Since my time abroad is coming to an end I thought I’d share more pictures. Being abroad has been an amazing experience and I am grateful to the honors program for being part of making it a reality. I took classes at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona’s study abroad campus, which is called Casa Convalescencia and it’s located on the historical site of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. During this semester, I got to visit the hospital which is a World Heritage site and an icon of art-nouveau architecture here in Barcelona. I had the chance to visit other UT students studying abroad in Copenhagen. Also, today, April 23rd is Sant Jordi day, which is kind of like Valentine’s day here, books and roses are given to loved ones and the street sales are incredible; my professor who teaches my Culture Without State class, which focuses on Catalonia, took us on a field trip to see the Catalan culture in action. Casa Batlló, like the whole city, was covered in roses and the streets were flooded with people buying books. I’m sad my time abroad is ending but I also can’t wait to be back in Tampa.
Honors student Samantha Stewart received an International Travel Award through the Honors Program to help fund her travel study course to Australia. She has just returned and shared some photos from her trip with us. As the photos illustrate, Samantha had a great time and learned a lot. Here is what she said of the trip:
I want to thank you all again for awarding me with a scholarship for the travel course to Australia. I had an incredible time and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to go to such an amazing place. I’ve included some pictures that I took during my trip.
Things are going great over here in Oxford. The tutorials I am taking are Community Ecology and Marine Vertebrate Zoology and I love both of them. With my Community Ecology tutorial, my tutor is having me do research to study the distribution of two butterflies that are native to the UK. We are using mathematical models to determine if distance affects the competition between the species. In my marine vertebrate zoology tutorial, some of the topics I have explored are life in the deep sea and how the vertebrates have evolved to live in the sea. My tutors push me to think outside the box or in my case, think outside the submarine, to make connections that I had never even begun to think about.
In addition to school, I have been able to do a few extracurricular activities as well. I took a trip to London to visit Westminister. I was able to see the Abbey, Trafalgar Square, and the beautiful Buckingham Palace. I also have taken a trip to visit Cambridge, which is also known as “the other place” to see how it differs from the bustling city of Oxford. While there is a competition between which University is better, I think both have qualities that make them equally great.
One thing that is great about Oxford (and many of the cities in the UK) is that most of the museums are free, so when I need to take a quick break from studying I can pop into a museum without having to spend the whole day there. My favorite museum I have visited so far is the History of Science museum. They have a wide variety of different tools they used to study Science, Mathematics, and Physics in prior times and they show how the tools developed into the ones we use today.
My favorite extracurricular I have done so far while here in Oxford is joining the rowing team at Christ Church. I should inform you that I have never done rowing before coming here, so it was a very tough few practices (and many sore days after) as I had to learn how to row from scratch and my body had to adjust to using different muscles. However, I have loved the challenge of learning this new skill and it has been a great way to meet the people in my college and get away from my studies.
This experience so far has been unbelievable and I have to keep reminding myself that this is in fact real life.
Dr. Stephen Blank, a Russian foreign policy expert from the American Foreign Policy Council, spoke to UT Honors Students on February 1st. The focus of the talk was on Russian foreign policy in the modern era. The talk included discussion about how Russian foreign policy is in many ways a continuation of Cold War era policies. According to Dr. Blank, Russia wants to be respected and considered a great power, and in order for that to be the case, Russia needs to be feared. Thus, Russian foreign policy is driven by imperialism and efforts to unbalance other governments, creating room for Russian influence.