One of the things I’m most grateful for about my time in college is the chance I had to Study Abroad. Living in Oxford, England for four months was the most incredible experience I could have ever asked for, and I know I’m a different person because of it. I think about my experiences every single day, and there are so many aspects of it I miss. Lucky for you I narrowed it down to five:
- The Atmosphere – Almost everything in the city of Oxford is older than America. And you can hear that and know that, but until you’re literally walking past a stone wall that was built in 1200, you can’t fathom what it means. Every street in Oxford has an old, classy feel to it. You walk down the road, and feel like you’re walking through history. You know you’re passing by places that scholars, writers, and the great minds of the
past used to frequent. I ate at a pub the CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien used to regularly meet at.
Things like that are rare in America. I miss seeing pieces of history everyday. I miss the beautiful sights of by-gone times.
- The Weather – Granted, I was there during a rather warm fall (so like 60s and 70s, every Texan’s dream), and if I had been there
during a cold winter I might not miss it as much. However, as a Texan I loved being able to wear my fall and winter clothes for more than one week out of the year. I loved walking outside and feeling the nip of the cold air, and running inside to make a drink of hot tea (with cream and sugar). We arrived in Oxford just as the leaves were starting to turn orange and fall. I still have a leaf the size of my face that I found the first day there and decided to keep. I miss walking through the crunch of those leaves. Not only that, I miss the beautiful green of all the nature on the outskirts of the city. Green isn’t a color you see often in Texas. But it was abundant in England. One day I took a 10 mile walk with my English class, which was was terrible, but climbing up the green hill, we got a look at the City of Spires gleaming in the distance. That sight, amidst the green and orange with the cool weather surrounding us, is one I would give anything to see again.
- Green’s Cafe – A post about me isn’t complete without a reference to coffee, so is there any surprise that I developed a favorite coffee shop in England? Green’s was a little place nestled next to the Quaker House where our English class met every Wednesday. The class was never complete until all of us had gone into Green’s and ordered a coffee and a sandwich or a scone. I always went for the Hazelnut Latte, and the chicken and pesto sandwich, or gluten-free lemon scone. The coffee shop was always a haven from our class, and some days if I think really hard, I can still taste the hazelnut and lemon that brought me so much joy.
- The Culture – I mean, obviously I miss hearing the accents everywhere I go. I definitely picked up some weird phrases and spelling during my time “across the pond,” but it goes so much deeper than that. I miss the historic values the country was built on. I miss the massive respect everyone in the country has for the royal family. I miss visiting the sites of great poets, writers, and theologians. I miss the memorials, and the symbols of everything that came together to make Britain what it is today. I miss people not having a “the customer is first” mentality. It’s refreshing to have polite people kick you out of their store because they want to go home. I miss all these and a thousand other little things that became part of my daily life for awhile.
- Travel – I miss being able to be in a different country every weekend. Okay, I didn’t leave the country EVERY weekend, but at least once a month I was on a trip experiencing a new city and a new culture. I got to see France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. I spent time in Scotland and Wales, and each one of those places had a beautiful impact on my heart. I miss having it be so easy to see some of the world’s greatest places. I’ve seen so many people and so many lives. I learned so much in a short period of time, and while it’s nice to be able to relax and be in one place for a little while, I miss the adventure. If I could have one more semester abroad before I had to deal with actual life, you can bet I would take it.