Some Perks Of Life At The ‘Other’ Cambridge by Cambridge
[by Mirat Shah '08] Along with ~40 other MIT students, I am studying abroad at Cambridge University in the UK.
[by Mirat Shah ’08]
My name is Mirat and I am a junior studying Course 3 (Materials Science and Engineering). I grew up in New Jersey and spent the past two years in Cambridge, Massachusetts at MIT. However, this year I am in the other Cambridge (the OC for short :) ) in the UK. Along with about 40 other MIT students, I am studying abroad at Cambridge University as part of the Cambridge-MIT Exchange. I was disappointed to see no coverage of study abroad at MIT in the blogs, so I asked if I could write about my experiences here as a guest author.
First off, some perks of life at the other Cambridge:
Unlike the American school year which runs from September to May with a summer break, the Cambridge school year consists of 3 terms of 8 weeks each. This translates as less time spent in class. And in between terms, we get 6 weeks off, which is pretty amazing for traveling. I was recently in Istanbul, somewhere I never thought I’d end up, especially while all my friends at MIT were preparing for finals (sorry, I had to rub it in).
Also, that whole stereotype of British people drinking tea all the time is kind of true. At 11 am everyday, my department breaks for tea. Everything in the building stops and everyone from the Fellows, to the department librarian, to us lowly undergrads congregate. I’m thinking of starting a campaign to bring this to MIT, but I doubt it would catch on. The only thing I’ve seen MIT professors and students alike stop for is the World Cup.
And finally, Cambridge is strangely full of Harry Potter moments. We have (wizard) robes that we are required to wear pretty often to formal dinners and other things. And a lot of the dining halls look very Harry Potter Great Hall-esque. I’ll try and dig up some pictures soon.
On an unrelated note, I was quite disappointed to learn that JK Rowling did not come up with OWLs and NEWTs all on her own. They are actually based exactly on the British education system. Students take GCSEs (OWLs) when they are 16 and A-Levels (NEWTs) when they are 18…
The things I miss most about the US after my family and friends are food items like pizza, bagels, and ice cream in winter. And I spent way too much time in American supermarkets while I was home in December.
The Cambridge term officially began last Thursday (the 18th), and coverage of life abroad will continue soon!