Farewell for now, Olin; hello, Leeds!

Brittany L. Strachota

Hello from the north of England!

I'm one of twelve or so members of the class of 2013 not currently hitting the books in Needham; some are studying away, some have taken a leave of absence to work or travel. I chose to study away at the University of Leeds this semester, looking for a bit of a change from engineering classes, suburb life, and the cushy set-up we have at Olin. To be perfectly blunt, I needed a break from Olin. I love it, and wouldn't choose any other school, but I knew that I needed some time away if I was to fully appreciate it again.

My international experience before this trip consisted of approximately eight hours in Canada last February. Needless to say, I was nervous, but excited to get going!
I arrived here a couple weeks ago for orientation-type things, and started classes yesterday. Very different from Olin so far. More on that once I'm actually into the classes.

Here's one photo of a former church at the end of my street.
DSC02665 - Copy.JPGThere is a plethora of gorgeous buildings and streets around the city, but I only got my camera battery sorted out today, so more photos will have to wait for later.

Already, I've managed to set up trips to Stratford-upon-Avon, Edinburgh, and Liverpool, spent some time in Amsterdam during my layover, and attended a Leeds United - Manchester United soccer (whoops, football) game. Must embrace UK life while here!

One great thing about this experience is that it's part of our limited, but growing direct exchange program. That means that the university was already declared legitimate by the Olin powers that be and my scholarship transferred. This made life so much easier when applying, which is, let's face it, rather important to a lazy procrastinator like me. I encourage anybody considering study away to explore some of the simpler options a bit before discounting them.

I hope to keep this blog filled with stories of fun and adventures this semester! However, I won't be posting here nearly as often as I will be/have been on my shiny new personal blog. For that matter, you should check out the Olin Away blog, where most students currently away write about their experiences. There's even a map with a marker for each of us!

See ya later, Olin. Stay cool. I'll be back.

Posted in: Class of 2013