Matilda undertook a short-term program in August 2013 through AIM Overseas. Read all about her adventures, below.
I studied in Cambridge University’s Shakespeare summer school for two weeks in August, 2013. I wanted to try an overseas study program but could only spend three weeks abroad due to family commitments, so I had 2 weeks in Cambridge, 3 days in Paris and 4 days of travelling. It was an extremely fast-paced adventure and was absolutely packed full of classes, exploring, shopping, social events and meeting new friends from all over the world.
Because I was specifically attending an international summer school, there were students from 18 years old to 85, from every corner of the world. I met people from Australia, as well as the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, and more! A lot of us started calling each other by our home’s names as nicknames. My best friends were Aussie, Swiss, Belgium and New York! This year was the summer school’s 90th anniversary, so we got to attend a very extravagant garden party held in a manor, with huge lawns, hedges, a jazz band, croquet and dancing! We also had a great time going to a Ceilidh – a traditional folk dance and definitely a highlight for the 2 weeks.
I decided to hire a bike for the fortnight so I spent a lot of time exploring the little town and putting all my souvenir shopping in the basket. It was so worth the money hiring the bike because it meant I got to class in two minutes instead of ten! I would highly recommend hiring a bike in Cambridge, but if you can’t afford it then everything is really close and you can definitely walk around too. 🙂
My college, St Catherine’s, was right next to the centre of town so it was easy to do some shopping and then take it all back to my room before heading to the evening lecture down the road. I was lucky enough to have a fridge in my room too, so I would get some fruit each day at the market and keep it in my room for study breaks or down time between classes. I met dozens of people in my course staying at the same college and the student coordinator, Fiona, was so friendly and happy to help in any way we needed, so I would tell anyone to stay at Catz!
On the weekends I went to London (just an hour on the train) to see friends and also a couple of plays and musicals. I saw Matilda the musical, Wicked, and then did all the tourist sights like Buckingham palace and the Eye. I had been to London before so I coped better on the tubes than I had the first time – it’s easy to get help but it can be a little overwhelming and busy on a Friday afternoon!
After the two weeks of studying, I hopped over to Paris and stayed in St Christopher’s Inn, a backpackers’ hostel run mostly by Australians. I’d urge anyone travelling in a European country to stay in a St Christopher’s (there are dozens around Europe) as I met some great people there who really helped me out on the metro and who passed on their local knowledge (like how to skip the line at the Louvre). If I’d stayed in a hotel I would have had the language barrier, and been alone in deciphering the metro, and probably would have missed half of the sites! I strongly recommend visiting Musee d’Orsay, as it was less crowded then the Louvre and had an amazing range of art including Monet and Van Gogh.
My favourite thing in Paris however was of course the EiffelTower! At night, every hour for five minutes it would sparkle with brilliant lights. We had a picnic and loved every minute! The best part of studying in Cambridge was meeting people from all over the world.
It was an unforgettable two weeks and I hope that every person who has the opportunity to experience something like this grabs it with both hands!
Have you studied abroad?
What are some of your unforgettable memories of your short-term program?