Emily: University of Cambridge

This post originally appeared on UKNow. Visit the story here.

A group of 15 UK students is seeing blue across the pond this summer. In a course designed specifically for first-generation students, students who are the first in their families to attend college, the group is exploring global communication and business in London, England, led by Director of First Generation Initiatives Matthew Deffendall.

The class spent an afternoon at the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s oldest universities, founded in 1209. Located in the county of Cambridgeshire, England, Cambridge is a leading academic and research hub, consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the world. Touring the town and campus, the students learned about the institution’s 31 colleges, including Trinity College, founded by King Henry VIII and Peterhouse College, the oldest Cambridge college, which was founded in 1284.

Emily Griffin is a marketing and management major from Louisville, Kentucky. Her blog is below:

Whew! What a day!  I woke up and started my day off with a run. It is amazing to me that in 30 minutes I could run through 4 different parks and still be close to my flat. It is so nice to take in the amazing sights that are all around me. The dogs running free through the green grass, the people sitting on the benches reading the morning paper, or the people busily walking to work. I have never been in a more beautiful place. I try to take a couple minutes to just take everything in, and a feeling of calmness comes over me every time. London is truly the most beautiful place I have ever seen.

After my run and reflection, it was time to head out to Cambridge University.  We got on the National Rail service and headed toward Cambridge.  We were all sitting in the train when we suddenly go through a tunnel and everyone’s ears start popping — it was hilarious to see everyone’s face because no one was expecting that to happen!  The trained unfortunately arrived late, and we had to basically sprint to King’s College for our tour.  However, we were too late and could not go inside because they decided to close the College early today.

We found our tour guide who showed us around Cambridge.  The architecture is beautiful! We saw Clare College where Crick and Watson discovered DNA!  Our tour guide explained to us that as soon as they figured it out and knew they were going to “change the way we see life,” they went right down the street to the pub called The Eagle.  It was really invigorating knowing we were standing in the exact same spot that all of this happened.

After this, we walked around and looked at more of the 31 colleges that Cambridge has. It was amazing to take in the exciting, yet calming, environment.  There was an ice cream stand everywhere you looked, a candy shop, souvenirs, a shopping mall — YES a shopping mall, a mime, a man playing some very weird instrument, and much more.  It was a really cool place to be, and it definitely provided a much different vibe than what we are used to back in the United States.  Cambridge even had a market right in the middle of the University hall.

After our tour, we had free time to roam around.  We saw some really cool places and got to shop in a few of the kiosks in the market. After our free time, we went on a punting tour!  When I first heard the word punting, I thought of kicking a ball.  But, boy was I wrong!  We got on boats with a guide who took us down the River Cam and showed us many of the colleges from a different perspective. It was so beautiful and relaxing on this ride, and it is something I will never forget.  After our tour on the river, we went into a local pub and watched the World Cup.  I had some Greek food from a small stand after we left the pub, and it was very good.  I had chicken and chips!

Around 7:30, we headed back to take our train back in. We talked about scary movies for most of the way home. The speed that trains passed by us were somewhat frightening; however, we made it back safely. When we got to the train station, we found platform 9 and 3/4 and took a picture as if we were Harry Potter! I don’t know how many people could say that they will get to do that in their lifetime!

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