Study Abroad in Canterbury - Week 10

November 26, 2019 | 1:00 PM
Ali Morton '20, Psychology Major

Ten weeks ago, the MacMurray Study Abroad group arrived in a territory that was unfamiliar to us. Feelings of fear and excitement flooded my consciousness as we made our way to the flats (dorms) we would be staying at for the next three months. The first few weeks here involved adapting to my new environment. For example, I learned how to navigate different forms of public and private transportation – I’ve been able to experience trains, airplanes, buses and ferries. Walking up and down streets in the places I’ve visited, it can be stressful to figure out where I am going, but as my friend, Ravin Kibbons ’19, says, “we are not lost … we just took a detour.”

While in Canterbury, I’ve had the opportunity to try new things as well. Dr. Joe introduced me to Vietnamese coffee a couple of weeks back, and let’s just say I’ve been back a few times (you know, just to make sure they were consistent in taste!). I’m not a big fan of fish or seafood, but during my time here I’ve also had the chance tried haddock and finished almost all of it. However, it’s safe to say, I still don’t like fish or seafood. Furthermore, I’ve been able to visit and explore parts of many new cities – Canterbury, Paris, Amsterdam, and locations in Ireland and England. Traveling to these places has allowed me to gain a sense of independence I would’ve never gained back at home. There are also certain expectations in classes here that are slightly different from those in America, like in our Sites & Sights class where we have to use the Chicago-Turabian format when writing papers. At first, I thought it was going to be difficult, but it’s easy to learn once you get the hang of it. This has also helped to give me a sense of academic independence.

This past week the Sites & Sights class discussed “Kentish Celebrities” and took a field trip to the Percy Powell-Cotton Museum (Quex Park) and Margate. The museum featured all the animals that Percy “collected” while hunting in Africa. Our museum tour guide also mentioned some interesting facts, such as a leopard’s patterns are called ‘rosettes.’ They also told us that the unique stripes found on zebras are used to distribute the heat evenly on their body – the black stripes retain heat while the white stripes reflect heat away from the body. Powell-Cotton wanted to bring these animals home so the public would be able to learn about them. The museum also had an entire room dedicated to children and education, and one section allowed children to roam free with no supervision and explore the different parts of the animals. The tour guide explained that it’s for the children’s sensory development and that they can explore all of these different animals without an adult having to be there watching over their shoulder. I thought this form of learning was fascinating and helped kids gain a sort of independence when learning which would be something they can carry with them through the years ahead.

The second part of our field trip consisted of exploring Margate - the home of the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery. I was able to experience their eighth annual region-wide project that helped shine spotlights on newly graduated artists. This was implemented to help artists extend their practices and further their education following graduation. Margate was also home to one of Antony Gormley’s set of one-hundred cast iron sculptures titled “Another Time.” It’s said that the purpose behind these statues was to “explore the experience of being human.” I’m honored to have been able to meet Mr. Gormley twice now and both times were exciting and humbling.

As our time here is quickly coming to an end (three weeks left!), I cannot help but reflect on my time here and how I’ve changed as a person. This full semester Study Abroad through MacMurray has helped me grow as an individual and I’ve learned lessons that I can carry with me forever. My study abroad experience has brought me lifelong friends that have helped me make all these memories and share a lot of laughs. Time flies by fast in life, and it goes even faster when you’re having fun! We will all be home soon, but until that time comes, Cheers Mates!!

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