When most students think about studying abroad, the last thing they are actually thinking about is the “study” concept of it all. I’m definitely guilty of being one of those students. With all the excitement of going to a foreign country and exploring a completely different culture, it’s easy to forget about your academic responsibilities. That is, until midterms come around. The past week has been filled with assignments and presentations, giving me little time to explore the city. However, I did manage to squeeze a couple things in.
For my weekly history of art class trip, we went to see an art auction. I’d never been to an auction before, so I was excited to see beautiful pieces of art sold for thousands of pounds. However, the art auction we went to was strangely underwhelming. We arrived at the Bonhams Auction House, where the collection that was being sold that afternoon consisted of ancient East Asian medallions, pottery pieces and other small figurines. The auction itself was very exciting, with about a dozen or so different bidders from all over the world, all bidding either online, over the phone or in person. To me, the auction pieces didn’t seem as impressive, nor did they seem worthy of their high price tags, simply because I wasn’t very familiar with any of the pieces or their historical backgrounds. Additionally, after listening to my professor speak in class about the thousands of pounds some bidders spend on these pieces, I was disappointed that some only were sold for a couple hundred pounds. Overall, however, it was a great experience, considering I don’t know when I’ll ever have the chance to go see an art auction again.
On Friday, while half of our roommates were on a field trip, the rest of us took a trip to Cambridge. Only a couple hours away from London, Cambridge is home to one of the most famous colleges in the world. We took a walking tour through the campus, and learned all about the admission process and rigorousness of the application. Cambridge is actually comprised of several different colleges; some of the most famous ones include King’s College and Trinity College.
After our walking tour we split up and walked around the university on our own. My friends and I grabbed lunch at a pub called The Eagle. The room we were seated in had burn marks on the ceiling from dozens of soldiers who before being deployed to fight in the Second World War, met at this same pub and used cigars to burn their names onto the ceiling. It was a pretty cool reminder of history, and it humanized the historical soldiers. At the pub, they had special Cambridge beers on draft. We visited the college the day before the anniversary of the discovery of DNA, which was actually first discussed at The Eagle. In honor of this event, the pub had a DNA beer on draft, so naturally I got it.
After our meal, we walked around and visited the weekend market. Cambridge was an interesting city because the division between the school’s campus and the actual city is nearly impossible to notice. On one side of the street there are academic buildings, and on the other, you’ll find a shopping center. We also visited the chapel at King’s College, which was impressive and beautiful. Overall, our visit to Cambridge was pretty successful, and we enjoyed getting to explore a different part of England.
After spending the entire previous day studying, one of my roommates and I took a break and went to the Museum of London on Sunday. This museum is different from all the others that we’ve visited with our history of art class namely due to the fact that it's a natural history museum instead of an art museum. It was very interactive, and it took us through London’s entire history dating back to prehistoric times. The displays were also very interesting because instead of looking at a picture of a London home in the 1800s, the curators went ahead and recreated the homes so you could walk through them and experience them first hand. My favorite part of the museum visit was the gift shop. I found a stuffed corgi and it took everything in me not to go ahead and buy it! There were also plenty of cool Sherlock Holmes inspired souvenirs in honor of the museum’s new Sherlock Holmes temporary exhibit. Overall, it was a great visit, and a nice study break.
Although it wasn’t as eventful as other weeks, it was nice to slow down the pace and actually get some work done. I also got an internship offer from Bank of America for their corporate communications internship during this week, and am waiting to hear where I will be placed this summer. Things are slowly starting to fall into place, and having secured an internship takes a huge weight off my shoulders. I’m excited for this summer and this amazing opportunity, regardless of where I will be!