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Student Report: 2021 Summer Experience in Cambridge, UK- Ashley Handy

Thousands of miles away from home, I found a country similar and strange to everything I am used to. Due to COVID and distance, England is very different from the United States but also very similar. The language, the culture, and the ideals all made sense but were not automatically understood for those of us taking this trip.

Ten of us came to Cambridge to learn about the history of language and to explore the British culture. All ten of us were faced with the challenges of travelling during a global pandemic, and all ten of us will have memories to last a lifetime. Not only did we get to dive into a new culture as well as our classes, but we experienced part of the pandemic in a different country. This is something that is a unique experience and will change how we see our own responses to the pandemic.

Our classes also opened our eyes to something that we take for granted: language. The world’s spoken and written languages are the culmination of thousands of years of the butterfly effect. One slight change hundreds of years ago and a language might not exist or English speakers would be speaking German. During our exploration of, primarily, the English language, we travelled to a number of historical sites in England which directly or indirectly affect our culture and language. American culture is just as affected by these places because these places were established long before America. We travelled to Pagan burial grounds, still standing and partial ruins of Cathedrals, towering colleges, and ancestral homes. We walked where a queen grew up, toured where discoveries were made, and touched angel’s wings.