Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bon Voyage!

Hello friends! I've started this blog to be, literally, an internet log of my travels overseas during the coming three months. Seeing as I will be in Europe in less than three days, it's safe to say that I'm diving right in!

So who am I, and where am I going? I am an junior at Stanford, majoring in English and human biology, who is about to spend ten weeks at Oxford University as part of Stanford's Bing Overseas Studies Program. Going to Oxford has been a goal of mine since my senior year of high school, before I even applied to Stanford. As such, I am beyond eager for the opportunity to study at such a prominent and historic university, to see parts of the world I've never seen before, and to gain fresh perspectives along the way - perspectives that I hope will stay with me far beyond my return to Stanford. I've heard a lot about Oxford from a collection of friends and friends-of-friends (and other interesting connections), and I'm excited to be an inhabitant there for a while, visiting such places as High Street and the covered market, the Bodelian library and the various colleges. Finally, like any true English-lit nerd, I'm a bit giddy to be studying the written works I admire right in the heart of England!

At this point, it's also worthwhile to mention my apprehensions about going overseas, if only briefly. I am nervous about: 1) how I will handle living in a foreign country (and traveling abroad) for the first time; 2) the intensity of the Oxford classes, especially the tutorial, and my ability to balance schoolwork with sightseeing; 3) meeting unfamiliar people; and 4) understanding British accents! Since I am deaf, the latter is probably my biggest concern, as is the entire dilemma of communication. Fortunately, the Stanford overseas program was able to arrange for an American Sign Language interpreter in Oxford, though many friends will remember what a nightmare that process was! (I won't go into it here.) Overall, though, I'm much more excited than nervous, and I've realized that many of my fears are fears I will need to face anyway. For instance, communication is probably not much easier at Stanford than it will be at Oxford. I'm determined not to let fear of the unknown hold me back - especially when the entire experience will be so worth it!

My belongings are accumulating, my room is a mess as I pack (I'm going to try to jam three months' worth of stuff into one suitcase), and I keep darting off to finish last-minute errands before departing in two days. And then - bon voyage! I know that's not British, but still appropriate seeing as our first travel stop is Paris!

Until then!

1 comment:

  1. Rachel as a deaf woman myself, and one who has traveled the world, I can assure you that you will communicate just fine! I adore English and Aussie accents, and bet you will come to appreciate them, as well.

    Safe travels, Rachel!
    Hugs, Sharaine