Postgrad Abroad

Postgrad Abroad

By Allison Mazur

June 8, 2016

Grad school has always been in the cards. Okay, well at least for the past few months. I eventually want to become a communication professor, so graduate school here I come! I have already committed to Michigan State’s Communication department for my Master’s in Fall 2017, but I am undecided for my PhD. Before this trip I had limited my options to universities in the United States. I didn’t do that consciously – I just never thought about schools outside of those 50 states. Which is kind of silly of me, especially when I have friends who are doing their undergrad at schools like University of Edinburgh, Newcastle University (in England), and Franklin University (in Switzerland).

But the second I saw Trinity College in Dublin, I began to think graduate school abroad might be a possibility. Over the course of this trip I have been thinking that I would love to live abroad for a longer period of time and fully immerse myself in a country’s culture. I would love to explore the city I end up in and find my local coffee shop and pubs. Graduate school seems like the ideal time to do so (but who knows where I will end up in a few years?).

As if Trinity didn’t solidify that decision, the incredible town of Cambridge did. We visited the University of Cambridge today for a tour of the campus and town. Exams were ending and students were celebrating by popping champagne in the streets and relaxing by the river. We, too, got to go punting on the river Cam, which was fun but definitely had a learning curve (who knew driving a boat with a metal pole could be so difficult?).

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Punting is a Cambridge thing that no one knows about.

The University of Cambridge is home to 31 colleges. If you’re like me, you are wondering what’s the difference between each of these colleges that make up Cambridge. In reality, not much. They each have a slightly different atmosphere and number of students admitted, but you can be any major in any of the colleges. They just provide a community feel and organization to the college. This is in contrast to most universities, like Michigan State, which have one governing name and different majors within. Cambridge (and the Other Place — okay, Oxford University) have these many colleges that admit students and combine to make the whole university.

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Kings College, one of the 31 colleges that make up University of Cambridge.

The streets of Cambridge have a medieval village feel to them, and they hold so much history within them. Cambridge has notable alumni such as Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, Hugh Laurie, Jane Goodall, Eddie Redmayne, Sylvia Plath, John Oliver, I could go on all day! (Fun fact: Eddie Redmayne attended Cambridge as a student, then later in life played Stephen Hawking as a student at Cambridge in The Theory of Everything, which is a fantastic film by the way. It all comes full circle.) It’s incredible to think I could be walking the same streets and sitting in the same halls as these insanely influential people once did.

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The green boards beyond the fence on the right are where exam scores are publicly posted for all students to see. That’s a scary tradition!

Cambridge also has hundreds of restaurants and shops that I am eager to explore. We got the chance to go to the proclaimed oldest pub in Cambridge, The Eagle, which also holds the title of being the location where Watson and Crick announced they had discovered DNA. We even got to sit at the “DNA table” for lunch.

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The DNA table at The Eagle where Watson & Crick proclaimed they found the secret to life. Hint: it’s not fish & chips (unfortunately).

I have toured many universities in my life, including some of the Ivys, and the University of Cambridge by far has been the most impressive probably because of the rich history of the school. It was founded in 1209, can you believe that?! It would be incredible to become a part of that tradition and history. Our visit to Cambridge definitely got me thinking about where I’d like to end up later in life…

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