Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Study Abroad is A Broad Study

Every time I return to the UK I am always reminded of Aldous Huxley's words that the UK and the US are two countries separated by a common language. Even the keyboard I am using has things in different places and different symbols such as this one; £. The flight went well yesterday, or was it the day before, apart from a two hour delay leaving Burlington. To everyone who gives me a hard time about four-hour layovers at Newark, it often pays off as I had no moments of panic about making the connection to Manchester.

One of the first things to think about studying abroad is how to get to the other country. It's usually much easier to fly to an airport other than the major airport for that country. For example, I nearly always fly Continental into Manchester because the airport is so much easier to navigate and far less crowded than Heathrow. Continental also flies into Bristol which is only 20 or so miles from Bath where the ASE Study Abroad program is. The public transportation system is absolutely brilliant so you can get anywhere quickly and easily. Some major cities such as Leeds even have free public transport.

Studying in the classroom of the College you attend overseas is only a small small part of your actual study. You will end up studying the entire culture of the host country. You'll learn about different foods, clothing, the habits of the people, the weather and geographical differences such as how light it stays in the evening. You'll also explode some of the myths associated with that country such as the US idea that 'all British food is bland' and it 'rains all the time'. Believe me it doesn't and a real Cornish Pasty is one of the tastiest things you'll ever likely to eat.

One of the most important things to remember about being in Europe is how close together everything is compared with the US. The typical British home like Pete and Jean's (above) takes up a fraction of the space of a typical US home so villages and towns tend to be smaller in terms of the space they take up. This makes it much easier to get about and see more. Bath, for example, is less than an hour from London and probably not more than three hours from Paris via the 'Chunnel'.

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