Hello from across the pond! I can’t believe I’ve already been here for almost a week– it simultaneously feels like a month and just a single day. This past week has been spent settling into my room here, exploring Oxford, and learning the ropes of living in a new culture. From vocabulary and customs to navigating city streets, there’s so much to learn!
I’m not going to lie: the transition was rough at first. Everything is just different enough from the United States to make it frustrating and nerve-racking when you get off the bus in the middle of a foreign city. I live in a fairly rural town back home, which means that simply living in a city was an adjustment. And don’t even get me started on the time change– it still boggles my mind! It’s strange to wake up at seven o’clock here and realize that it’s only two in the morning back home. All of a sudden around 2 p.m. my phone starts buzzing because people are finally awake in the States. I can’t imagine what a time difference of more than five hours would feel like!
The food is also different here, which makes eating out with my nut allergy quite interesting. It’s essentially the same process as eating out back home, with the disadvantage that I’m not familiar with food brands and restaurants here. I’ve noticed that most restaurants have a broad statement on the bottom of the menus saying that they cannot guarantee that their food is not cross-contaminated with nuts; however, when I’ve spoken to servers they have assured me that I would be fine eating there. I’m not sure if they make that statement simply to cover them legally or if there is actually truth to it, but I haven’t had any problems so far! (Knock on wood!) Fortunately, my college here at Oxford has been extremely accommodating as far as dining is concerned
I was lucky enough to have my dad with me for the week to help me settle in, so we were able to do some major sightseeing around Oxford. This city is absolutely stunning. The architecture is incredible and the history behind every nook and cranny here is endlessly fascinating. The more I learn about the significance of my surroundings the more grateful I feel to have the opportunity to be here in the first place. To think that Oxford could become like a second home to me after living here for a year is surreal!
I love, love, love the academic vibe this city exudes. From the expansive Bodleian Library and Radcliffe Camera to the sprawling Blackwell’s Bookshop, everything here is a bookworm’s dream! I can’t wait to spend the next year exploring these bookish sights. I’m looking forward to exploring now that I know the area pretty well and can get around without a map.
What would this update be without mentioning the beautiful Mansfield College? It still hasn’t quite hit me that I’ll be studying here for the next year. The campus is gorgeous, the dining hall is like something straight out of the Harry Potter films, and the library is literally the library of my dreams. It’s only about a fifteen minute walk from my dorm, which is enough to make me feel like I’m getting out and doing something but not so much that it’s frustrating to walk back and forth all the time. I can’t wait for my tutorials to actually start!
I hope you’re all having a lovely day and that you’ve enjoyed this little study abroad update. I’m planning on doing one of these each week, so stay tuned for more! If you’d likely more timely updates on what I’m doing, check out my bookstagram @nutfreenerd.
Let me know in the comments section below what aspects of my study abroad adventures you’d be most interested in hearing about!