2012 Spring External Programs Shannon Barter United Kingdom

Putting the “Study” in Studying Abroad

Regents Park – Beautiful even in February!

Up until this point, the majority of my time in London has been spent exploring the city, meeting new friends, and enjoying nights out on the town. This week, however, was a big reminder about why I am actually here – which is to study of course! When I imagined my study abroad experience, there really was not any school involved. I pictured playing football in Reagent’s park and shopping in Oxford Circus, but sitting in a computer lab was never part of my dream! Unfortunately, with two assignments due this week, it the computer lab was an unfortunate reality. With a 2500 word paper on social and cultural capital in terms of urban regeneration, and another on my visit to the Tate Modern gallery, this week was filled with a lot less frolicking and fun than the rest of my weeks have been. This was particularly unfortunate solely because this was the first week where London has been truly warm and sunny – with today’s high reaching 60 degrees! As much as I would have preferred being outside enjoying the weather, a few days spent hard at work are a small price to pay for an opportunity to live in a foreign country! After hours and hours of looking up how to reference using the Harvard method and perfecting my papers, I finally completed both papers in time to head to my Thursday evening class. During that class I received my first grade of the semester for a short paper I submitted last week on Israeli Tourism. I looked down at my grade and saw a big “65” written across the top. My heart dropped as I saw the failing grade, and I quickly went to read the list of comments on the back page. I was even more confused when I read the comments and realized nearly all of them contained positive feedback, with very few answers as to where I went wrong. The girl sitting next to me then looked over at my grade and congratulated me, which took me even more by surprise. She laughed, and explained to me that in England any grade from a 65 and up is an A-! Apparently a 75 in England is a near perfect grade, and no one ever gets higher than that! This certainly made a lot more sense in terms of the feedback I had gotten, and definitely made me a lot happier as well! To congratulate myself on a good first assignment grade and the successful completion of two other assignments, I got myself an ice cream cone and headed to Regent’s Park to sit and admire what was left of the beautiful day. There is something so relaxing about that park, as old couples and young children alike stroll up and down its many paths enjoying the beauty that is everywhere. Even in what is still the middle of winter, the park is green as any I have seen with dazzling flowers somehow still showcasing their beauty. I love this aspect of life in London, because even though you are in the middle of the city it seems so easy to find peace and quiet in nature whenever you need it! Next on my to-do list is a nice long nap, before my weekend can officially begin!

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