England

Before I left to study abroad, I applied for Iowa’s study abroad scholarships. In one of my short essays that I submitted, I said the following: “I have often found after I visit a place, I remember the people far more than the action or the scenery, and far off down the road, many years from now, I will probably remember the people I met in Lancaster more than any course I take or attraction I visit.”

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I wanted Bowland College, but I got Furness College instead. All students at Lancaster are divided into colleges. Not like “College of Liberal Arts and Sciences” or “College of Nursing”; they’re social colleges, not academic colleges. Think Hogwarts.

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I never have traveled outside of the Continental US and Mexico. Being a first-generation student from a Mexican background, every opportunity I have had to go on a trip was usually to visit my family in Mexico. Although, I have always wanted to go somewhere completely different from anything I have experienced before. I decided to, quite abruptly, apply to the London Winterim Program. I felt that a college experience would just not be complete unless one studies abroad while they have the opportunity to and I also really wanted to experience being in another continent.

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We take the 11 a.m. bus. Take the noon or 1 p.m. and you risk not getting a seat. There are no 2 or 3 buses, and I have no idea why. But by 4pm, the sun is getting ready to set and it’s too cold to wander around town. So we take the 11 a.m. bus.

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I’ve been in England just over a week, and while the world may say America and England both speak English, I have encountered several word discrepancies, and not just the commonly known “chips” = “french fries” and “crisps” = “chips.” No, there are so many more differences. For example, just like how in the US, some people say “supper” rather than “dinner” for the final meal of the day, people in England sometimes use “tea” rather than “dinner” as the final meal.

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When I started college, I had every intention of studying in France. That is, however, until my first visit to Iowa’s Study Abroad office. I found, while sitting at a small round table, surrounded by dozens of brochures for both French programs and English programs, a thick blue booklet. The words University of East Anglia were written in big white letters across the cover. Once I saw this cover, my search was over.

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As a result of spring break, or “Easter holiday” as it is called here in the UK, I was given the chance to travel for three weeks without interruption throughout the end of March and into early April. I used this opportunity to plan a trip to the continent with my fellow University of Iowa student/UEA student and best friend Juliette Sigmond.

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I spent the entirety of last weekend in Bath. The journey commenced around noon on Friday when my friend Juliette and I left the Norwich train station for London Liverpool Street. We originally intended to leave around 10:30 a.m., but complications arose and we missed our train. This incited a brief period of anxiety, but after a few minutes I was able to remind myself that the journey wasn't ruined or cancelled because of one small complication. To travel frequently means you have to be ready for anything to happen, because unfortunately not everything will run smoothly.

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Location: Norwich. Time since arrival: One week. Status: Alive and thriving. I am in England.

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Hundreds of incoming international students mingled with American students at the inaugural University of Iowa International Welcome Night on Sunday evening. Students gathered on the Pentacrest on Sunday night to play Frisbee and soccer, eat frozen yogurt and meet on the first night of orientation.

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