Upon entering the UK for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. My journey started as soon as I went to a coffee shop in London Heathrow Airport and they asked if my drink was “for here or take away”. I had to assume that “take away” meant “take out” or “to-go” so I said “take away” and paid the cashier in Great British Pounds (GBP). My first purchase in GBP was an iced drink from a coffee shop. I will never forget it…
Fast forward to arriving to the school and the beginning of classes. Upon arrival, the University of Sussex threw us a little festival where we could eat and mingle. I was both surprised and not surprised that they were serving beer and wine along with soft drinks. For those that do not know, the legal drinking age is 18 here and having a drink is a social activity; so it was welcomed. As I sat down and ate my first meal since arriving in the UK, I could not help but think that I would have to cook the rest of my meals or eat out more than usual since we live in an apartment (or “flat” as the Brits call it. I plan on doing another post showing what the flat looks like).
Classes began on Tuesday and that was a tiring day. I didn’t feel jet-lagged at the time, so I didn’t know why I was so tired, but I was drained from that day. My schedule started off with an introductory lab session where we were introduced to about 10 different labs that we will eventually do in our official lab sections. It was interesting going through so many concepts of physics in 2 hours. Each day after my 9am lab or workshop, I have a 4-6 hour break that I can use however before I go to lecture. During this time, I usually prep my dinner or read the chapters for the upcoming lecture.
Lecture is classic lecture style: the professor just reads off slides and does examples. Nothing special about the lecture except the professor has a British accent. The one thing about lecture is that it is accelerated: we go through roughly two chapters a day because we are learning a full year’s of physics in roughly 8 weeks. So far, we have covered: Projectile and circular motion, Newton’s Laws, Forces, and Energy and Energy Transfer. And to top it off, our first midterm is Friday…
But we all have a way to take the edge off and it’s right here on campus!
East Slope Bar
East Slope is the bar on campus that is run by the Students’ Union (SU). Like many pubs in the area, they host “Karaoke Night” and “Pub Quizzes”; special events for the International Summer School (ISS) students. Karaoke night is self-explanatory, but the Pub Quiz night is a bit different. Every Wednesday night, the theme changes. This past Wednesday, was “Classic British Pub Quiz” which consisted of 4 topics: Geography, History, Film and Television, and British chocolate bars. My team got last place and we celebrated. We decided to try to be the last place each time; however, I know that Star Wars is coming up and that is something that I am good at.
East Slope will probably be the gathering place for many people Tuesday and Wednesday night, but we also have Brighton which is the place for a true nightlife experience.
Brighton and the Nightlife
Brighton is great. The best place I can compare Brighton to is Santa Monica. In a way, think of the Univ. of Sussex as UCLA and Brighton as Santa Monica. The only major differences is that the beaches here are really pebbles (but people still treat it like a beach). Other than that, it doesn’t feel any different from headed to Santa Monica. However, I should say that the nightlife is a bit different.
Because I am of legal drinking age here, I can go to clubs and bars. I usually stray away from these areas, but I went to a few for the experience. I found out that going out isn’t my “cup of tea” (joke intended), but I will tag along with some friends to go shopping and whatnot. It is still fun experiencing new things with people in the same boat.
I am enjoying my time here. I know that there are more things to try and more places to see, but it has only been a week. I have 7 more weeks to make the best of this trip. With 3 day weekends, I know that I will find something fun to do!