With two months already gone by in England, it feels like I’ve finally established a routine to my weekdays. Here’s what I get up to on a normal school day at Kent.
As it is now winter and daylight has become almost nonexistent, I usually wake up to a cold semi-darkness as I get ready for the day. Fortunately, most of the dorms have radiators, and mine has quickly become my best friend.
The weather in England is normally quite dreary, so I tend to reach for some variation of a sweater, scarf and coat. Rain boots are optional, but highly recommended; nothing is worse than having wet socks in class.
Something that still surprises me at Kent is how well everyone dresses for class, a far cry from the anything-goes dress code of back home. Here, people show up for eight a.m.s looking very fashionable and put very together; at SDSU, I’ve seen people wear blankets to class and no one bats an eye. I miss that, to be honest.
Class has begun. Classes are referred to as modules here, each consisting of an hour-long lecture and a two-hour seminar portion. Seminars (the equivalent of small sections at SDSU) are smaller in number and usually go in-depth on topics covered briefly in lecture. And unfortunately, I’ve found that attendance is usually taken at every class.
As an English and Film student, I am lucky that most of my modules consist of discussing novels or watching television shows. My classmates are very engaged in the coursework, and I enjoy listening to their opinions; it’s always funny to hear what Brits really think of American reality shows.
I’m finally released from seminar, and I usually head to the on-campus market to pick up lunch before heading home. Since it’s been cold lately, I like buying these warm pastry things that I still don’t know the name of, but are cheap and taste pretty good.
Speaking of food, one thing I’ve learned is that Brits really love their sandwiches. I’ve seen every combination from prawns and mayonnaise to full English breakfast, stuffed between bread and sold to all ages. To each their own, but I think I’ll stick to my plain croissants for now.
Here it tends to vary day-by-day. Sometimes I’ll go into the library to do homework, take the bus into town to do some shopping or have dinner with friends at a pub on campus.
Today, since I stayed up late doing an essay, I just went home and took a nap. Being a uni student can be difficult; sometimes the best thing to do is allow yourself a bit of slack.
A lot of on-campus clubs tend to meet around this time. Joining a society is a great way to meet new people and hang out for a bit; there will always be someone willing to go for a pint afterwards too.
Today, it’s the swim team’s weekly training. Be it rain or shine (usually rain), a group of us take the 20-minute walk into town to the gym. One of the best things about England? Indoor pools. Otherwise, I feel like my willingness to strip in 30 degree weather would have ended long ago.
Back in my building, I make dinner in the shared kitchen and chat with my housemates. My Swiss roommate tries to teach me French. It’s not going great.
11:30 – 1 a.m.
After dinner, I use this time to watch TV or catch up with my friends back home. As there is an eight-hour time difference between here and California, I try to talk or Skype as they come back from class or work.
Before going to bed, I usually browse websites for potential flights or future trips to Europe; today, I booked an $89 flight to France in January. My mom used to tell me to always have something worth looking forward to, and she was right.
Universities in England are very beautiful and home to well-dressed people, cold sandwiches and rain puddles. Two months down in this country with seven remaining, and as always I’m excited to see what’s next.
Sydne Aguilar is studying English and film. She is studying abroad in Canterbury, United Kingdom during the 2016-17 academic year.