Why study abroad? Being my choice, the first intuition tells me that it will be more interesting. Of course, it will be more tired than merely traveling. You will have studying schedule and working schedule every day when you are abroad. But I like this way rather than just traveling with seeing. It did work as I imagined, or I should say that it better worked than what I expected. As a science student, I did not get in touch with literature too much. Unsurprisingly, I do not pay attention to the function of literature. I like traveling and enjoy seeing different places. The experience says the way I learn a new place is by mainly by eating and taking pictures. I am often shocked by the beautiful views in different places. But after a few days back home, I forgot what felt. Studying abroad gives a new way to know a new city or a country. I enjoyed it so much. From the literature side, we discovered London’s history, culture, changing and famous historical and modern people. I know London from a deep level, which makes me never forget. Everything I saw is given meanings. I saw them and understood them. Even without taking pictures, the view, the artifacts and the magnificent buildings were in my mind. I can still remember every feeling I had at every moment in different activities. Moreover, the elaborate and comprehensive schedule of class was the best of the best. I definitely saw more and learned more than I traveled along or traveled with agency. Traveling with studying is a great idea for people who want to learn more. Besides, the friendship built in the class can never be a better thing you can have in studying. One old saying: you can always find your true love in an unknown place. Traveling and studying together in a new country is the best way to find your best classmates. Let’s be classmates and friends abroad.
I love art. Although I do not have much creativity on art, I do get a lot of happiness from the works of art. Yesterday I went to National Portrait Gallery. And today we went to Tate Britain. I enjoyed the portraits and paintings too much. Actually, I like Tate Modern more. I prefer the art with more imagination and abstract thinking. I cannot understand Picasso’s painting without reading the illustration, but I admire his creativity and out of circle thinking. After London Literature class, I am kind of fascinated with symbolism. I would like to find more secrets behind every work, every period, and every style. Art, like writing, is a way of the authors to express their understandings. Art, as another way, is used as photography to record the history, which I strongly felt from the historical paintings in National Portrait Gallery. At first, I did not like the Portrait painting too much. Every painting seems similar, just showing the dedicated dressing royal family. However, after following the arranged chronologically display, from the Tudors 1485-1603, the Stuarts 1603-1714, Rebellion to reform 1714-1790, Late 18th to early 19th century, the Victorians 1837-1901, early 20th century, to late 20th century, I not only knew more about the England history, holding a whole concept of the timeline, but also through approached the famous persons to understand the significance of each period. As well, the careful and abortive paintings characterized every famous people- queen or king, politicians or drawers. When I saw the picture of Charles Dickens, I was so happy, like I saw my old friend among the hundreds of famous people. You can see how deeply the class influenced me.
Today I found a new my favorite person-Waterhouse. I do not know him at all before I went to Tate Britain this morning. I was attracted at first sight of this painting which I posted as the last picture. The name of the painting is Carnation, lily, lily, rose. It was drawn by Waterhouse in 1885. I do not know how to describe my feeling about this painting. I feel it is combined reality with imagination. The color is very transparent and bright. I can also feel pure and peaceful inside the picture. I believe it is the reason I like this painting immediately. In fact, every painting of Waterhouse has the same style- every refined drawing and unique constructed.
Today is also the last day of our class. It makes me think a little more. I told everyone that my eyes are hungry and I want to see more in London. I did not think the reason why I want to get more information before writing this blog. Like visiting museums and galleries, like traveling and studying, all the experiences make you more individualism. We know we enrich ourselves through seeing different things. We can also get more personal thinking from different perspectives. Literature and Art, from the abstract side, let us know more about ourselves. I am improving my realizing of new things. We can discover more about ourselves and understand what we want through getting more information.
In the morning, we visited V&A museum again. The main purpose of today was to find the meaningful content behind the “disobedient objects”. It was very shocked when you saw those simple but powerful objects. Those objects could be used rich bags to fight for plant freedom under a controlled economy. It could be handmade puppets to show the needs of democracy. I was silence when I watched the video related to the Tian An Men square event in China in 1986. I did not hear too much information about this event in my country. I think because it is a miserable history and because it is the habit of obeying the instruction of government. It is a history that shows the dark government controlling time. Until now, we do not have many books or documents to describe that history. I am moved the courage of the university students of that time. Even though they did not have much information about fighting for freedom without advanced technology, they used their way to show the spirit of being an independent minded Chinese university student. Until now, many of us only have one conclusion: that history made China 100 years back. I supported that. With such long history and such abundant recourses, China has its distinct culture. If that time we had good leading government, we could catch the tendency of times. The whole society would develop better if we did not impede the culture growing. The “close the door to make economy” and “text event” were bad history but we cannot avoid because it is history. I appreciate the better government now and I really support that education is very important. I promise to be a brave Chinese student taking the spirit of university students of that time. This is the only way I can use to memorize them.
We watched Antony and Cleopatra at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre after visiting V&A museum. I did not do the research before watching play. Without the background I did not understand too much. But this is the charming of theater, even I did not know the background, I got the story as a tragic love story. I enjoyed the whole active and affluent performance. It is classical Shakespeare’s style. The design of theatre is also very great. I enjoyed standing in the crowd under the sunshine in the center of the theater and nearby sitting a lot of other audience in different floors. This scene made me think of the old time. Theater as entertainment for British people has a long long history. In such afternoon, the old London people dressed imperial Wardrobe or Victoria style dressing, shake the ivory fan, and watched the play elegantly.
Thinking about the symbolism of the Regent Park, the first thing coming into mind is that it is a park for the king. They build the park to show the nobility and respected social position of the royal status. The relative simple artifacts in Regent Park compared to Westminster Abbey or Parliament illustrates the order and balance for the hierarchy and history. I enjoyed the different rose. Rose becomes my favorite flower after I get older. Actually I like all kinds of flowers, but my name in Chinese means rose. I will use rose as my symbolism which is also easy for people to remember me.
The tour of The Sherlock Holmes Museum at yesterday afternoon was interesting. We know in reality Sherlock does not exist. He is the fictional person who made by Adolf Conan. But we visited his house where he lived in and worked as a detective consulting person. I only want to express my admiration to the great author who created such world-famous person. Now people still use Holmes to name the smart intelligent person.
Combined these days in London, my overall feeling is enjoyable from worried at the beginning. I have used to the tempo of London. I understand the lifestyle of being a Londoner. Even unconsciously I try to speak in British accent. I like the tube system of London, very logical and effective. After you know which station you want to go, you will never lost your way. And every station seems to have some special sites that need visitors to find. I said to my friends that everywhere is like a painting even the underground station. All kinds of beautiful posters and wonderful music have the magic to make people feel good when they miss their tubes.
“Look up, do not look down.” This is what we did this afternoon to conquer St. Paul’s Cathedral. The overall architecture design is elegant, magnificent, and peaceful. You will be shocked by the complicated decoration of the roof, as well the height to the top of tower. Reaching the top of the tower, I wanted to try. “If you fear, you will lose the chance to get the thing you can have and you never have before.” This was what I said to myself inside then started to count the steps to the top. Although feeling a little dizzy and my legs were shaking, I felt the freshness of the wind from the sky and the great view on the St. Paul, not just from inside of the St. Paul. I wanted to shout I caught the open view of London. I am glad not because of my courage to climb to the top, I am glad of my spirit to catch the things what I want. “Once you fear, you will lose the chance.” I admire the spirit of fearless. Most great people are fearless, like Edward I, Henry VIII, and as well Mr. Putin who is the president of the Russian. Fearless people have irresistible charming and power. “If you can conquer your fear, you can conquer the world.” This insight is from my middle school teaching by the story of Columbia who discovered the new continent. The tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral gave me a lot of inspiration. I will take this as one favorite moment in my life definitely.
The V&A museum is unbelievable gorgeous. It is so big that I cannot find my way even with my map. The abundant treasures and the shinning jewellery were dazzled my eyes. I definitely will come back V&A again.
We did our way to oxford! Exactly University of Oxford is the dream of many kids including me when I was a kid. It is the filming location of Harry Potter. It is a great attraction for Harry Potter fans. Chelsea is the biggest fan of Harry Porter in our group. You can see her smile face all the day. I was laughing when she cannot cover her over excited as soon as she saw the stairs where Harry stepped in the first movie. The oxford is great, very big and clean. The buildings are fancy. I believe that you cannot find another university with such magnificent architectures. University of Oxford is the oldest school who speak English. Personally I do not feel any strong academic feeling around the university, which is totally different from Harvard and Yale. I have been Harvard and Yale before. The two universities absolutely give people different feelings. Both of them are quiet but intense. You can even feel the stress under the peaceful studying environment. While, Oxford gives people a feeling of pleasant. I enjoy the beautiful music on the street, the briskly walking of people and the splendid bookstore everywhere. People in Oxford are just like reading! The long history and the literature culture make the university full of humanities breathing. As the Oxford is the main city over The Thames, we did enjoy boating over the Thames River in the afternoon under the sunshine. One moment I cannot imagine I am sitting on the thousands of years’ river. You do not know how many stories happened over river. It is the time I connect myself with history.
All my reflection is changed by what I saw just now. This morning we went to Westminster abbey and later we went to house of parliament. Without doubt, Westminster abbey and house of parliament are fabulous and magnificent UK architectures. I am shocked by these incredible buildings. I strongly feel that British people are deeply proud of their history and their royal family existence. Apparently, the royal family is a symbolism of United Kingdom spirit. While I want to say royal family is also one of the ways UK people keep their history. On the other hand, British royal families really do a good job to represent the whole UK. The design and structure of the architectures should be another kind of wonderful history that British people are proud of. People love London because we know that London’s history is fully filled thick humanistic and literature background. Even the British accent makes me feel pleased. In my impression, UK gives people a feeling of peaceful, harmonious and quiet. UK people speak slowly, walk slowly and their whole life tempo is like waking up in the morning, not too active and not emotional. This parade in the afternoon totally changed my impression to UK. I said to myself that I saw the quiet side of London, now I saw the active side. Hundreds of people were unstoppable coming to the parade ground. I saw marches before in American and Canada but I never saw such big one. The parade is organized. People walked in sequences hanging up their board. My heart was shaken by the slogan shouting. I felt their emotions. I get my reflection that UK is a freedom country. Unlike UK, America projects freedom in architecture, in movies and in music. It has become common sense that freedom is in America. I do not know there is also such free spirit in UK. I am really moved by the parade. People fight for what they want. People have the right to fight what they think the right.
I am very willing to write down daily journal for this trip. I have too much to write down. At this moment, I feel excited. While before yesterday I felt more nervous than expecting. This is a totally new experience for me. Normally travel is relaxed and lazy. For me, this trip is full of discovering and combined with a little pressure. Before departure, I already imaged how hard to travel with American classmates and English Literature professor. Obviously, the pressure comes from my language and my major. However, everything is better than my imagination. After the departure flight, I felt comfortable immediately. Yesterday, also the day of departure, I got my conclusion: to get friendship the best way is to travel. Today is much more beautiful. I visited new place and I enjoyed the visiting from more perspectives.
Usually, taking picture of local view is to experience the trip. I think this is the most common way people use for feeling travel. Apparently, the beautiful London view is unforgettable. Everything is like in the movie, very beautiful and classical. The double floor red bus, the black cab, and even the similar conventional buildings along the street are so attractive. Today, the first day of our trip, makes me feel the difference of the trip. I understood more than what I can get just from travelling. If you see the label “keep right”, normally you as a visitor may just think it is a public warning and get over it. Actually the label covers the culture of UK. “Keep right” can be seen as one of the system of British. No matter for stair, elevator, or underground, British has the rule of not taking up left. This is similar as what happens in the morning tube. In the morning tube, it is much crowed but quite. I think walking on the right and keeping quite in the underground has become the common sense for Londoner.
Later, watching the Wonderland performance makes me feel the charming of theater. After theater performance, the afternoon sunshine literature dialogue in the hill is very comfortable and relaxed. I think more and feel more about London. I like the way of travelling, very fresh and fulfilled. That’s why I am still excited even today is almost over.
I am Mei. I come from China. I study MBA in UMass Lowell. Actually I don’t know how I joined this course. It is an English Literary course and even it is an undergraduate course. It is really a surprised to me as a graduated business student. At first I saw the poster in campus board last term. The content was attractive. I was immediately attracted by this program. Firstly I thought it was mainly a travelling program combined with teaching literature held by school. For me, I am an adventurous person. I like to try anything new and anything I am interested in. I studied business accounting in Canada for my undergraduate education. During my accounting studying, I chose one elective course about the relationship between movie and literature. Everyone was shocked by my choice. In our around 120 students’ class, only me and another girl are Chinese and only me the major was business. I got D eventually. It was the only one D grade and I never got B lower grade before. That was a hard studying process but until now I feel happy about the choice. I got some different perspectives from this literature course, and I can understand more about movie and literature from deeper level. Depends on this similar good experience, I talked to Diana. Later I found she actually is the professor of the course. Diana is really a charming classical literary teacher. As a Chinese business student, I always dream about the experience of having a classical movie style foreign literary teacher. I caught the chance. So far, the best thing is completing the preparation assignment before departure. It was also a hard working but meaningful. I never voluntarily tried to think such topics and prepared such kind of background thinking before travelling. It is interesting to compare what you think with what you actually see. Cannot wait to go to London, I am sure I will get much fun in London with our class, which you can never get from just travelling. Packaging, leaving!