Study Abroad in Canterbury - Week 7

November 5, 2019 | 10:00 AM
Ezechukwu Nwagbaraji '19, Criminal Justice Major

Living in Canterbury, England, for the past month and a half has by far been the best opportunity of my life. In England, one is exposed to different cultures, beliefs, ideas and ways of thinking. There are people from all over the world here at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) that come from different backgrounds which one can learn from. My biggest appreciation goes out to the British and their education system. I love the way the British think with an open mind and logical reasoning; however, the biggest problem I face here is trying to find a balance between my social life and school. It’s very easy to get distracted in Canterbury and if I don’t discipline myself I can easily fall behind. Our group of MacMurray students has adjusted well with the cultural differences, and we’re slowly starting to appreciate the unique aspect of studying in England.

There has definitely been growth within our group of MacMurray students in the course of our time here in Canterbury. There was a significant amount I had to adapt to in a short a timespan when I first got here, and, for a while, it felt like it was all coming down on me at once. Now I believe I’m well-adjusted and I appreciate life in Canterbury. Most people never leave their comfort zone and therefore never engage in new opportunities, so I’ve found this to be a great occasion to challenge myself since challenges open the doors to those new opportunities. For our group, to study in England for three months is a great opportunity most people will never experience, and we’ve been faced with so many challenges these last six weeks that have helped us grow in numerous ways we might not have otherwise. This study abroad semester is truly a blessing. I can’t believe we are right at the halfway mark, but I know all of us will make the best of the time we have left.

This week in our Sites and Sights class, we discussed Stonehenge and the mystery that surrounds it. Nobody truly knows how Stonehenge was constructed or even who formed it around 5000 years ago. While studies continue of this Neolithic monument and its peoples, some theorists suggest the Romans built it, some suggest gods created it as idles to worship and some conspiracy theorists even think aliens may have! No one has yet been able to crack its code. Experiencing Stonehenge is truly unique. Every year there are millions of people that walk to the Heritage site to see the mystery firsthand.

We also discussed and visited the city of Bath and its unique wonders. The Romans created the baths around natural spring waters in the area. Much like we’ve learned about Saint Thomas Becket and pilgrims coming to the Canterbury Cathedral for healing, people believed that the spring waters at the Roman baths had healing powers. The Roman baths were places for social gatherings for aristocrats as well. After the city and area fell into ruins, during the time of the Georgian era (1740-1830), the aristocrats of the Georgian period reclaimed the city and its rich history. This led to a new development in Bath. Many aristocrats across England and continental Europe during the Georgian period flocked to Bath to receive some of its healing agents, and to take part in the city’s art and culture. Many artists and writers who came out of Bath went on to have very successful careers such as Thomas Lawrence, Thomas Barker and Jane Austen. The city of Bath is now seen as a major tourist attraction and it is the second most talked-about city after London.

Stonehenge and Bath were great places to visit and probably two of my favorite places so far. I believe history is part of life and it’s important because no matter where you are in the timeline of history, it has an effect on you. It’s great to read and learn about history, but experiencing it firsthand is even better. Studying abroad has been a great opportunity and I highly recommend students take advantage of it in the future.

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