First Week of Class
I’ve been in England for a little more than a week and half, but only in the last couple of days have I started what I really came here for: my master’s in Responsible Tourism Management. Our lessons started two days ago (Wednesday, September 18), so I’ve essentially been getting a feel for what each of the modules (our term for subject) will be like. Lots of reading and lots of work. I won’t bore you with what their names, but I have enjoyed the discussions during our lessons and there have been some surprises. During our first lesson on Wednesday, we watched a video of Susan Boyle’s famous performance on Britain’s Got Talent and in groups, we discussed what the reaction to her performance said about British culture and how that reaction could relate to tourism.
Although our lessons are generally three hours long, they haven’t been boring at all. It also helps that in general, our lessons are held at Headlingley Carnegie Stadium, which is actually two adjacent grounds: one for cricket and one for rugby. The classrooms in the Carnegie Pavilion actually overlook the cricket pitch. Before our second lesson today, we actually watched a match taking place at the same time — a pretty awesome way of relaxing before a lesson.
Outside of class, I’ve had an eventful week (But won’t they all be here?). I finally have a British bank account and a British mobile phone (I have several issues with my mobile phone but I don’t care to explain them as I don’t think any of you would be interested in them).
More importantly, I’ve had a couple of fun nights out on the town this week. On our last “night” of freedom, several coursemates and I hit up Leeds Met’s International Welcome Party, a fun gathering thrown to (obviously) welcome non-British students. Actually, I don’t think I met any other non-British students there but the party was good. You can’t go wrong with a large selection of (mostly) vegetarian food, and folks had the opportunity to do karaoke. I did an old favourite from my karaoke days in Japan: “Yellow Submarine.”
Drinks with my coursemates are fun (although I don’t want to talk about anything course related too much during drinks), but I certainly need to meet folks from outside of Leeds Met and my flat. Fortunately, two nights ago, I attended a weekly gathering organized by members of Leeds’ CouchSurfing community, who meet every Wednesday at a pub named The Hourglass. A lot more people came than I thought would, and I met some interesting people – including a dude named Gandhi (he’s looking for work as a doctor), a freelance producer named Cheryl who’s actually headed to the States soon on vacation (she’s produced documentaries that have appeared on ITV) and two Chinese females currently studying at the University of Leeds. Hopefully, I can meet other cool members of the CouchSurfing community in Leeds.
My life in Leeds is taking shape.