Author: Emily Gustin
Location: Cambridge, England
Since my last post, I have been busy with schoolwork as well as traveling to new places near and far away. Other than my three classes at Westfield House (next to the Valpo dorm), I have two classes at a university called Anglia Ruskin. Currently, I am preparing to write essays for the end of term, one for each class– history of digital media and youth culture and media. The essays are worth 100% of my grade, which seems a little intimidating. At British universities, you are expected to prepare yourself for the lectures and seminars by doing the assigned readings and participating in class. However, your final grade is typically determined by a paper or presentation at the end of term. It took me a little while to get used to this system, but I think I like it– I enjoy the fact that there is more reading than homework that you have to turn in.
Five of us in the Valpo dorm don’t have class on Tuesdays, and we decided that we should make the most of that time. Throughout the month of February, we took two trips during the beginning of the week: one to Cork, Ireland, and the other to Prague, Czech Republic. We left on Monday nights and returned on Wednesday mornings for both trips. I have to admit, at times it felt like we could be on The Amazing Race— we were always rushing to catch a plane or a train or to get to class on Wednesday morning (we all made it). But it was definitely worth it for the amazing experiences I had!
In Cork, we explored the city and took a bus to a coastal town called Cobh (pronounced “cove”). Cobh had colorful buildings, fun cafes, and a gorgeous cathedral on the water. We didn’t have very much of an itinerary– we just enjoyed walking around and appreciating the view. We experienced snow, rain, and sunshine in the short time that we were in Ireland, and we all joked that we were all in Valparaiso (or “Val-pour-rain-snow”). Back in Cork, we went to some shops and an art museum, as well as a donut shop. Overall, I really loved our time in Cork and Cobh, and I would really like to visit Ireland again.
Prague was another adventure, completely different than Ireland. The city was more fast-paced, filled with people, shops, and restaurants. I completely fell in love with the city and its architecture. Because Prague was never bombed from the war, many of the original buildings still remain, and they are stunning. We saw the Astronomical Clock, crossed the famous Charles Bridge and climbed up a hill (Petrinske Sady) to get an amazing view from above. We also went to Prague Castle and saw the beautiful St. Vitus Cathedral. For dinner, I ate beef goulash, which is a common dish in Czech Republic and other central European countries. All of us also tried trdelnik, a dessert that we had seen advertised all over the city in almost every cafe. It’s ice cream in a cone, but the cone is a churro-like substance. I had strawberries and chocolate on mine, and it was delicious!
I can’t believe that I am halfway through the semester– It feels as though I arrived in Cambridge yesterday. I have been so blessed to have this opportunity and can’t wait to see what comes next!