November 22, 2011
Hello again! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve updated; university life and travels have been keeping me busy! It’s the middle of the term here and, because of the nature of the British university system, deadlines really hit about this time, whereas up until this point all my work was reading and independent study and I’d had no real graded assignments. They have “formative” work which is to be completed and turned in but is more for feedback purposes than anything else, and it seems really strange to me to write an essay and receive no marks whatsoever for it. I’m starting to get used to it, though, and I think the feedback will be really helpful for my final, or “summative” essays and exams. I do miss the William & Mary system a bit though, I must admit. It’s a bit scary to have 100% of my grade for a given module be based on one assignment alone, but I’m just going to have to make sure I’m well-prepared and do my best on them when the time comes!
I gave my first business presentation this week in my International Management and Globalization module. It was a group project in which we had to come up with a proposal for a joint venture or offshoring operation as though we were managers of a UK-based small or medium enterprise presenting our recommendations for global expansion to the board. My group’s project focused on extending operations of a local piping company here in southwest England into Lithuania, where they would partner with a major Lithuania oil company for a joint venture. I worked with students from Britain, China, India, and Lithuania on this project, so it was incredibly interesting to each get a chance to bring all of our different experiences and styles to the table. Our presentation went really well and I gained a lot of confidence through this experience, particularly as I had to help field questions afterwards and engage the audience throughout.
In terms of general university life, I’ve been enjoying the social scene in Exeter, which includes events with some of the societies on campus as well as informal nights out with my flatmates. The town is lovely and I now have some favorite local spots for grabbing food, drinks, or tea with friends! I also got a chance to see a production of Romeo and Juliet about a week ago through my involvement in the Literary Society, and that was an absolutely incredible experience. There’s something amazing about getting to see Shakespeare’s work performed live in England!
Of course, I’ve also been continuing to travel as much as possible. My biggest trip of the semester was about two weeks ago, when I went to Milan with a friend and her flatmate for a long weekend! I could do an entire blog post just about that trip, but in a nutshell, I saw some amazing architecture and art, visited all the city’s major sights including the castle, canal, and a huge cathedral called the Duomo, got to do a bit of shopping, and enjoyed some of the best food I’ve ever tasted in my life! I would go back in a heartbeat.
I’m also still trying to see as much of the UK as possible while I’m here! I haven’t been to London yet but a trip is in the works, so I’ll be there the first weekend in December when it’s all decorated for Christmas! I can’t wait. I also have trips to Scotland and Ireland planned. In fact, the Ireland trip is this weekend! I’m just about to leave for Dublin with one of my flatmates. (Technically, this isn’t part of the UK, but I’m excited about it nonetheless.) I was also able to visit Cardiff, in Wales, for a day at the end of October.
I can’t believe I’ve got only a month left here; the time is flying by! Academically, it’s getting a bit tougher, because the bulk of the work for the semester really is concentrated at the end, but I’m doing my best to balance everything! I want to get the best education I can from my lecturers here because they have some wonderful knowledge and experiences to share, and I also want to make the most of my time outside of class by savoring every opportunity to try something new or travel to somewhere I’ve never been before!