Reflecting on the distant (and not so distant!) past…

Join Dan from the University of Mary Washington (January – June 2017) as he reflects on his study abroad at Reading, as well as further back in time…

As my time studying abroad at the University of Reading draws to a close, when I look back and reflect on my experiences, one of my favorite aspects of studying abroad at the University of Reading was the guided trips put on by the study abroad office. The study abroad trips were wonderful because the study abroad office provides transportation and an itinerary of ideas of what to do. The study abroad trips consisted of many members of the study abroad program visiting some place in the United Kingdom all together. All of the trips were amazing because on my own I may not have ever found out about the places we visited and got to hang out with the rest of the study abroad group.

My favorite trip put on by the study abroad office was the trip to Stonehenge. Stonehenge to me is one of the must see places when visiting the United Kingdom. Coming from the United States, it blows my mind just how old the site is and how people from thousands of years about managed to move such large rocks.

The Stonehenge trip started out on a cloudy day with around forty members of the study abroad group waiting for the bus to arrive. The first thing I always enjoy about the trips is that you get to hang out with and talk to members of the study abroad group that you would not normally do so. Talking with other members of study abroad is honestly one of the best things about the whole experience because typically in my everyday life I interact with the same people. It is a fascinating experience to branch out and talk to people from other countries and cultures.

After getting on the bus it was around an hour journey to Stonehenge. I always enjoy the bus rides because I like to just look out the window and see the country side of a country I am not from. When we arrived at Stonehenge the bus dropped our group off at the visitor center and we all had the option of take shuttle or walk a little over ¾ of a mile to get to the rocks. I decided to walk. I think it is always important when visiting to see as much as possible because that is of course what I am study abroad to do.  To see new places and have new experience that I typically wouldn’t have in my everyday life. The walking path took me through beautiful landscape of green open fields filled with sheep with little patches of forest scattered here and there. The fields were also dotted with large mounds, which after reading several signs I found out were burial mounds from around the time after the completion of Stonehenge.

After walking a bit further I got my first sight of the famous monument that is Stonehenge. The first thing I noticed is how big the rocks actually were. All pictures I had seen don’t give credit to the scale of the actual thing.

That is something else that I learned while on my study abroad. You can watch videos of a place and see tons of pictures but you don’t ever fully experience a place until you are up close to it and get the feeling of the area around it. Stonehenge was an amazing place to visit. It is a great experience to see a place that I have heard people talk about all my life.

Study abroad is a great idea because you have experiences and create memories that you will have for the rest of your life.

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