Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Breaking News: La Preppy Girl Returns From Cambridge Uni

Bonjour, mes amies :) I have returned from Cambridge! Well, okay, I returned about a week ago, but it took me a little while to write this post - mainly because I procrastinate. A lot. All the time. About everything.

St. Catharine's at night
I guess you're wondering what this is about - don't worry, I understand. Allow me to expand: Monday and Tuesday of this week (22-23rd July) I travelled to Cambridge to participate in the Pembroke/St.Catharine's Languages Summer Residential (hence the bit of french at the beginning there). 

I was nominated by my Head of Languages as I apparently have a talent for understanding and learning languages. (Personally, I think I've just had too much practice pretending to be French or Spanish and playing up on the accent, but hey, who am I to decline an offer to spend two days at Cambridge Uni?)

So on Sunday night, I packed my suitcase with a variety of outfits - coming prepared for any type of weather, which turned out to be a good idea, seeing as it was boiling on the first day, and raining on the second day. Only thing was, when I set out on Monday, it was kinda dreary, so I went with a cute collared jumper, which was kinda formal, but not like suit formal. Unfortunately, the weather heated up, and I wasn't able to change into something cooler :(
Like this, but in pale blue, but I couldn't find a picture of it. Suitably preppy :3
So we finally found the actual college, after walking like a mile in the wrong direction down Trumpington Street :S and I signed in and said goodbye to my mum and brother. It was pretty emotional ;) This was the first time I've ever been away from home on my own for more than just a one-day school trip to Thorpe Park. So understandably, I was quite worried about the residential. Also, I was kinda freaking out once I went to bed and kept having to check the wardrobe to make sure Freddy Krueger hadn't found his way into my room.

So, the residential itself was basically about what it was like to study languages at a Cambridge University college, and there were handy seminars on applying to Cambridge, what the interviews are like, etc. The interviews talk in particular cleared up a lot of anxiety I had, and I feel a little more relaxed about it now, and a lot less scared :)

As well as these more practical talks, there were a variety of language based talks; Werewolves in Medieval French (Bisclavret, Marie De France), Politics in Egypt, Classics and Nuns during the Italian Renaissance (Nun Arcangela Tarabotti and her published works). Overall, I found these talks the most interesting, although the others were also very useful. Now, I've never been one for literature and language analysis, don't get me wrong - the topics of the talks were about historical figures I've never heard of, and works I would never have guessed did exist; but something about them had me hooked. After spending two days immersed in such history (as well as the olden-day feel of Cambridge itself) I really do feel like I would love to spend a lifetime studying historical texts and gaining an even deeper insight into the history of languages. 

Italian Renaissance Manuscripts 
Medieval Painting (?) of Bisclavret
After a long day of sitting in a blisteringly hot room in St. Catharine's, we got to go for a little tour around both Catharine's and Pembroke colleges. We also got to see the Cambridge Uni Library, which is an imposing, gothic-looking building, with a re-vamped factory kinda atmosphere.After that, we ended up in Cafe Pembroke, by about 9:15. By then, I was just shattered, so I stayed up for a little while, before deciding to hit the hay. 
The Library in it's full glory. It looks a lot cooler when the weather is a bit gloomier - like a castle in the middle of the city.
We (my new friends Poppy, Elina and I) managed to find our way back to our accomodation, and after locking myself securely in my room (and checking for any horror movie characters around the room), I got a phone call from Dad, asking if I had settled in okay, and if I was okay, to which I answered, yes, of course, I'm totally not checking for demons around my room - at all. Then he passed it on to Mum, who I think was more worried than I was, bless. [Love you Mum <3]

Then I managed to get to sleep, even though the thunderstorm did quite literally scare the cabbage out of me. I woke up early this morning to the sound of rain, and had to crawl out of bed, climb onto the windowsill (don't tell Cambridge :P) and shut the window, because I couldn't get back to sleep. 
Probably didn't look like this, but it's a picture of a cool thunderstorm - what more do you want?!
Then I slept till like 7 and got dressed for a second day of talks. The second day wasn't as bad, mainly because the talks were all spaced out between little breaks (and the room was still boiling, so at every opportunity, everyone got up and went to stand outside for as long as possible).

So, to conclude, the Cambridge Uni Summer Languages Residential has totally inspired me, and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to attend. 

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