Last weekend, I took day trips out and around London, to satisfy my curiosity and sense of adventure. On Friday, one other student and I took a bus out to Oxford. We really didn’t have any plans; we just wanted to walk around the university. Maybe I am a naïve American, but I had this very romantic notion of Oxford in my mind: one large main campus, a Hogwarts style main building, and maybe even some rolling hills and greenery. I was very mistaken. Oxford is actually made up of 38 separate colleges, all of which have their own buildings and own small “quads” all scattered around the little town of Oxford. Some of the colleges are private, others are public. I think we may have accidentally wandered into a private college because we look like students and no one stopped us. We had no idea what any of them were. We did have a lot of fun just wandering, and the buildings were still gorgeous, but we probably should have done a bit more research before we got there.
On Saturday, IES sponsored a trip to Stratford, the birthplace of Shakespeare, and then to Kenilworth Castle. Stratford was a cute small town that seemed dominated by the legacy of Shakespeare. I couldn’t believe that his house was still preserved in such good condition. They even tore down the two houses surrounding his house, in order to prevent is being burned down.
Kenilworth Castle is ruins of an old castle dating back to Norman times. It has had many different owners, one of the most famous being Robert Dudley, the supposed lover of Elizabeth II. She came to stay at the castle with him many times. The castle was largely destroyed during the English Civil War, and just stands in ruins today. The gift shop here had the best jam and mead- I’m actually regretting not buying some!
Sunday, a large group of us went down to Brick Lane market. What an overwhelming and exciting experience. There were so many people crowded around you, smells wafting over of so many different cuisines: Italian, Indian, Chinese, Thai, colors jumping out at you from racks of vintage clothing, layers of scarves and jewels of necklaces. I really had a lot of fun, and have been inspired to visit more London markets now!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I was born and raised in Chicago, where I grew up learning about my Ukrainian culture and language. I currently attend the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and am studying Human Development with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. I play on the university’s club water polo team and synchronized swimming team and am active in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I have traveled internationally to Ukraine, Canada, and Mexico for vacation and Cape Town, South Africa for a service learning trip. In the future, I hope to continue my studies in law school, with the hope of one day practicing as a family law or child advocate lawyer.</span></p>