The second week of the summer program has been flying by. I opted not to do an excursion. Instead, I decided to stay and explore Cambridge on my weekend off. There is a lot to see and do here. At this point in the program, it’s important to also remember that you have a written assessment to complete by the end of the program. I spent some of my weekend preparing this and going to the library and book shops to find resources. The University Press book shop in Cambridge holds lots of wonderful books and is a lovely spot to browse in. The University Press is also the place to be if you are looking for branded merchandise! I am guilty of buying t-shirts, mugs, a rugby jumper and college pins.
A Monet painting at the Fitzwilliam Museum
For more sightseeing in Cambridge, one place that I believe is a must, is the Fitzwilliam Museum. It’s located not too far from St Catherine’s College and is really easy to get to. Something that I have loved about my time in the U.K. is that most museums don’t have an entry fee, and the Fitzwilliam Museum is one of them. The museum holds Ancient Egyptian artefacts, a collection of Monet’s Impressionist paintings and Greek and Roman pottery. If you are early you pretty much have the whole space to yourself to explore. Cambridge gets really busy on weekends with tourists, so going to the Fitzwilliam Museum was a great way to escape the busy streets. The only thing to do after a morning spent in the museum is to tuck in to a good brunch, of course. A group of us became very fond of a little café called FitzBillies. They have pastries and cakes and boast to have the best ever Chelsea bun on the market. I had never had a Chelsea bun before going to FitzBillies but I can assure you that they are delicious.
In the second week of the program, we switched up the courses. This week, I was studying Henry the VIII and Elizabeth the First. I had the same lecturer for both my courses, and she was incredible, we asked a lot of questions and got a lot of answers. Learning about two very important figures in English history in just a week was a lot to take in. For me, I got so much out of these courses and they were probably my favourite from the program. Our morning lectures and evening talks were also very interesting. The courses provided me with so much interesting information and different perspectives, I gained a lot of very valuable knowledge.
The second week of the program also had some wonderful extras. One of my favourites for the week was a performance by the Coral Choir in Trinity Chapel. I had never experienced music like this before. The performance was beautifully done and the setting added to the experience. Attending this performance also gave us the chance to have a look around Trinity College, which is among one of the oldest in Cambridge.
In week two, we were also lucky enough to have a free night, where there were no evening talks. This gave us the opportunity to attend a performance of the Shakespeare’s Comedy, As you Like it, that was being put on as a part of the Cambridge Shakespeare festival. The performance was held in King’s college gardens. My new friends and I packed a picnic and sat under the stars while taking in the delightful musical performance. It was an experience I won’t be forgetting anytime soon!
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. The final day of the program crept up quickly. You become very used to the routine and you don’t notice time flying by. On the last day, we had our final classes and instead of an evening talk there was the closing dinner. For the closing dinner, we all got dressed up in fancy clothes. The tables in the dining halls were set with candles and fancy menus. What I love is the college symbol on everything - and I mean everything. Selwyn’s crest was on the water jugs, napkins and even the chocolate mints for after dinner. We were served a lovely three course dinner before we were presented with our certificates for attending the summer program. Afterwards, we headed out to a pub called the Eagle to meet up with friends from other colleges and had a final catch up with drinks.
One thing I hadn’t thought about was packing at the end of my trip. I may have bought a little too much during my stay in Cambridge. This resulted in my need to run out and by another suitcase first thing in the morning I was due to leave. I would not recommend this, instead be smarter than me and pack a few days in advance. A silver lining, however, was that in my early morning dash, I spotted some squirrels running around the gardens of Selwyn. I had hoped to see squirrels my whole trip, so I was pretty excited!
It was sad to say goodbye to the beautiful city of Cambridge, my college and the friends I had made but I am so grateful for the amazing experience and will be recommending it to everyone! Maybe I will even do the program again one day.
Hi my name is Amelia, I am 21 and from the coastal town of Newcastle, NSW. I am in my 3rd year of a Bachelor of Teaching Humanities, with a major in Modern History. I have always loved history and like most uni students, I have a healthy love for coffee! This program means I have the opportunity to study what I love in a country I have always wanted to visit!