Tag Archives: Study Abroad

Oxford Study Abroad Chapter 3

On our third day, in preparation for classes, we went to the Bodleian Library, which was a nice 7 or so walk from Magdalen and is one of the most famous libraries in the world (there was also more Harry Potter-related filming here). I didn’t really need to use the libraries for my Shakespeare class, but I did end up coming here one more time; camera use was restricted in most rooms. The one where we got our library cards, which was modeled after Parliament’s interior, was one of the places where pictures were allowed.

This little table is where the officials, who took their roles very, very seriously, signed us up and handed us our cards after we took a spoken oath. There was also a game of attempting to fit into that chair on the far left; there was a little trick to lowering the piece in front of it before it was possible to squeeze in and sit.

Afterwards,  we took a tour of another library and found where the research material for our respected classes could be found. This library was at St. Peter’s, the college that sponsored our program but that we were not housed at (apparently, Magdalen is much nicer in terms of rooms and the exterior is as well, so I think we had a good exchange).

Around  5 that day, we had our first official formal dinner. These always were on Monday nights (except for the week following the 4-day excursion; then we had it on Tuesday) and consisted of reception, a lecture, and a sit-down dinner. The lectures were kind of like symposiums: a speaker, usually a professor, would come and talk for about an hour and fifteen minutes on a particular subject. This week’s was on ‘The Macbeths at Home’, a look on Shakespearean works as portrayed in film. The same professor would be a guest lecturer at our first lecture tomorrow morning, and he showed us clips from Kurosawa’s adaptation of Macbeth, a variation of the play with mobsters instead of kings, and an interesting independent movie featuring Christopher Walken as Macduff and the Macbeths as conquerers of a restaurant.
The dinner itself lasted for over an hour and a half and had randomly-selected individuals sitting at the ‘high table’ and the others in one of maybe four long tables farther down the hall (rather Potter-esque again). We started with grace and then sat down to conversations and a five-course menu consisting of bread, an appetizer, dinner, dessert, and coffee/chocolates, which was served to us by staff, along with wines.
I unfortunately never had my camera on me at these times, and so I can’t hope to render the same effect as being present had on me. It was a wonderful experience, though, and gave the feel of olden days where folks enjoyed performances and very social dinners followed afterwards. The opening night of Harry Potter, we had a wonderfully good time with a random professor who asked to join our group conversation at the pub, also a part of Magdalen, which is right next to the dining hall. It may not be as elaborate as the woodwork inside, but it has a lovely view of the water.


Bonjour France

It has been eleven years that I have not set foot on Europe. I used to tell people that I have lived around the world since I was born. Thirteen years ago our family moved to Germany. However, it has been such a long time that I cannot really remember anything and I was so young that I did not have the capabilities to experience Europe greatly. So this summer, I decided to join this 5-week Project Management Program in France. Besides learning the fundamentals of Project Management, I would also like to re-experience Europe and know European cultures more in depth to justify my nomadic lifestyle.

After 9 hours of flight from Texas to London, and 1 hour flight from London to Paris, I finally reached my destination. I cannot really say that I’m very excited, but I know that I have a lot to anticipate. Paris CDG airport was definitely older than I thought. After I got my luggage and met some of my fellow program participants, we headed out and entered France officially. I had to exchange money first because I did not have time to do it when I was back in the states. Now I learned that really do not exchange money in the airport unless it is an emergency, because airport charges a great percentage of extra fees.

There was a French driver picking us up to Troyes. We cannot really have communication with the driver because we cannot speak French except “merci” and he cannot speak English. On the way, we noticed that private cars owned by Europeans are all small cars without a back outward extruded trunk. And the big trucks don’t have “noses”! All the trucks’ fronts are entirely flat. It was actually a long way through the countryside. Occasionally we would enter small French villages with small roads and white houses. Exhausting, we arrived our residence at Technology University of Troyes. Taking a nap was the important thing that time and I would call it a day.