After five of the most incredible weeks in England, I'm back in the States and already missing my life abroad. Even though I was only there half a summer, it didn't take but a week or two for me to feel completely at home in Oxford with 30+ of my fellow Longhorns. During my stay at Wadham College, I was enrolled in a Jane Austen literature class (more like a very large book club) taught by one of UT's best professors. Aside from our daily discussions, the program included a number of exciting field trips to places like The Globe Theater, Stonehenge, Bath, The Peak District, and Stratford-Upon-Avon. When I wasn't gallivanting off to France or Scotland, my free time was spent mainly within Oxford and London.
To list just a few of my experiences (in no particular order): I got to see the houses and resting places of Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, and J.R.R. Tolkien. I shopped at Harrods, took an illegal photo inside of Westminster Abbey, crossed The Beatles' Abbey Road, and toured Buckingham Palace. I watched a plethora of Shakespeare plays, including Henry V, Twelfth Night, Richard III, Merchant of Venice, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. I became addicted to pub food (bangers and mash, please!), ate at least two servings of dessert a day, and ordered my first "legal" drink (a cider on tap) at C.S. Lewis's favorite pub, The Eagle and Child. I toured many museums, including Oxford University's Museum of Natural History and London's British Museum. I experienced the magic of Hogwarts and visited the inspiration for Mr. Darcy's Pemberley Estate. I saw the passing of the Olympic Torch. Best of all, I made friendships that will last a lifetime.
I finally followed my heart to England, and I loved every second of my journey. Family and friends have asked me if it was all I imagined it would be, if it was a dream come true. The short answer? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.