QU Adapts to Life in Europe
An Abundance of Culture
A group of QU students took time over J-term to explore the world, and were able to visit London and Dublin during the 12 day trip.
The excitement for the students began right as they touched down from their trip. From their first bus in the morning students witnessed a wide array of language, architecture, and cuisine, before it was even time to visit their first attraction.
Within the first three days, the group learned about the foundations of the British government after a tour through Parliament, and how the monarchy influences the country’s livelihood from Westminster Abbey and the British Museum.
Students were impressed by how much more there was to explore after the initial museum tours.
“I was expecting it to be a lot of walking and busy and somehow it was still busier and more walking than I could imagine… there were a lot of new adulting things that I had to do for this trip that I don’t know if I would have done otherwise, so it was a really cool experience,” Elena Rolves, senior, said.
From visiting the town of Windsor and its castle, to standing on top of the Prime Meridian and looking inside the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, students learned the importance of the River Thames and how London is the center for time zones across the world.
Travelers assimilated to the merchant culture of Borough Market and Greenwich Market, trying new foods like Fish n Chips, pies, sausage rolls, and oysters, as well as fitting into the fashion culture with wool winter coats. Students saw first hand how the crowded city of central London operated.
Dublin provided a time to relax, and have more freedom than a bustling city to appreciate the Irish culture. A large part of that culture revolved around alcohol.
The group took classic tours around the Guinness Brewery and Jameson Distillery and began learning the history of the signature Irish drinks. These two brands have helped shape the economic and social perception of the country, as well as creating a great product… legally. The group also participated in night life that revolved around pubs, live music, and football, creating an exciting atmosphere to meet new people.
The Passion for Sports
Speaking of (English) football, students on the trip were able to witness the passion and energy UK citizens bring when it comes to their club. Students traveled to Charlton Athletic, located near Greenwich, for a League One match against Lincoln City.
From constant cheers to heckling from both home and away fans, the group was amazed at the atmosphere this sport brings to the surface. Breanna Gratton, junior, also took advantage of football Saturday by heading to an FA Cup match that same evening in Brentford.
“They were really fun and the culture there is completely different, in America there’s quite a few people in the crowd but they’re not as into it like they were here. At the games both sets of fans were battling back and forth with chants and drums playing and that was really cool to see,” Gratton said.
The passion was expanded the next day, after visiting Wembley Stadium where they were able to visit the national team’s locker room, see the pitch, and sit in the royal box like Prince William. The weekend provided an insight on the severity of football in England.
Breaking out of their “Bubble”
With so many tours and attractions to visit throughout the trip, it became hard for the students to pick their favorite moment, but overall they were fascinated by integrating into another culture. The sites in the city of Bath provided a look into European architecture while Stonehenge gave students a chance to be amazed by the stone formation erected before the Pyramids of Giza!
“Seeing the old structures and designs of the buildings gave us an old-timey feeling was really cool and it honestly made me think maybe I wanna live abroad when I’m older,” Gratton said.
Even the function of transportation was revolutionary for the group, witnessing efficient and timely rail stops in the midst of a large city. These findings helped provide insight on what made the trip eye-opening and “foreign” from life back in the U.S.
“I was very nervous about being on this trip, I was really worried we would stick out like a sore thumb… but there was not an overwhelming sense that they don’t want us here. Everyone was very welcoming and it was much less scary than I thought it was going to be so don’t let that hold you back,” Rolves said.
The trip became a once in a lifetime trip for these students and a possible desire to explore Europe again down the road. With the satisfaction from each student on this trip, students interested should keep they eyes and ears peeled for more opportunities QU has to offer.