Katherine Sinclair ('11) | Study Abroad
from Abilene, Texas
When Katherine Sinclair thinks of what she misses most from her Study Abroad trip to Oxford, England, she pictures the lens of a camera.
"I miss the picture-perfect moments," she said. "I really enjoy just seeing beauty everywhere."
An avid amateur photographer, Katherine had plenty of subject material in Oxford and in the surrounding countries she visited during her semester abroad. Impressive architecture, glorious scenery and diverse cultural experiences provided her with multiple opportunities to see beauty through the viewfinder of her camera. And the memories she has saved with the click of a shutter will stay with her always.
Remembering the little things
Katherine remembers eating fresh produce from the farmers' market on Wednesday mornings, enjoying the taste of fruit from the surrounding countryside, without the taint of preservatives or stickers from two countries away. She remembers volunteering at Oxfam, a bookstore chain that sells used books to benefit those in need. She remembers eating dinner with the CEO of VIVA, an Oxford-based organization dedicated to relieving the poverty of children at risk all over the world. She remembers the richness of late-night discussions with other students on the trip, the environment of learning that seemed to pervade every moment and every conversation.
"I miss having classes in the house," she said, referencing the Study Abroad practice of holding classes in the professor's study or the house common room. "It was so informal."
Of course, everything wasn't perfect, even in Oxford. Some things were hard to adjust to, including a significant change in mode of transportation.
"It was really hard getting used to walking everywhere," she said.
Participating in new cultures
But if developing new muscles was a little taxing, the sights and sounds of other cultures more than made up for it. Of all the trips she took, Katherine's favorite was the two-week group trip to Spain, in which the fall 2009 group visited five different cities, attended a feast-day Mass, and saw a bullfight, among other things.
Her favorite town in Spain is Girona, hands-down.
"Girona had that really old Spanish-town feel," she said. "I loved the streets."
She didn't mind the cultural practice of taking siesta during the afternoon, either. "I also loved the culture of sleeping there," she said.
England offered opportunities to soak up local culture as well. Katherine particularly recommends going to Avebury to touch the Druid stones that still stand in the middle of green fields and herds of sheep. Petting the sheep is recommended as well.
"There are some really beautiful places in England," she said.
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