UNL Students at Oxford
Steven Craig is a management major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business Administration. This summer he is taking part in the 25th anniversary festivities surrounding the Nebraska at Oxford study abroad program by participating in the program himself. He is also blogging about his experience with stories and pictures
that will let prospective students see first hand the excitement, fun and learning opportunities that have made Nebraska at Oxford the number one study abroad program on campus. He chose Oxford because he believed it would be a "life-changing endeavor, providing something that can only be discovered by the experiences the journey will provide."
Steven Craig is from Hartington, Neb., and works as the assistant supervisor at the CBA information technology help center.
2013 UNL @ Oxford Class Picture
Today is bittersweet. This morning we finished our final exam here at Oxford. It was a relief to finally be done studying, as I’ve been studying for our two final exams all week. The time here at Oxford has just flown by. From class to High Tea, from Punting to the Horse races, each event raced by after the other. Now I sit here looking at the schedule seeing that the only things we have left are the Farewell Banquet (which I am promised is the best cultural event yet) and Departure tomorrow morning.
While I’m not particularly looking forward to leaving for my bus at 4 am (I still haven’t adjusted to the time difference), I am content with the experience I’ve had at Oxford.
My time at Oxford has been short, but the memories will last a lifetime. My favorite things were traveling (specifically to Ireland), visiting with the locals at Pubs, and of course, daily classes. Dr. Holmes and Dr. Horsewood are two of the best faculty I’ve ever had. Dr. Holmes’ lectures were both extremely educational and entertaining. I’ve actually never wanted to go to class more, and I learned the material better than I ever have in the past.
For a number of reasons, someday I hope to come back and travel around Europe. The countryside in Ireland was beautiful – I just wish I had more time to explore here. Also, the people are vastly different in the states. When we arrived here and didn’t know which way was what direction, the people in front of us actually stopped us and asked us where we needed to go. I was shocked when this happened. We didn’t even ask them for directions – they stopped us.
Although we go our separate ways from here, we each keep with us the memories and treasures (a few surely about the “mad woman”) from our time in Oxford. Hopefully some of us wind up in the same classes later on in our academic career, and maybe some of us will see each other again in the business world. As Jay Asher said, “You can’t go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is…now.” So here we go, the Nebraska at Oxford Class of 2013.
Tennis on the grass courts
We spent yesterday afternoon at the Jesus College Sports Grounds. The sports grounds are actually about 40 minutes away from the college, so the 20 of us took a bus there.
As usual, we filled the bus and nearly had the entire top of the double decker bus to ourselves. That’s one of the good things about going anywhere in Oxford – you almost always have 20+ people behind you.
When we got to the sports grounds, there were two grass tennis courts, as well as plenty of space to play soccer and frisbee. Even though there weren’t any lines painted, we were able to use cones to make up our own courts. It was a really fun afternoon! I only wish the Sports Grounds were a lot closer to the college. Just another one of the differences between how things are in the UK compared to America.
Star Wars ala Shakespeare
Last night we went to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s hometown, to see Hamlet, a tragic revenge play. While in Stratford, we saw the house Shakespeare grew up in. There were even walking tours throughout the home. The home has been engulfed by the downtown district of Stratford, which makes it a neat attraction for tourists.
In a nearby gift shop, we found Shakespearean Star Wars. I’m sure my Star Wars loving friends would hate me if I gave them this...it’s a lot less exciting when written as a play.
The theatre was actually really interesting. We were actually the very top row of seats, so we climbed the exterior staircases before entering the theatre. We quickly found the layout was very different from most other theaters we’ve been in. The stage was very simple. We were told Shakespeare was more about the words being spoken, rather than a visual accompaniment. Don’t worry though, I won’t give any details of the play away.
At the Cliffs of Moher
During our extended weekend, I made the small hop across the pond to Ireland with three other Oxford students. We went on tours of the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson distillery, as well as a bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher.
Luckily this time, my flight was a complete success! I completed the trip without any travel issues. To get cheaper flight tickets, we made sure to book early flights and bus tickets. Our bus left Gloucester Green bus stop at 1 am and would travel just over three hours to Stansted, where we took an hour and a half flight to Dublin, and we arrived there just after 8 am.
The first thing we did was check into our hostel to drop off our luggage. After dropping off our luggage, we went out to start exploring Dublin and making our way over to the Guinness Storehouse for an 11am tour. The four of us were pretty hungry since we traveled through the night, so we stopped for breakfast at a small cafe.
The tours were really interesting, and of course we got to taste the final product when the tour ended. After lunch, most of us went back to our hostels to take a nap before going out in the night. After all, the next day many of us were going to take a bus across Ireland to see the Cliff’s of Moher.
The Cliff’s of Moher wound up to be worth the entire day bus ride tour. For now, the rest of this post will be a cliffhanger (ba dum chh). I’ll update the rest of the post with tomorrow so I’m not falling asleep in class.
Nebraska@Oxford students at Sandown Park on a cloudy day
Tonight we went on a sporting excursion to the Sandown Horse Racing Park near London. This was another formal occasion, so we were able to dress up in our best clothes again. While at at the park, we were also able to partake in the horse betting. I personally didn’t pick any winning horses, but a few students chose the right horse and won up to 50 GBP. To place a bet, there was a 2 GBP minimum, which can quickly escalate a return, of course depending on the horse picked. I’d say we all had a great time there. For many of us, this was a rare experience that we may not get the chance to do again.
At the National Gallery Museum
This morning we boarded a charter bus to London for an excursion to a West End Show called Billy Elliot. Before and after the play, we had time to sight see around London and experience some of the local culture. We stopped by the National Gallery Museum and saw where James Bond sat in the recent movie “Skyfall.”
Punting . . . Oxford-style
This afternoon we ventured out to see what “Punting” is and what it’s like. Don’t be fooled, punting isn’t something done on dry, solid ground. Punting is actually done in the water – a small river or any shallow body of water really. A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow, designed specifically for use in small rivers or other shallow water. If you have heard of a gondola before, they are very similar in appearance.
So today we ventured into the canals to try our hand at steering a punt, which is actually much harder than you may think. You see, they only give you a very long, but hollowed out aluminum pole, and the punt, of course. But it wasn’t until later that we realized we actually had a paddle in the boat, too.
Stabilizing yourself while navigating the punt is rather difficult. No one in our punt actually fell overboard, though there were a few rocky moments during transition of navigator. However, I can’t say the same for our fellow native punters. One of them fell out of the punt while navigating, and swore it was a set of Nebraska girls from earlier. Aside from the local, I’m not sure if anyone else went overboard.
Once we had a good understanding of how to navigate the canals, we really started moving quickly and swiftly; I, at the front of the punt assisting with turns and straightening the vessel out, and David being the driver in the back. The girls eventually found a comfortable spot in the middle of the punt, as the sun was well overhead in midday.
Dean Plowman joins the festivities
This morning we were surprised to find that Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Dean Donde Plowman, Dr. Dennis Duchon, Dr. Kathy Farrell, and Dr. Sam Allgood were joining us
for our International Economics lecture with Dr. Holmes. After traveling through parts of London, they brought cooler weather with them as they joined us for class, lunch, a group photo this afternoon and finally a Shakespearean play tonight.
Today we went on a walking tour of Oxford
. The tour was only an hour long, so it went really quick. We saw a few landmarks in Oxford around the Jesus College campus.
This afternoon we enjoyed a luxurious assortment of tea and desserts. The tea was really interesting. To me, it tasted like the tea I’ve had back in the United States, so there was no surprise there. But I was pleasantly surprised with the desserts. Hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy High Tea a few times before heading home. Here are a few pictures from the event.
UNL students learn the game of rounders
For a team building activity today, we played a game called Rounder. Rounder is similar to baseball in many ways, but there are a few differences to learn. The basics are the same: there are four bases and a bat and a ball. Whether the batter hits the ball or not (as long as the ball is thrown in the strike zone), the batter runs the bases. When running around the bases, you need to be careful. If you round a base, you have to continue on even if you’ll be tagged out. Once out, the rest of the team continues scoring and receiving outs until no one is left or the 10 minute clock expires, whichever happens first.
Before leaving for Oxford, I had the chance to see many of my family members to celebrate my grandfather’s 90th Birthday. It was great to be able to see some of my family members just before leaving for Atlanta, where I would meet my connecting flight to London Heathrow. After finally arriving in London, I wish I would have taken my Aunt Debbie’s advice and enjoyed a little bit of the sangria before flying Delta. In all seriousness though, I am really glad I was able to see a number of family members just hours before leaving. Hearing the tips and stories of world travels helped ease some of my pre-travel anxieties.
Celebrating my grandfather’s 90th Birthday
before leaving Nebraska
Since traveling was so hectic, I didn’t get to take many pictures on the way here. I was too hungry to stop and take a picture of my plane food or stop to take my usual pictures because of the nonstop running to be on time for orientation. I did manage to snag a few pictures though.
We were able to watch a live map of the 6,200+ mile trip. Measurements included local and destination time, air tempersture, ground speed, and distance traveled. It was neat to be able to watch all the statistics and keep an eye on the arrival time.
Since the hectic flights from today, I was more than glad to settle into my dorm room tonight. I also had to go purchase a number of items to replace the ones in my luggage, which should be on it’s way over the ocean right now.