By Annabel Savage (Stony Brook, The State University of New York, USA)
I’ve been at Stony Brook for almost a month now, and yet is seems like just yesterday that I arrived to an empty room and was questioning quite what I had let myself in for. Since then I’ve barely had a moment to stop and think (and write the blog!)
Before I left I was warned that I would stick out with my accent, but I didn’t quite appreciate how much so, we speak the same language don’t we?! Everywhere I go people pick up on it, and I regularly get asked to say ‘something English’. I’ve also been asked if I know the Royal Family or Harry Potter… England’s not that small!
As well as settling in here at Stony Brook I’ve also been lucky enough to do some travelling already. We had a 5-day weekend after our first week of classes, so a group of us international students went to Washington D.C. for the weekend. It surreal to walk The Mall and see so many historic monuments all in the same place. We also visited parts of the Smithsonian, although we would need a week there to do the place justice! Fresh from our return from DC we rushed back out to go to the US Open. This was incredible as I’m a big tennis fan and went to Wimbledon this summer, so it was great to see the contrast between the two tournaments.
I’ve also spent a bit of time in the city itself, and hope to explore more in the coming weeks. There is so much to see and do but it’s only a bus ride from the uni campus straight into the centre so that shouldn’t be a problem. We went last weekend to visit the 9/11 Memorial in advance of the anniversary yesterday. It was incredibly moving to see what they have done with the site and the beautiful memorials they have created, which are such a contrast to the busy city surrounding the area. Here on campus students were offered the chance to put a small silver and red windmill into the ground in memory of those who lost their lives. It was nice to be able to be a part of the memorial, especially being this close to the city.
Stony Brook life itself is going great too, my classes are really interesting and the work is kicking in now, which is a great challenge, but there’s still time to support the Seawolves and although, for now, travelling will have to take a back seat, I’m already planning my next American adventure.