Lectures, Cooking, Etc

So much to talk about! I have been negligent the past 2 weeks and not posted anything, but don’t worry, I will update you now. Try to keep up as I rattle stuff off!

  • Solicitors- I don’t like them. I’m a nice and friendly person who will stop to talk to you if you engage in conversation with me. But I do not sign up to donate on the street! I’m sorry, but if Im going to donate money I’m going to be thinking it out beforehand and figure out who exactly I’m going to donate to. (On the other hand, a scottish man approached me on the street and was clearly looking for donations for… some heart organization, red cross type?… he did not ask me for money but we did have a brief little chat. That was nice!)
  • Injuries- I seem to keep banging myself up. I’ve got my bunion recovering, I scraped up the bottom of my foot, I scraped up the top of the other foot, and then I had a muscle that was sore for a few days (leaving me limping during that time) because of walking on slanted sidewalks. Plus I was still getting over my cold — but I’m better now, thank goodness!
  • British Museum – I went with George! I saw mummies, and I saw the Asia to Ascot exhibit about horses coming to England. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a Queen’s Jubilee exhibit. Normally a temporary exhibit might cost something but it was FREE and I got to see it on the LAST DAY it was there! It was pretty cool ๐Ÿ™‚
  • London Eye – I went with Joy, Zhuo, and one of his friends. It was really cool and I posted pictures on Facebook. I will try to post them here soon too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Definitely worth seeing at least once.
  • Classes/first week of lectures- Well, trying to get all my classes organized was a hassle. Everything is a disorganized mess here. Finally I just gave up and decided to take ALL psychology classes. I’m kind of worried I’m going to get burn out. Oh well, at least I’ll have more psychology knowledge.ย My classes are:
  1. Health and Clinical Psychology: Not bad so far, but a HUGE class with around 50-70 people. I don’t feel lost, but I don’t feel quite with it. I meet in 2 different places, twice a week, with different lecturers. Whew!
  2. Computing for Psychologists: About 40 people. More programming than psychology and I don’t mind it. Programming with MATLAB is similar to programming with PHP and so I feel more familiar with what I’m doing. The lecturer is not too bad.. he’s kinda funny, but he talks to much and is rather hard of hearing.
  3. Human-Computer Interaction: I still don’t know what to make of this class. There are around 15 of us. Yeah I’m not really sure what’s going on.
  4. Human Learning and Memory: The lecturer seems pretty decent, and he has said we don’t actually have to take notes, because it is all online… Whatever that means! Makes me too nervous to not take notes. Another big class, around 50 people.
  • Reading: It wasn’t until my weekly seminar began this week that I figured out what exactly all my homework is! Basically, you read parts of the textbook (whichever parts interest you), and then you do the readings for 5-7 of the 10 weeks of class. Like… what is this madness? Also, we don’t have tests, we just have essays (as an affiliate). So on November 30, I will have 3 2000-word essays due by 5pm. On the 14th of December, I will have 4 2000-word essays due. Or something similar to that. It’s madness.
  • Cooking: My biggest challenge besides the reading is just cooking. Trying to not spend too much on food, teach myself to cook, figure out what I’m going to eat. I’m still learning to cook the basics, honestly, but I’m managing alright.
  • Phantom of the Opera: That’s right, I’m going to see Phantom of the Opera tomorrow with George! HOORAY!
  • Psych social: Went to an affiliate psychology social on Friday and got free pizza, tried British cider (meh..), and watched Casino Royale! It was a good night ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re also trying to plan a trip to go see the making of Harry Potter. (We being some of the other affiliate students.)
  • Riding Club Gymkhana: Is tomorrow and I’m excited! It will be my first look at the riding centre, and we’re all carpooling there, or something of that nature.

That’s about all I have for now. Will try to get to posting pics in a bit!

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Day 3 and 4

Day 3 (Wednesday)
Orientation sessions on UCL campus

Day 4 (Thursday)
Be sick and sleep in
Enrol
Meet with home department
Have coffee with George

Everything is lovely, except that I have gotten sick. I think it is from my roommate, who seems to have picked up a bug before leaving home. I have now got that in my bloodstream, and have shared it with poor George. Mostly just a sore throat, sinuses draining. I slept in this morning, took some meds. Seemed to have an allergic reaction to something (my eyelid got swollen) so I took some meds for that. Sleeping in and taking meds worked wonders and I made it through the day alright, only needing tissues. Wednesday was mostly orientation with UCL, and Thursday was enrolment. (Or enrollment, as the Americans spell it.) The weather is still cooperating. No rain! I’m totally confused about how to dress for it though. I start off cold, but then I get too hot because I’m walking everywhere, plus the underground is hot (always!). And then I take off my jacket, and my sweat dries so I’m cold again. So, still trying to figure that out. Need to get another pair of jeans, because I have effectively only one pair at the moment. My other pair has holes in them. -_-

Also, it is COMPLETELY unfair that it seems every single Londoner is well dressed. I can’t compete! I need some leggings/jeggings because that seems to be how everyone manages to get pants that look good on them. I WILL SUCCEED!

Wed/Thurs commentary:

  • Lots of international students! I forget that “international” also includes students who are foreign and studying at UCL for 3 years. Haha, freshman! I feel old…
  • Drugstores to go to: Boots or Superdrug
  • For groceries: Tesco or Sainsbury’s
  • The UCLU Welcome Fair is the 27th and 28th, and is an opportunity to see all the organizations offered by UCLU (the student union)
  • In the UK, “marquee” means “tent”.
  • Over the weekend, the tube line that goes through my nearest station is going to be closed. Fiddlesticks!
  • Lectures contain 20-200 people, seminars are 5-25 people, practicals are labs, etc., tutorials are 1-1
  • Classes start 5 minutes after the hour and end 5 minutes before the hour
  • Yo! Sushi is fun but it can get expensive if you are a hungry bugger like me
  • The Brunswick is similar to Clay Terrace in Indianapolis in that it is an outdoor mall of sorts. Except, it has London class ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Had Caffรฉ Nero for brunch, Boots meal for a small lunch. Had Subway for dinner and a coffee Americano with Bailey’s tonight (was pretty good!)
  • Enrolment was relatively pain free
  • Got my room number but I’m not checking in until Saturday when I move in, or else I get charged for those 2 days

Today I had my enrolment, and that was pretty painless. Went to my department meeting which was at 3pm (and it was a meeting, not a drop by as many of us were led to believe). The UK system is different, in 3 notable ways:

1. UK students are taking one or two subjects in University, and have pretty much decided what they’re going to be as young as 14.
2. Teachers teach you material in hopes it will prepare you for your exams at the end of the year. The teachers don’t make the exams, and they don’t necessarily know what will be on it. They just teach you information to help prepare you.
3. You are not registered for classes when you start – you just go. You have to be registered a couple weeks later, but when you start your classes, you may not be actuallyย officially in them. For American students, I think we find this rather stressful – at least I do!

Anywho. That is still all getting sorted. It seems I will be able to take “Health and Clinical Psychology”, but the other psychology class I was interested in is no longer being offered. Instead, I think I am going to take “Human/Computer Interaction”, which should be interesting considering I’m into computers a lot as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ The psychology affiliate tutor (a person who is not quite a tutor, but more an advisor; also “affiliate” means junior year abroad) said for other departments it would be best to email rather than drop by. This doesn’t make sense to me, so I tried to drop by. Well it was nearly impossible finding the entrance to the Scandinavian Studies building, and I made a fool of myself wandering around asking people how to get in there. Once I was there, no one was in! Foiled! Also, it seems many of these buildings you have to press a button and call up for entrance – like you would an apartment building. For someone shy like me, and unused to such things, it was quite embarrassing and I was very self-conscious. Either way, the Scandinavian Studies area is rather secluded and hard to find. Next time I go back it will be quite an adventure.. again. Went on to find the other department I was looking for, the School of European Languages, Culture, and Society. I again encountered the door problem, and asked a local student to help me. She did, I went in, and found I was looking for the same person from the Scandinavian Studies Department, and of course she wasn’t in. Foiled again! I have resorted to sending out a couple emails, neither to that person, because she wasn’t listed as the contact for the departments in my study abroad booklet. Ah well, we shall see what happens.

I suppose this is a long enough update for these two days. My apologies that I don’t have any pictures to upload! I’ll try to go and take some pics tomorrow. Of.. something.. I dunno. I could take a picture of a pidgeon and you’d all love it because it is aย London pidgeon! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Toodles!

Day 1 and 2

Day 1
Arrive at airport
Orientation part one
Way too small dinner
Sleep

Day 2
Orientation most of the day
Dinner/pub/walk with George

Well everything has been great so far, and the jet lag hasn’t been too bad. Luckily my crazy sleep schedule has sort of helped me to adjust. The weather has been lovely so far – no rain! It’s a little chillier than Indianapolis, but I guess that must be expected. ๐Ÿ˜‰ First day involved a little orientation, travel, and food. I went to bed around 9pm here I think. (4pm for all you EST folks) Today was lots of orientation, and some traveling. We did a scavenger at the end of orientation which took me over a lot of central London. After that was done, I met up with my friend George, who lives south of London close to Hastings on the coast. (For those of you like my parents who watch “Foyle’s War”, you know where that is!)

And now, some commentary for Monday and Tuesday:

  • My Arcadia orientation has been adjusted so it doesn’t overlap with UCL orientation tomorrow. UCL is Wed-Frid. Hooray!
  • Buses have seatbelts! It is required to wear them, and so the buses provide them!
  • Left the airport around 1pm rather than earlier, so I got to sit at Heathrow for a long time.
  • There were horses and people RIGHT by the airport! Like, as we were landing, flying just overhead. It was sort of.. surreal.
  • You can take the Eurostar to France from King’s Cross!
  • My arms are sore from dragging my luggage yesterday. ๐Ÿ˜›
  • My cheap UK phone cost me ยฃ8 plus a ยฃ10 top up (add money to spend on calls/texts). It is so simple, that it is complicated! Also, I’m learning T9.
  • Cyberdog is funny, odd, and totally cool.

I’m sure there are more things I want to update, but I forget them and I’m getting ready to sleep. So I’ll just have to try to remember some other time and update later! Later!

Flying to England!

Well, for those who looked at my post about Schengen countries.. I don’t really have to worry about that, because if I go somewhere other than England, I’m really just traveling. So I don’t need anything in particular.

My flight today leaves at about 7:30pm. I’m excited! It’s going to be an exhausting week with orientations but I’m pretty pumped. Only thing left to pack is my computer. Got a new rain jacket, since I don’t really use rain jackets typically. It’s quite nice and I think I’ll enjoy it.

I’ve got Arcadia orientation the first few days, and then UCL orientation the last couple days this week. Thursday night my friend George is supposed to come visit and take me out to dinner. Woot! Anyway.. keep following the blog and I’ll try to update at least once a week, if not a couple times, and I’ll post pics! Wish me luck!!

Schengen Countries

For those that wonder, and for reference for myself, these are the Schengen countries! (Read a bit about it here at Europa.euย or here at Wikipedia.)

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

And yet! It must be noted that Great Britain, while included in the European Union, is NOT a member of the Schengen Area. It seems I will need to apply for a Schengen Visa! (Maybe? Maybe not?)

Oh Europe – you can be so complicated sometimes!

A Tentative Flight Plan?

So, turns out, trying to get everything organized… I might not do a straight up round trip. Instead I’m going to try to do the “multi-city” with Orbitz. Fly to London Heathrow Airport from Indy, and fly to Brussels from England, then fly home from Brussels. It actually isn’t very costly! And the layover times are much more manageable, without any crazy off-the-beaten-track stops in Canada. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It looks like it should work out well, and I will probably get tickets this weekend. WOOT!

Edit on Sunday:

Yup! Got tickets and everything ๐Ÿ™‚ Multicity from IND – LHR (through Dulles), then LHR – BRU, and BRU – IND (through Dulles again). Super psyched!

Planning the “To” and “Fro”

Greetings!

I am currently in the stages of planning how I am going to get to UCL and how I will return. The plan is to get to LHR (London Heathrow Airport) and be set by noon there, so I can get a ride with Arcadia people to where I need to be. I want to go to Belgium for 3 days after the program ends, to see my friend for his birthday. I am unsure if I should get a roundtrip to Brussels, and fly or get a train to London… or if I should get a roundtrip to LHR and do trains/roundtrip flight to Brussels. I have spent a couple hours researching and taking notes. Whew!!!

Beginning of the Blog

Welcome to my new blog, “Well Bloody Hell!”. I’ve started this blog to follow my travels abroad in the United Kingdom in the fall autumn of 2012. I will be studying abroad in London at University College London.

Hopefully through this blog, everyone will be able to follow along my experience studying abroad, and will find this something how fun, interesting, and informative!

-Lauren