Monday, August 22, 2011

Emily Rogers- Summer Abroad in Cambridge, England

I have just completed a summer term in Cambridge England, at the University of Cambridge. I dragged my husband along with me so any time you see that I refer to Us/ We, that is who I mean. I do not have multiple personalities, we would know if I did, right?

The school is amazing and the people unforgettable. Here is some info and pictures of the different parts of the day to day in the dorms and the city.

We rented bikes and have enjoyed having them soooooo much. I figure we are riding almost 10 miles a day!!!!! We rock! Here is a pic of me on my bike with my new suit case that I bought for all of my treasures that I want to buy. It was a bit of a struggle getting the case strapped on there but I got it.

Here is a pic of the train station here in Cambridge:

And here is a picture of one of the hallways in our dorms….. Very ominous and foreboding:

This is actually down a hallway that we found exploring. We don’t actually have to walk down this hall to get to our dorms. What we do have to do is: walk in the front door, show our student badges to the porter to gain access, then walk down an enormously long dark hallway through 5 doors and up 4 flights of stairs, then down another long hallway and 2 more doors, THEN my room. The shared baths are not exactly what I expected but they work. The only thing that just does not work for me is there is some hairy monster that showers before me every day and it is so gross sharing a shower with a stranger. But I wear my sandals and my life goes on.

Here is a shot of our building at Newnham from the back actually. We are standing in the gardens getting this shot:

Monday (August 8) we both went to our classes, and enjoyed them all.

My classes are:

Intro to Psychology (this class rocks, and my teacher is head of the Autism research centre here at Cambridge and is wonderful).

History of Mathematics (this class is so interesting. I enjoy the topics and the connecting of the classes is fun. My hope is that the info I have learned with provide a sort of why behind maths that will help me to be better in my maths classes in the future. Fingers crossed).

British Houses and Gardens (this class is awesome! My teacher is Caroline Holmes, and she is just wonderful. She really knows her stuff, and she teaches in a really accessible way. Our whole class went on a walking field trip to the gardens at Selwin Collegem that was an amazing way to get to experience the concepts we had been learning first hand. Caroline designs many gardens here in the UK, including a poison garden that we are hoping to visit at Alnick Castle on our way to Edinburgh on Sunday.

Which actually brings me to an interesting point about the University of Cambridge: the university is set up differently than any we have back home. There are 30 colleges within Cambridge and the students apply to the college they want to. Then once they are accepted and a matriculated student, they can apply to become a student of the university. Then they live on the ground of the college they belong to (for example Chris and I are staying at Newnham College [a college that only accepts girls normally I might add], so if we were “real” students here, we would belong to Newnham college, and after we had started school through Newnham, we would apply to become actual students of Cambridge university. Then we would go to all of our lectures and classes on our own college campus.) so all teachers and churches, and dorms, and butteries, and EVERYTHING are college specific. So if I am a Newnham student, I would not ever go to Corpus Christi college, or King’s college, or Jesus college, or any other college, for any reason.

Their academic system is set up quite differently too. So one would register for classes, and then all lectures are optional. Each week students have meetings with their fellows (teachers) which are called Supervisions. This is where they assign all of the work for you and discuss any questions you have about things you do not understand. These are strictly one on one. AND at the end of it all, you take these enormously hard tests, and then get a bachelors of Arts. And if you want, you can just request that they give you masters too. I do not quite understand how you can request to get an additional degree without going to more school (however, I heard this tid bit on a recording on a tour bus we took around town).

Here is a picture of the Newnham buttery.

The buttery is decorated most peculiarly; it has comfy couches and a vending machine so there I really no more to ask for.

Here is a pic of the library in Newnham College, that we are not allowed into, though we went in anyway to take this amazing picture:

These are some of the gardens and buildings within Newnham College:


  1. So jealous! I'm hoping to Study Abroad after graduation.

  2. Hi, sorry but it seems that some of your information is factually incorrect. As a student of Cambridge University, we all automatically become students of the university, despite applying to a certain college. Lectures are not always on campus and a lot of them take place in the faculty buildings, but the supervisions and other lectures take place at the college. Also, some colleges do admit their students to have lectures at other colleges for specialist modules/courses, but obviously this is not the norm. Lectures are not optional as such, sure you do not have to register but they are extremely important to go to. Supervisions are not strictly one on one, but in small groups. I'm not sure where you got your information from but the rest of your blog is lovely and I'm glad you had a wonderful experience there. Also the bit about the master's is most definitely not true! Getting a masters requires a separate application process entirely!