Sunday, July 21, 2013

more thoughts on Cambridge

It really is a lovely town. I'm not sure that I would want to live in it for longer than a few weeks at any given time, because it feels quite small, but the buildings are so beautiful and the histories of the colleges are fascinating. Last weekend, my class visited Bletchley Park and the American Cemetery in Cambridge (circa WWII), both of which were neat--particularly the former, which is the mecca of modern cryptology. A group of friends and I spent a day in London again: wandered around Shoreditch, got Greek food, wandered some more, etc. I could definitely live in London.

I am happy with my academic experience at Cambridge, though I cannot see myself doing a doctorate there. I am a huge proponent of interdisciplinary studies and cross-collaboration, and there is a remarkable amount of red tape present between departments and colleges in the British system... or at least at Cambridge. However, my professors within this program were excellent. Having the amount of discussion time with Christopher Andrew (one of the best Cold War historians there is, and current official historian for MI5) that I did was incredible, and having plenary lectures by Sir Richard Dearlove and James Pavitt was pretty great as well.

 The formal dinners were certainly interesting. The appetizer soup on Thursday had a beet base, and included gems such as "vodka jelly" and "avocado sorbet" (and who knows what else.) It was definitely not what I was expecting out of English cuisine, that's for sure.

I am always grateful for experiences like my course at Cambridge because they remind me of how friendly, inquisitive, and profound other human beings can be. My favorite thing about traveling is so often the conversations that I have along the way, and seeing how much I have grown/learned/discovered by the time that they are done. Pubs are good for that. The English are doing pubs correctly.

 And now, after much fanfare and ado, I find myself in Rome. Today is my first full day here, and so far I have successfully navigated public transport and bought groceries in Italian. I start my literature classes tomorrow. In bocca al lupo!

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