Studying Around the World With the Library
September 17, 2012
I was listening to Owl City’s Ocean Eyes album on my way to work last week to help with Park University’s Study Abroad Fair, and it reminded me of my trip to England. Strange, I know, but it was the album I listened to everyday for a week before I went on my journey. Two years ago, I had the opportunity to study in Grasmere, England, and I took it. Since then, I have never looked back. Sure, the plane ride across the pond was a little frightening, even for someone who has traveled in planes twice a year, every year, since he was five years old, but the experience was well worth it.
The area was technically called the Cumbria district—a very countryesque and beautiful landscape. Rock walls, with no mortar, went as far as the eye could see, and the green was somehow greener than the green at home. The people were friendly—maybe because it was a vacation destination. So no one was worried about where they were headed off to; my evening walks talking about the wilderness and life with Mike and Lynda after evening teatime was perfect for this philosophy loving English major.
I wasn’t at the fair as a student this time. I was there for the Library, to help steer students away from the slight mistakes I made during my trip. First, I ran out of music to listen to. I had only brought a one-gig mp3 player—cheap, so if it got lost I wouldn’t cry (too much) over it. But if I had gone now, I would have been able to get 3 free song downloads a week while I was there. Three songs a week may not seem like much, but it sure beats the repetition of Hadaway’s "What is Love." I loved that song, and happily I still do despite how much I had to listen to it.
And while the English culture may not seem too drastically different than our American culture, it really is quite a step away from what I’m used to. Tea, biscuits (or cookies), and use of the word "keen" are not part of my daily life, but they were in England. I might have learned all of that had I used Culturegrams, one of our travel and geography databases, to get a small descriptive glimpse at what the culture was like.
Students this year have an option to travel to Jamaica for service learning, and so I went ahead and looked up the culture of Jamaica. One may not think it’d be too drastically different, but if you can’t eat cod fish, you might be a step ahead of a hives incident—as cod and fruit is a national dish for breakfast.
Free music, databases to help you lessen the blow of culture shock, databases to help with assignment research, eBooks galore, and more downloadable audiobooks than you can shake a stick at—what else might you need for studying around the world? Perhaps some language help? True—Mango’s got your back, and they even have an app! How about scholarships? Try some of these financial aid websites!
Good luck on your studies and travels! If you do travel anywhere, or have already, post below and tell us about your experience!