Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Travelin' with Pals

At home, it’s easy to fall into cliques with comfortable group of friends, but studying and travelling abroad is different. At the prime age of 20, we are challenged to live outside of our comfort zone for four months. While this experience can be horrifying and intimidating, it can also be the best opportunity in the world to discover who we are and with whom we can be ourselves

We can all easily identify our best friend, significant other, or partner-in-crime, but rarely do we acknowledge how very important they are. They are worth more than just a good laugh or a road trip, they are a safety net as well.  Extensive travel is foreign (pun intended) to many students on their first study abroad experiences, so the presence of a good friend makes it more comfortable, and easier to travel

I recently travelled to Nottingham with two new friends, Alex and Emily.  I felt like we should’ve been the stars of a teeny bopper movie about gallivanting through Europe to spend a day touring and shopping.  I am not the most keen on operating a train system, so having those two to help me was wonderful and necessary. We spent the day touring, enjoying good food, and trying to keep each other from spending too much money at the many shops we visited.

I feel like this day was a perfect indicator of good travel, friendship, and the Harlaxton experience that three people from Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee can venture into the world together, and enjoy each other’s company while watching out for one another. Two people that I easily called strangers a month prior were now two good friends that I will always share this experience with. 

This experience, as well as my ventures through Ireland and France, has shown me that travelling with a group makes foreign territory far less intimidating and can really bring people together. Sleeping in airports, missing trains, and pinching pennies for lunch at the end of a trip are certainly bonding moments. Those moments have been my favorite Harlaxton times thus far...the ones that create a sense of comradery.
- Olivia Sharp

Monday, 18 February 2013

Pub Culture

A Pub, which is short for “public house,” is the quintessential English meeting place. Many groups of friends will meet at these places before their night out, for a rugby or football match, or to just have a few pints.

Here in the United Kingdom some Americans experience culture shock. This is true for many sub- and counter cultures as well, such as pub culture. In the states bars are mainly for drinking unless it is a sports bar. Pubs on the other hand serve food throughout the night. Even ordering a drink at a full bar is different! In the states if the bar is too crowded you can form a line at a designated area of the bar, but here in England you will just have to find a place at the bar to be served. We found this out the hard way as one of the managers at the Goose, a local Grantham pub, poked fun at us and could tell we were “just off the boat.”

The pub is a timeless place, for what it means to us now and for what it means to those who have come before us. Many times we have been at the Goose and met “the regulars.” These range from people our age and a bit younger, to young professionals, and to people that are sixty plus. That range of age is not something you will find in many American bars.

From my experience the atmosphere in an English pub is much more accepting and social than in its American counterpart. On more than one occasion I have been invited to sit down with a group of English men and women to talk about the town, football, beer and many other things. Now when we see each other out we say hello and chat as if we have been friends for much longer than a week. It seems so much easier to make friends and converse. This is probably due to the comparatively low volume that music is played on in English pubs to American pubs.

Personally, I enjoy the English pub to the American bar. It is a more intimate setting to create and to perpetuate friendships. The friendships that I have made in the classrooms of Harlaxton College have been solidified at places such as the Apple Tap, the Blue Pig and the Goose.
 -Quinton Cadick


Monday, 4 February 2013

Not So Different from Us

When I first arrived in Grantham with my peers, I expected to spend a lot of my time at the Manor when I wasn't traveling. Gladly, that hasn't been the case. Although we've only been here about a month, my friends and I have taken the time to go into town quite often -- sometimes several days a week. Due to the frequent visits to The Goose, and other venues, we've had the opportunity to meet and socialize with some of the locals.

I didn't expect the people we met to be so open with us, especially since we're not from the area. However, everyone we've had the honour of spending time with has treated us like we were old friends. We talk about everything from sports to clothing stores, and even get to teach each other slang. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect everyone to be completely different here, but I also didn't expect to see how similar they would be. Like me, they have their funny quirks, joke around with their friends, go out, and have to deal with the occasional nagging parent. Although we all have various cultural backgrounds, the people we've gotten to know so far are just like us -- dealing with the same things we have to, back at home.

It's refreshing and comforting to be in an environment where I can communicate easily with other people. Meeting new people and making new friends has certainly made the experience at Harlaxton worthwhile. It has also shown me that no matter where you go, you can find commonalities and find people with whom you can relate.

Ariel Campbell