Fun Fact: There are over 600 castles in Wales. If you don’t know the size of Wales or where it is on a map (I didn’t before I got here either), it is roughly the size of the state of New Jersey. Due to the small size and large quantity of castles, Wales officially has the most castles per square mile than any other country IN THE WORLD!! And yes, I googled this, it is not made up.
If you were someone who asked me why I was going to Wales to study abroad as opposed to another country, my answer was most likely “To find a prince” (unless you were my advisor or professor haha). Blair Waldorf found a prince and a lord to date while hanging in Europe, so I should be able to too right?!?! Unfortunately while I have only seen 3 of the 600 castles, they are mostly all either in ruins or have been turned into tourists sights. AKA no princes there. On top of my castle tours, I did a brief google check on the princes in Europe and came to find that most are approximately my dads age with a few exceptions in their late 20s early 30s. If they aren’t old men, they are married or are young enough for me to babysit…NO THANKS!! I guess with this new found knowledge, I will have to accept the fact that a prince probably won’t happen so I should focus on traveling Europe…I mean school..
Speaking of school, I have completed my second week of classes now. One thing I realized based on questions from friends and family after my last blog post was that I did a poor job of explaining what exactly my program is. The best way to describe it is to say that I am the equivalent of a foreign exchange student going to Purdue for a semester. I often get comments like “don’t worry they will grade easy because they know you want to travel and have fun.” Unfortunately, this isn’t a program made solely of exchange kids and professors could care less if I want to travel, especially when attendance is part of my grade in all of my courses. Another misconception I think people have about study abroad is that I am here taking classes like sailing on the Irish sea, painting Aberystwyth sunsets, and sheep herding. While I am taking a lighter course load than I would have been at Purdue, I am still taking courses in my major of animal sciences that require effort and studying.
The only thing exciting that happened this week of classes was that on Friday night, I had an anatomy lab practical for my reproductive physiology class. Basically for this, we walking into a room that had lab benches lined with plastic dissection trays. The trays held either the reproductive tract of a cow, ewe, mare, or sow. We had to put on lab coats and plastic aprons and then our professor basically told us to do whatever we wanted to cut open and observe the anatomy of our animal. We took pictures throughout the dissection and have to write up a 2500 word report on the anatomy of our animal as well as the others. I chose to do the sow for our group mainly because of the convoluting uterine horns, which I personally find interesting, but you all personally don’t care so I will stop now! Basically it was a really cool and hands on learning experience which I enjoyed. WARNING: picture is inserted just below the next paragraph…sorry if this makes you queazy, just scroll fast.
During the anatomy lab, I met two girls who I found to be kind of inspirational. Both of them want to become vets just like me, but they are both taking such different paths than what I am doing. One of them is from Norway and she told me that in order to get into vet school (which is 6 years in Norway) she needs high marks and a lot of hands on experience which is why she came to school in aber for 3 years. The other girl is from the Caribbean, and she came to aber for university for the same reasons. She is currently in the process of applying to vet schools in the states now! It’s crazy to think that I an so fortunate to go to an undergrad school only an hour away from my house that is well known in animal sciences, but these girls had to travel to a totally different country to be able to eventually reach the same end goals as me. That to me is inspiring and shows how much their passions drive them. It also makes one semester seem a lot less scary away from home when I see these other girls doing it for years. I find it so amazing to meet people from all over the world who have the same end goals and passions as me and I hope we all make it there in the end!
Another “school” thing that happened this week was the club fair. Compared to Purdue’s club fair, it was super underwhelming. I signed up for emails and info on the club lacrosse team, soccer team, horseback riding club, and surf club. The only one I have actively heard from and communicated with so far is the surf club LOL. I plan on trying it out at least once before I head home, but I think I’ll wait until it warms up some.
Lastly I will just touch on the past weekend and this weekend briefly. Last weekend as we all know, was the Super Bowl. I watched it in the student union on campus, which is actually just a bar, with my American friends. For a game of a sport that isn’t widely played in Europe and that aired at 11:30pm, the union was packed. We were definitely being “annoying Americans” cheering too loudly about big plays and bitching about how none of the American commercials aired here. Even though we left to go to bed after the half time show, I would have to say it was one of the most fun Super Bowls I have ever watched and I am glad I could experience it here.
As far as this weekend goes, we took a bus to Cardiff for the day on Saturday. The bus left at 6:40am and got us back to campus at about 1am Sunday so you could say it was a long day. We basically toured the Castle, which was amazing, checked out the bay and assembly hall, did some shopping, and checked out the art and history museum. It was nice to be in a bigger city for the day since Aberystwyth is so small.
Sorry again for being so long winded and rambled with my blog posts! If you know me, you know I can’t tell a short story 🙂