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A letter from an Icenian – Caitlin

rowingI am living in Culver, Indiana (USA) spending my gap year at an American school on scholarship with the English-Speaking Union. I am so thankful for the opportunity they have given me and encourage anyone capable to take it too. I am loving it here so far.

I have been here since 10th August and time has flown so quickly. Getting on the plane alone feels like just a few days ago. It was scary, of course, but there are so many distractions I don’t even have time to be homesick. I phone home regularly and keep in the loop with my friends now starting their exciting new adventures at university, specifically Freya at UCL and Kira at Northumbria.

The weather has been great, usually about 25 degrees in the daytime. Although it’s now turning to fall, so the leaves are beginning to turn orange and it is getting colder. There’s still lots of confusion between Celsius and Fahrenheit. I go into Culver town most weekends, eating in one of the few cafes and browsing the few quaint stores there are. Almost wherever you are you have a great view of the lake; it is a beautiful town.

Culver is a very athletic school with lots of sports on offer. It is situated on Lake Maxinkuckee, so I decided to take up rowing. I spent this weekend in Chicago racing which was so much fun. Next weekend we are racing in Columbus, Ohio. There are also lots of clubs on offer; my favorite club I have joined is the Leadership Committee for Africa. The money raised from events we run goes to our partnership schools in South Africa and Tanzania. I’ve also joined Satsang, a philosophical club where we talk about some of life’s big questions. Lots of my knowledge from philosophy with Mr Claydon has come in very handy here!

Mr Kempton warned me about how obsessed Americans are with the British accent and I didn’t really think much of it. People always ask me to just talk because they love my accent. Even some of my closest friends are not yet used to the way I speak. I have also had some quite odd questions such as “Oh you’re not from London? So, are you Australian?” and the classic “Have you met the queen?” Despite this, everyone here is so friendly and happy to help with anything.

The highlight so far has been watching the American football games. It really is like the movies. Everyone stands on the bleachers cheering on the team. There are even cheerleaders throwing themselves in the air every time a touchdown is scored. To me, it just looks like rugby. I don’t understand the rules, but it is an amazing atmosphere nonetheless. I have bonded with lots of the girls in my dorm and am living with my best friends. Dorm life is so much fun, and I am very grateful that they’ve been so welcoming. I now have friends from California, Alaska, Chicago, Mexico City, Shanghai, Cancun, just to name a few. Yet I am the only British student!

I am looking forward to Halloween this month and all the exciting things planned (including Thanksgiving) before I go home for the Christmas break.

Published On: October 13th, 2021Categories: Icenians, News

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