to adjust. I went to the gym for the first time today and got on the treadmill. The treadmill was looking through a window over the rugby fields, which was quite picturesque. However, when I started the machine, it wanted to know how many kilograms I weighed and how many kilometers I wanted to run. I definitely did not know how kilograms converted to pounds, and of course I thought too hard about the kilometers and before I realized I have done so many 5k runs in my life deciding a distance shouldn’t be too hard, I was already half way through my workout. Oh well. Later, when I looked up conversions I found that I had told the treadmill I weighed over 200 pounds. Oh well. I will get used to the new measurements eventually.
Upon arrival in Manchester airport, I went through passport control where the woman gave me a huge interogation, as if I’m really threatening looking as a person. After that, it was an easy walk to the bus and about an hour trip to Lancaster. The landscape was beautiful, even though the countryside was covered with sheep. After getting moved in, it was time to try and sleep off some jet lag.
Today was the first day of events. All international student activities such as a tour of the campus, issuing of library cards and student union cards, registering for internet, and lots of lectures about the school and how to get involved on campus. There were also some social events for the international students to meet each other. There are certainly a lot of differences to get used to. Something I overlooked before arriving was using pounds. The paper bills are easy, but there are so many different coins for pounds and pence that I really label mayself as a foreigner when I am trying to firgure out which coins to pay with- everyone has been really nice about it so far though. Although, they may be thinking “stupid American” and just be acting nice. Also, it rains all day and gets dark around 4pm here. That will definitely be something to get used to.
The best thing that has happened so far was walking into a bar and an English Premiere League game being played on a huge screen the size of the wall- Liverpool vs. Manchester City. I don’t think there are many places in America where this would happen. All the British guys in the place were impressed I knew things about soccer and the League as well. Tomorrow, we go on a tour of the city of Lancaster so I’m sure there will be many great things to see and learn there.
In three days I am crossing the pond to spend my spring semester of Junior year at the University of Lancaster in England. I am a math major and soccer player at the College of Wooster, and can’t wait to share all my stories of life abroad with you!
As my time to departure is dwindling, all my preparations are coming together. I have all my paperwork organized to go through customs and immigration at the Manchester airport; My bedding is waiting for me at my dorm already; I ordered my International Student I.D. card and my Student Union card; I emailed the soccer (futbol) team at Lancaster about playing with them; I have decided which gym package I will buy; I have studied the layout of campus- where I will go to eat; and finally, we searched through my mom’s drawer of foreign money and tracked down 50 pence.
Today I went to Target for supplies. Frizz-ease hair spray was a must since I won’t be taking my hair straightener along with me (the electricity in England is different and the adapter would blow mine out). I haven’t yet decided if I want to use my spending money on a straightener when I arrive, or just live with the bad hair days. I also bought some travel sized shampoo and conditioner- I am waiting until I am in Lancaster to buy full sized soaps, shampoo, and conditioner so as not to take up space in my luggage. Speaking of luggage, packing is all I have left to do, and what a task it will be. I am only allowed to bring two suitcases, so I must be careful about what I bring. I will leave that last preparation for Sunday.
Finally, I already learned one difference in language. Thanks to Geordie, I now know that a “jacket potato” is just a baked potato. The jacket is the potato skin!
My next post will be coming to you from Lancaster, England!