What classes did you take while abroad? British Cultural Identity, Writers of the North, Irish Cultural Identity, and Harry Potter to Highlanders.
What was your favorite class and why? British Cultural Identity. At that time, we were still at Edge Hill and were encouraged to talk with the British students about cultural differences they had noticed and ones we had noticed. It really forced us to take a look at all the societal differences without judgement, and to open our selves up to new experiences in our host country.
What type of accommodation did you have? Did you like it? A room in the halls at Edge Hill and then various hostels and hotels throughout the UK and Ireland. My room at Edge Hill was much nicer than the dorm I had at UNH, though bare since I was only there for three weeks. The hostels weren’t always the best, but definitely made me appreciate the times when we were in hotels; and some of the hotels we stayed in were quite amazing. (One such hotel was in Ireland when my roommate Mimi and I were put in a triple, so decided to push the 3 beds together to create MEGABED.)
What were the most noticeable differences between your home university and your host university while abroad? I’d say the most noticeable difference was just the openness of the student body. We had talked in class about how New Englanders are pretty much stereotyped as being cold people and being at Edge Hill didn’t disprove that at all. Even just walking around town or in Liverpool, if you came across someone who talked to you, they'd always be so excited meeting an American. That, and the kids who I met in halls weren't shy at all about making conversation. Within being at Edge Hill for two hours, we were already approached by a group of 5 or 6 kids who offered to take us out and show us around that night.
Did you travel while abroad? If yes, where did you go? Yes, we traveled as a group all around England, Scotland, and Ireland and even took a day trip to Conwy, Wales. We had the opportunity to go to so many different places, many of which I hadn't heard of but was very grateful I got the opportunity. Besides Edge Hill, our week in Scotland was the best part of the trip. We got to go to both Edinburgh and Glasgow and experience city life, but also travelled all the way up to the Orkney Isles to visit Skara Brae, which was fantastic.
What do you miss most about your host country? Nearly everything! But the people were really just the most amazing part of it. The kids in my hall were so welcoming and accepting of us that it really made me a bit spoiled. Their culture was so much more open and friendly–even in Scotland and Ireland–that coming back to Connecticut was a really big change for me. (I can't say that it's a completely American phenomenon, however, as some of the kids from the south said that southern hospitality isn't something of myth–they really are just generally nice people.)
What was your most challenging travel experience? Having to carry my enormous bag up stairs and on trains. I didn’t pack well at all. And, as there was a shortage of boys but a plethora of girls with too many suitcases, I didn't really have any help lugging it around the country.
What are five things you packed that you wish you hadn’t? A towel, too many shoes, shampoo, conditioner and body wash. I realised that it would have been so much easier if I had just bought smaller toiletries in England rather than travelling with them from home. And as I shopped probably too much, I had to send two heavy boxes home that cost me £110.
What are five things you didn’t pack that you wish you had? An umbrella–though I did end up buying one anyway; my straightener and hairdryer–as they're dual-voltage and small, they wouldn't have taken up too much room, but as it was, I had to borrow from the other girls or just do without; more variety in the clothes I brought–I didn't think too much about it being freezing one day and then hot the next, so my closet wasn't really what it should have been. Other than that, I wish I had just brought less of everything because it really was just a pain in the end trying to downsize an already oversized bag.