Welp, it's official: I have survived my first week at the University of East Anglia in Norwich!! It has been a very hectic week, but is definitely a lot of fun. I spent the week trying to meet people, befriending my flat mates, and doing logistical things for the school, including changing one of my modules due to class conflicts and registering with the medical centre. I live in a flat with five other people: three boys and two girls. They are all first years: four are 18 and one is 21. Many first year students here are older because they either took a gap year or worked to earn money to pay for school before they came. I met one who is 23! Anyways, my flat mates are all very nice and we all seem to be getting along well so far. Hopefully this will last for the entire year.
Our flat is pretty nice. We live in an area called University Village, which is about a 10 minute walk from campus (yes, the amount of time it takes to walk across the entire Dickinson campus). Each of us has our own room and bathroom, and a cleaning lady comes and cleans our bathroom once a week and takes out our trash every day. We do not have a common room, but do have a decent sized kitchen that we all share. There is no cafeteria, so we all have to buy our own groceries. There is no laundry either, so we have to walk to a laundromat nearby to do laundry. Luckily there is one in our general area. Only first year students (also known as "freshers") and some medical students can live on campus; all second and third year students have to live off campus in Norwich. This is much different than Dickinson, as, for the most part, everyone lives on campus. If one wants to live off campus, they must be a senior and be approved by the school.
I have been to both of my classes and already notice a difference in how they are taught compared to my classes at Dickinson. Instead of waiting for a later date, the professors give you the assignments for prompts the first day with the syllabus. I find this helpful, as I can look for information that will help me with my essays in my readings as I read them instead of having to go back to them later. The teaching is also more abstract and less straight forward. My professors tend to ask a lot more questions, some rhetorical, some not, that really cause the students to think about the material they are teaching, whereas at Dickinson I find the professors tend to lay things out on the table more. I also have less assignments to do for each class over the course of the semester and, despite the fact that I am taking level two and three classes, the essays I am required to do are shorter than essays I had to write when I was a freshman at Dickinson. It is unreal. I was also pleasantly surprised at how small the class sizes are (they are about the same size as Dickinson), especially because this school has thousands of students more than Dickinson. I also like that many classes here have a larger lecture and then split up afterwards into smaller seminar groups to discuss the lecture. I find this makes a better and more comfortable learning environment.
As far as differences in the social aspects, I have already noticed a TON. Of course the British use different words than Americans for some things, like pavement instead of sidewalk and jumper instead of sweater, but they also talk a lot quieter as well. It sounds like they are mumbling. Many times I have to ask people to repeat what they said not because I don't understand, but because I simply can't hear them. There is also a much larger and more accepted drinking culture here. There are two bars on campus as well as a student union that is turned into a club some nights, which also serves drinks. People are allowed to drink outside of the bars in the central part of campus called the Square, similar to Britton Plaza at Dickinson. This was quite a shock to many of us.