Day-to-day life at Cambridge follows a pretty set structure. Each morning, breakfast is served in the beautiful Newnham dining room. Through the windows, we can look out onto the stunning gardens - the weather has thankfully continued to be great.
For those of us in the Literature Summer School, our first lecture begins at 9:15am. It didn't seem too early at first, when we were jetlagged and waking up at 5am every morning... but we definitely started struggling as the week went on! We took the same class in both weeks; a study of British fantasists, and then American fantasists.
After a short break, we have a 'plenary' lecture that supplements the main part of our program. Built around the course theme of 'Tragedy and Comedy,' these lectures cover extremely wide-ranging topics; two of our favourites focused on the Medieval understanding of the universe, and an in-depth look at what study of Ancient Greek reveals about theatre.
We have a lunch break of nearly two hours each day, during which we source our own food. We go into the city centre most days, ostensibly to catch up on reading but mostly just to chat and chill out.
Our next lecture starts at 2pm, and although we took the same class in week one (a study of the Modern novel), Fi continued with it in week two while Brooke moved on to the works of Rudyard Kipling.
(Without a doubt, that one was my favourite class! We had a fantastic lecturer, and I'm so sad it's over now - Fi)
(Totally agree with Fi, the lecturers were outstanding throughout and were incredibly devoted to their area of study - which only made us more enthusiastic to learn more about it too! - Brooke)
From 3:30-6:30pm each day, we're free to do whatever we please. Some of our activities have included napping, going for coffee/afternoon tea, shopping, doing homework, Skyping home, or just doing nothing - we lost a decent amount of time just staring out the window.
After dinner (again in the dining hall), we have one final lecture that's totally optional, and is a good opportunity to learn something outside your discipline. There was also what they called a 'Ceilidh' on one of the nights, which was pretty similar to partner dance lessons that we did in high school (in a good way!). It was a good opportunity to meet new people, and get some exercise done!
Our activities before bed vary night to night. Some people go into town, although we've mostly kept that to the weekends. We spend a lot of time hanging out in each other's rooms, chatting and drinking tea!
On the first Friday, we celebrated the end of the week in different ways; Fi went punting on the River Cam, and Brooke checked out a few of the local clubs. On the Saturday, there was an excursion a few of our friends went on to Stratford-upon-Avon, and they saw a production of Othello
. Meanwhile, we were shopping like mad!
The Friday after that, we had a closing dinner to celebrate the end of the first term. It was good to have a chance to dress up, relax, and take pictures with friends out in the garden. Afterwards, we hit the town for one last hurrah, because many of the students would not be staying on for the second half of the Literature Summer School - Brooke included.
From Brooke: I know guys, you're sad to see me go, my online presence in this blog was iconic - however, even greater than my sadness of signing off from this blog, is my sadness of leaving Cambridge. Wowzahs - talk about an experience! Not only did I come away with a head full of knowledge on literature, but also so much information on a whole variety of areas from astronomy to physics.
However, while the education and hospitality I was given was unsurpassable, the friendships I made and life experiences I had in my time at Cambridge were by far the highlight of the entire experience (so clichÃ©!!!). I now have friendships with people all over the world which I'm sure will continue to develop and grow further. This would have been incredibly difficult to achieve if not for the Summer School program and AIM Overseas. I urge everyone to consider taking up the wonderful opportunities AIM have to offer - you won't regret it!
Up next time - Fi continues her Cambridge experience solo.
Until then - Fi and Brooke
You can read more about our experiences in Tips and Tricks for the UK!