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Andrew Rockett - Social Science Scholars in the UK

Published: Wednesday, 29 Nov 2017
Author: Cheryl Ann Benner
Department: Office for Education Abroad

Name: Andrew Rockett

Status: Junior

Major: History

Hometown: West Bloomfield, Michigan

Program: Social Science Scholars, Summer 2017

My experience abroad was intense, enlightening, and awe-inspiring. The sights I saw, the places I went, and the history I experienced all changed my world-outlook on a personal level. For my study abroad, I spent a month travelling all around Britain. I was not expecting much in terms of a whole different culture, given that the United States and Britain are two prominent western nations, and ultimately I was shocked at the different ways of life I witnessed throughout the island. Our program took us through the sights and sounds of London, Oxford, Manchester, Hathersage, and the beautiful Lake District. We visited Roman villages, churches that were centuries old, and several museums that vividly painted Britain's rich history for us. We also visited the courtyard that inspired Alice in Wonderland and saw a production of Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe.

Experiencing another culture taught me a lot even though, at the end of the day, Britain is quite similar to the United States in several ways. Comparing and contrasting the two cultures is where things got interesting; the slight differences in people's surroundings produce highly different attitudes and many subtle differences between Britain and America. Throughout the country, people were generally very polite and almost always offered directions or assistance in whatever way they could. London's tube functioned amazingly well, and travelling throughout the city could not have been easier. There were certain standards for conducting yourself while walking, in public, on the tube, and everywhere else. Everyone was expected to adhere to these standards out of politeness. Fish and chips were obviously very popular; I lost count of how many times I had those for dinner. Cadbury chocolate bars were much more popular than Hershey and Mars brand candies--the one time I saw a Reese's peanut butter cup, it was advertised as American candy. Grocery stores generally sold items in smaller portions, and it was common to only buy enough food for one day at a time. 2% milk was nowhere to be found, and macaroni and cheese was called "macaroni cheese."

There were also amazing research opportunities while abroad. While writing a paper on Uganda's colonial experience under Britain, I was able to travel to various archives and read old newspapers and colonial correspondences.

My program to Britain was incredible. I learned about living independently, researching, and what life is like on the other side of the Atlantic. This was my first time leaving the country, but after this incredible experience, I am certain it was not the last.