Going abroad I didn’t really have set goals- I just wanted to eat well, drink well, and hone my skills. It was primarily a culture and experience trip with content coming second. In this regard, I definitely got what I wanted. What I didn’t expect was to come out with a greater appreciation for nature and even- dare I say it- hiking.
Immediately I was impressed by the variety of food in the UK- the shops were smaller, the processed food was either candy or chips, and the ready-made and produce sections dominated. Even convenience stores had high-quality cured meats and cheeses, things I was only used to having on special occasions or long hard days. Needless to say, the food was the best part of studying abroad.
The most surprising thing that I learned about myself though is that I really love the outdoors! I remember playing outside a lot as a child, especially sneaking off during recess. My friends and I loved to play Jungle Girls where we made beds of moss and picked crab apples for food. Later on, we had a war with the Forest Boys so bad that our parents and teachers made us sign a treaty that we wrote on birch bark. However, as I got older, I spent more and more time at the computer and working. Granted, Virginia vistas aren’t nearly as beautiful as Snowdonia or Edinburgh, but a shock to the system helped to kickstart my appreciation for beauty.
I always loved the little things, like wildflowers, worms, and slugs, so I was really excited to meet Cinnamon Roll the snail (precious darling) and his friends at Tantallon.
What I wasn’t expecting, but kind of hoping for, was to make friends on this trip. I definitely feel as though I have a group of friends who I can work and chill with no matter what. This is awesome considering we all have such different backgrounds, and I look forward to class bonding even after the assignments are turned in.