Breakdown of the past week:
Wednesday- First day of the International Student Orientation Programme (aka ISOP), which in case you were wondering, was pretty much completely useless. Typical welcome from the Dean of Students (or some somebody interested in our academic wellbeing), but it was short, so nothing wrong with that. The Affiliate students were also supposed to enroll, but because UCL can’t get its act together we weren’t able to. On the bright side, the UCL Union cafes have cheap, tasty sandwiches. And, if you like Indian food you’re in luck because even Subway sells tandoori chicken sandwiches, this is so not America.
Joe and I also went to the Wellcome Collection to kill some time before not enrolling. The Wellcome Collection is a sort of medical themed museum, but the temporary exhibits seem to be more varied. For instance, right now all along the outside of the building you can hear a live audio feed of water breaking against the Dorset shore. The permanent collection is split into two sections: Medicine Now and Medicine Man. Medicine Now is an exhibit about science and medicine coupled with artistic responses to each issue, which are presented in red “art cubes.” So, this part deals with stuff like genomes, malaria, and obesity. Medicine Man is a curated selection of Henry Wellcome’s collection. There’s everything from paintings, sex aids, Napoleon’s toothbrush, and shrunken heads. The one thing that kind of freaked me out was this mummy that was sort of tucked away in a glass case in the corner. It’s not like a nicely wrapped up Egyption mummy, it’s a curled up dead body… just chilling there. Anyways, I really liked the set up of the whole collection, very interactive in a way. Like, there are chairs you can sit on to listen to recordings of people speaking about various subjects, and the red art cubes are cool, some of the things are in drawers you can open or behind panels.
Thursday- The linguistics department is located in Chandler House, which unfortunately is a bit further from the couple blocks that most of UCL is concentrated around. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk. But, I went there and met some of the other linguistics affiliates, two girls from Italy, and another from Canada. We also met our personal tutor (academic advisor, basically). As it turns out, since Colgate doesn’t really do Linguistics and there are no technical courses (phonetics, syntax, etc.) it makes it harder for me to take intermediate classes because I don’t really have the pre-requisite material down. Choosing classes is too complicated….
Friday- Joe and I went to the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes to meet up with a bunch of other international students. For some reason lining up to get in made me nervous, not like waiting to get into the Jug. But of course, I can legally drink in the UK, so there really was nothing to worry about. The place was more bar than bowling lane, and the music was sort of deafening, which made talking to people very difficult. I gathered a couple of phone numbers, but not much bonding happened, so those numbers will probably just gather dust. I did discover, however that I do like cider. This is good news because the alternatives are usually a mixed drink which is expensive, or beer which is nasty.
Saturday- Joe moved into his flat today. He’s in a student house, in a 5 person flat, each person has their own room, and then there’s a bathroom and a kitchen. It doesn’t seem likely Joe’s going to be friends with any of his flatmates, which is a shame, but they all seem to be other affiliate students. So, he has to look elsewhere for some genuine Brits… like downstairs. Later that night I went out with some Colgate friends, specifically Rebecca, Heli, and Kelsey. After drinking some cheap cider at their flat we made our way to a club only to discover a very long line and that we were totally under-dressed, so we went to some other club called Zoo. I’ll leave any scandalous moments to rest, but I spent the night sober and did still manage to have fun.
Sunday- Nothing memorable, I suppose, because I can’t remember. Surprise.
Monday- Payed my fees. It’s official, I’m a UCL student!
Tuesday- I’m getting tired of typing. Went to a Welcome session from the Linguistics department, which meant all the freshers, not just the affiliates. Checked out the specialized Language & Speech Sciences library in Chandler House. Went to Roxy with Heli, lots of strobe lights, lots of shy university boys, good music (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Franz Ferdinand, Vampire Weekend), beer rivers on the dance floor. Also, I have no idea what’s up with the elbow dance the bunch of boys were trying to teach us. (Some instructions in case you’re curious. 1- Extend right arm in front of you with palm facing up, make a fist and bring fist toward yourself. 2- Twist arm so that elbow is pointing right and fist is pointing left. 3-Return to first position. 4- Extend arm in front of you with closed fist. 5- Repeat.)
Today- Slept in until noon. Went to a welcome party at Chandler House and talked to more Asian people (I have a problem, I know). Grabbed some drinks from one of the Union pubs with Joe.
Good night now.