Melissa Learns the Welsh Way

If you are attending a university and have the opportunity to do a semester abroad, DO IT!  Here I am living in a part of the world that seemed so far away and distant when I was growing up!  The “foreigners” are only foreign until you get to know them!  Yes, there are differences, and just because it’s different, does not mean that it is wrong or scary.  Life is all about making connections!  And through each connection you make, your life is being expanded!  I have made such great friends here!  It is easy to make friends when you go out with the attitude that strangers are merely friends waiting to happen.  Every time we go out, we meet new people, hear new perspectives, and have a wonderful time!

View of the bay from seminar classroom

View of the bay from seminar classroom

On Sunday, all the Americans and a hand-full of British people went to the student village pub to participate in the great American tradition: Superbowl Sunday.  Being 8 hours ahead of Pacific time, the game started at midnight.  Needless to say, we were there, even though we had class in 9 hours from kickoff.  I was very disappointed, however, when the first commercial break came on and instead of an epic 30-second preview of something companies had been building for months, we saw nothing more than the usual UK commercials!  I nearly cried!  It was a sad game for the 49ers, but at least they put in some effort in the end!

Travel plans are slowly, but surely being made!  Kate (another CSU girl living in the same house as me) and I are going to London in a few weeks to visit one of our housemates who moved out a few weeks ago.  While in London, we are going to see THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA!!!!!!!  I am so excited!  I have also signed up for a day trip to Stonehenge in March and an April trip to Cardiff for a huge rugby event.  Still so much more to see and do!!!

Classes started last Monday.  I am taking Fluid Mechanics and Differential Equations for credits that will transfer back to CSU and Film Studies as a fun credit.  I have class Mondays from 10am to 6pm.  Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays I only have one class a day in the afternoon. Wednesdays are a free day.  It’s definitely a bit of a breather compared to the busy schedules I’ve had a CSU!

Fluids and Diff Eq are classic engineering classes with overly smart professors who don’t know how to handle today’s crazy youth.  Film Studies is very interesting!  The teacher is younger and knows how to engage the class.  I am learning all about how to “read the film” instead of just watching it because film is really a form of art.  Even though I am not taking a philosophy class, I still get pretty philosophical when the teacher goes into the deeper meaning behind each shot in a film!  Yesterday, we talked about the different types of narrative: classical and modern.  Classical follows the idea of linear progression, everything in its place, the classic story.  Modern believes that life is not linear and that not everything is due to cause-and-effect; there are things in life that just happen with no explanation and that is what makes life life!!!


Traditional English breakfast

It’s funny to think about why things happen and how they happen and what will happen next.  The truth is, we do not have any idea on what the future holds for us!  We never know what people will just “happen” into our lives and shake up everything we know!  All we can do is go with the flow and be flexible with the changes and challenges ahead!  This is life, and I love it!


Hot cross bun

Melissa is a sophomore studying civil engineering at CSU.  She is attending Swansea University in Swansea, Wales for the spring 2013 term.