Beyond the [Hadrians] Wall: A Wee Intro to the Enigma that is University Life
Hallo liebe Leute,
My name is Fiona and I am a wee lass embarked on a German Studies adventure at the University of Warwick. I am currently in my third year of study, meaning I am far far away on ye olde Continent absorbing some Deutsch language and schnitzel at the expense of Erasmus and the German authorities who employ me as a British Council Language Assistant.
After arriving at Warwick it occurred to me I had done very little research about what life on campus was actually like, in terms of what to expect in new accommodation with new flatmates, and new coursemates and new buildings and new societies and new deadlines and new shelving arrangements in the new Tesco. Where would I find friends? Where on Earth is LIB1? Does this Tesco have a reduced bread section? Hopefully I will be able to give any new or prospective students a savvy guide to making the most of uni and year abroad life, offering both course-related experience and other useful tidbits. Reduced bread is in the middle of the bread section, funnily enough.
So how did I get here? What am I actually doing? These are questions which I ask myself regularly, and which you might ask me too, if you are a prospective student or STEM student respectively. A STEM student is a cool bean who studies Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths, where a Humanities student prefers the Arts: languages and literature and the pondering of deep and meaningful things such as whether or not the word “trendy” is indeed trendy. Uni culture tip no.1: there is an ancient and ongoing feud between the two, since each believes they study the "better" degree 😉
Anyway, I chose to do a degree based in German because at the time of applying, I hadn’t an inkling what I wanted to do later in life, but knew I wanted a degree and to travel a bit and continue learning a foreign language. German and English were the subjects I enjoyed most at school, and after all, there’s nothing I love more than reading books which are too intellectual for me to understand, and in a foreign language. A degree which combined language and literature would be right up my street, by which I mean a 4.5 hour train journey away to a university which has a name I can’t pronounce and which isn’t even in the afore-pronounced town. But as much as I loved being at home in the bonnie land of Scot, I was excited to scale Hadrian’s Wall and graduate from deep fried Mars bars onto pasties, and thus get to know the many foreign ways and accents of the mysterious English.
Joking aside, I have found Warwick to be fabelhaft so far, and I’m genuinely not just saying that because I’m paid to write this.The 2015 German department open day was as friendly as it was down-to-earth, a description which I have found to hold true to today too. I liked the green spaces – yaaasss nature – and having come from a great but stuffy old school I was lusting after a fix of modernity and some hearty ‘60s concrete buildings.
Three years after I first toddled onto campus, I have temporarily swapped the pasties for pretzels and am now nearing the end of my year abroad in Hannover, and also today’s introductory post. Have a happy rest of your Monday and don’t miss the next post, featuring: the real reason I like a language which has the charming word “germ” in its name, banter, and the lost glove which used to reside on the handrail outside the Humanities building.